An Iron Lung made in the 1950s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Iron Lung is shown in the process of being moved out of the Science Museum's Hayes Store in Middlesex in 1993. The world's first life support system, the Iron Lung was invented in 1928 to help paralysed people breathe. These were very widely used during the polio epidemic of 1952-3, when some people were forced to live in them for long periods - a few even spent the rest of their lives in them. Although Iron Lungs were very expensive and scarce at first, their cost fell when mass production methods started to be used.