Exhibit Of Infant Incubators
Before entering upon a detailed description of the infant incubators' exhibit, a brief review of the origin and rise of the system will be apposite.
The employment of incubators for the purpose of saving the lives of prematurely born or weakly infants, although much on the increase in all civilized countries of the world, has not as yet become a general factor either in the United States or in Great Britain. France and Germany use such methods to a large extent and, it is claimed, with satisfactory results. One of the most essential measures to preserve the lives of prematurely born or weakly infants is to protect them from change of temperature and cold. In bygone days these children were wrapped in wadding or sheepskin with the wool left on. In Silesia and Westphalia infants were sometimes placed in a jar filled with feathers. In the United States the cot or cradle was placed near the hearth, a custom which entailed the necessity of watching the fire, by day and by night, so that the temperature should be kept as constant as possible. Hot water bottles inserted in the bedding was a custom also largely resorted to. Devices of this nature, however, could not be relied on; their success was too dependent upon chance.
Dr. Credé, of the University of Leipzig, some sixty years ago became impressed with this unfortunate condition of affairs and resolved to effect an improvement upon those primitive and untrustworthy methods. He designed a bimetallic box with space between the walls filled with hot water to keep the temperature. The baby in the cradle, in warm clothes, in the container. 1878 first attempt to build a baby incubator on a scientific basis. The famous Dr. Tarnier was hit when visiting the d'acclimatation, in Paris, raised by the artificial couveuses for poultry, and thought entered into his mind, and similar devices could be used for the upbringing of children. So he ordered an incubator to be fully ventilated, containing one or two babies. While there are flaws in many respects, especially in the heating mode, Mr. Tarnier's innovation is a fair measure of success and the lives of many people are preserved by their institutions.