Object Record

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Object/Catalog Number FIC10.3.96
Object Name Face Bow, Snow
Collection Miscellaneous Articulators & Related Equipment
Object Category 15: Dental Materials, Tools & Equipment
Object Sub-category Prosthodontics-Crown, Bridge & Dentures
Date 1899
Description Facebow designed by George B. Snow and Abel De Witt Gritman, Buffalo, NY and patented July 25, 1899 (No. 629531). Facebow was designed for the location of the upper trial plate, relative to the temporomandibular articulations, so that it could be placed in the articulator in the same position relative to its joints, that it occupied in the mouth. No manufacturer's mark. Manufactured by Snow Dental Company.
Material Metal and wax
Length (in) 8
Width (in) 9.75
Condition Good

In 1899, George Snow and DeWitt Gritman were issued a landmark patent for the Gritman articulator and Snow facebow. The Gritman articulator was a fixed condylar guide instrument. The Snow facebow was the first device that related the maxilla anatomically to the condylar.

The Snow Facebow (on the Gritman Articulator). In the original patent, this device was referred to as only an “attachment” for an articulator, “whereby the proper location of the upper model in the articulator with respect to the pivotal point between the two sections may be defined.” The term, “facebow,” probably evolved from a statement by A.D. Gritman, who described the “implement devised by Prof. Snow. . .as a bow of metal (that) reaches around the face. . .”13 It first appeared in the literature in a description for its use by Gritman and Snow in the American Textbook of Prosthetic Dentistry (ed 2), 1900.14 (Reprinted from Snow, p 643.9)

The Appearance of the Traditional Facebow

It remained for George B. Snow of Buffalo, NY, in 1899, to make the vital breakthrough when he introduced the first instrument and technique for recording the anatomic relationship of the maxillae to the condylar axis and transferring this relationship to the articulator. To George B. Snow, therefore, belongs the credit for the development of the modern traditional facebow. Snow’s new innovations were: (1) the facebow fork for indexing the anatomic position of the maxilla to the condyles, and (2) the application of the “ala-tragus line” for establishing the orientation of the occlusal plane. Snow adopted the plane of orientation suggested by,I.N. Broomell (Fig 5). Broomell had originally described,it with reference to osseous structures (ie, the,center of the glenoid fossa to the anterior nasal spine). Snow used the term, “ala-tragus line,” adapting it to soft tissue structures for clinical application.

Edgar N. Starcke, DDS. "The History of Articulators: The Appearance and Early History of Facebows." Journal of Prosthodontics, Vol 9, No 3 (September), 2000: pp 161-165
Related Publications U.S. Patent No.: No. 629531 (July 25, 1899)
U.S. Patent Document - Google Patents:

Biography of George Burwell Snow
Dental Digest, Vol. XXVIII (Jan-Dec, 1922), 420-21.
People Snow, George Burwell
Number of images 1.0
Catalog date 2011-05-13
Dimensions W-9.75 L-8 inches
Caption Snow Face Bow
Made United States: Snow Dental Company, Buffalo, NY