Emerson Respirator

This specimen of the Emerson Respirator (probably dating back to the 1950s), popularly known as an "Iron lung", can be seen in a quite dark corner on the second floor of the International Museum of Surgical Science of Chicago. It was initially designed by John Haven Emerson in 1931: "When Harvard University sued him for patent infringement, Emerson invalidated Harvard’s patents by proving others had prior claims on the tank respirator. 'Not bad,' Jack noted drily, 'for a high school dropout.' Unlike his prevailing sense of humor, Emerson’s eyes were rarely dry around photographs from the 1950s of school gymnasiums filled with tank-bound polio-stricken children. Many of these youngsters would eventually recover from their suffocating paralysis, courtesy of their tiny versions of his Emerson Respirator"1.

  • Photos by Silia Fiore ti.supmacla|eroif.ailis#| (August 2014)

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