Custom built iron lung, Cardiff, Wales, 1941-1950

Made:
1941-1950 in Cardiff
maker:
Unknown

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Custom built iron lung consisting of wooden chamber fixed to iron bedstead, and ventilated by means of hand-cranked leather forge bellows mounted on top

According to a member of staff who worked with this custom built iron lung at Lansdowne Hospital in Cardiff, Wales, the home-made wooden box was made by hospital engineers in the 1940s. Iron lungs are used to help patients whose chest muscles have been paralysed by diseases such as polio. The patient was encased in the wooden box up to their neck. The air pressure inside the box was alternated by operating the giant set of leather bellows. This caused the lungs to inflate and deflate so the person could breathe. This home-made iron lung was used until the late 1950s when the hospital purchased a newer and more technologically advanced model.

Details

Category:
Therapeutics
Object Number:
1992-67
Materials:
iron, leather and wood
type:
iron lung
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
credit:
Lansdowne Hospital