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