Hanger is reputed to have been the first soldier amputated during the Civil War at the age of 18. Distraught and upset about the crudeness of his "artificial" leg he returned home and spent long hours alone in his room. Three months later, he amazed his family by walking down the stairs on an artificial leg that hinged at the knee. That invention not only made Hanger's life easier, it made him rich. He made "Hanger limbs" for other area amputees, and the state legislature commissioned him to make artificial limbs for wounded veterans. His patent led to a thriving business. When he died in 1919, Hanger Company had branches in London, Paris, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Saint Louis. Today, Hanger Orthopedic is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and has more than 1,000 employees in forty-three states.