Phineas P. Gage (1823–1860) was an American railroad construction foreman now remembered for his improbable survival of an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain's left frontal lobe, and for that injury's reported effects on his personality and behavior – effects so profound that friends saw him as "no longer Gage".
On September 13, 1848, 25-year-old Gage was foreman of a work gang blasting rock while preparing the roadbed for the Rutland & Burlington Railroad outside the town of Cavendish, Vermont. After a hole was bored into a body of rock, one of Gage's duties was to add blasting powder, a fuse, and sand, then compact the charge into the hole using a tamping iron – a large iron rod. Possibly because the sand was omitted, around 4:30 PM "the powder exploded, carrying an instrument through his head an inch and a fourth in [diameter], and three feet and [seven] inches in length, which he was using at the time. The iron entered on the side of his face...passing back of the left eye, and out at the top of the head."
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