Iron lung display, 1950s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Reconstruction in the Lower Wellcome Gallery, Science Museum, London. This particular iron lung was presented by Viscount Nuffield to the Memorial Hospital in Darlington in the 1950s. An iron lung is an air-tight box in which a paralysed patient lies to help them breathe, the bellows are operated electronically. Paralysis was often the result of polio. The first iron lung was invented in the 1870s in Paris by Dr Eugene Woillez.