John Madison Taylor

John Madison Taylor (1855-1931) was an American pediatric neurologist.

In 1888, John Madison Taylor (1855-1931), working for Silas Weir Mitchell (1829-1914) at the Philadelphia Orthopedic Hospital, designed the first such “reflex hammer.

Taylor’s hammer had a triangular rubber head and a short, flattened metal handle.


  • Born 1855
  • 1878 – Medical degree, University of Pennsylvania
  • 1882-1896 Assistant to Silas Weir Mitchell, Infirmary for Nervous Disease in Philadelphia
  • Professor of pediatrics at the Philadelphia Polyclinic and College for Graduates in Medicine, the Medico-Chirurgical College, and Temple University Medical School.
  • Died 1931

Medical Eponyms

  • The Tendon Hammer (1888)

Major Publications


  • Hinsdale G. Dr. John Madison Taylor. Trans Am Climatol Clin Assoc. 1932; 48: xli. [PMC2194437]
  • Lanska DJ. [History of the reflex hammer] Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1998;10;118(30):4666-8 PMID 9914749
  • Lanska DJ, Lanska MJ. John Madison Taylor (1855-1931) and the first reflex hammer. J Child Neurol. 1990 Jan;5(1):38-9. [PMID 2405048]
  • Louis ED. Weir Mitchell’s 1859 demonstration of “a peculiar contraction” produced by a percussion hammer. Neurology 2008;70:969-973

eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Associate Professor Curtin Medical School, Curtin University. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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