Shampaine Company Operating Table

26 08 2012

The property tag on this operating table shows it was used at the Oregon State Hospital, but beyond that we didn’t know too much more about it.  So we decided to do some investigating.

A little crawling around on the floor revealed a manufacturer’s tag that reads: “Made by the Shampaine Company, St. Louis Missouri, U.S.A.  Model No. S-1502. Serial No. 527.  Patent Nos. 2,416,410; 2,501,415; 2,532,677.  Other patents pending.”

A quick Google search did not turn up much more than several other pieces from the Shampaine Company for sale on EBay.  So we turned to the U.S. Patent Office, hoping that the patent issue dates might give us an early date of manufacture for the piece.  With the following results:

Patent No. Date of Issue Subject Issued To
2,416,410 2/25/1947 Operating and Exam Table Hyman Robert Shampaine Assignor to Leah Ree Shampaine
2,501,415 3/21/1950 Clutch for Surgical Tables Hyman Robert Shampaine
2,532,677 12/5/1950 Elevating Mechanism for OR & Exam tables Hyman Robert Shampaine

The first patent explains the design being patented as:

Certain new and useful improvement in surgical apparatus of the type commonly known as operating or examining tables.  The invention has for its principal object, the provision of an operating table having an articulated top which, as a unit, may be laterally and longitudinally tilted by the action of a single shaft.  More specifically…[it is] uniquely constructed for simplifying and reducing the number of controls heretofore requiring separate and independent manipulation, to the end of facilitating the work of the anesthetist, technician, or other operator in adjusting the top sections to meet the requirements of the particular operation or examination.[1]

So we can assume that our table was made sometime after 1950, the latest patent date on the label.  We also know that it owes its design to Hyman Robert Shampaine, the inventory listed on the patents.

So, what do we know about inventor Shampaine?  He was born in California May 31, 1912, to Jewish Russian immigrants.[2]  As a young boy, he moved with his family  to Manhattan where his father worked as a hospital furniture manufacturer, a portent of things to come for the young Shampaine.[3]  In 1930, he is living in St. Louis in what appears to be a fraternity on Lindell Street in St. Louis, Missouri, perhaps St. Louis University which sits on the same street today?[4]  Shampaine married Leah Ree and by 1940, the young couple was living in Clayton.  He was working as the sales and office manager for a hospital furniture company, a perfect place to work as an inventor of improvements to operating tables.[5]  Shampaine passed away February 3, 2002.[6]

We still don’t know how or where this table was used at OSH.  If it looks familiar, leave a comment below.


[1]Operating and Exam Table” Patent 2,416,410.  2/25/1947.  U.S. Patent Office.

[2] Social Security Death Index; California Birth Index; 1920 Federal Census.

[3] 1920 US Federal Census; 1925 New York State Census.

[4] 1930 US Federal Census.  The house lists several young men living together.  Few have occupations listed, except for one individual who is listed as “cook for frat house” suggesting perhaps that this was just such an institution.

[5] 1940 US Federal Census.

[6] Social Security Death Index.

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