Bottle from blood transfusion apparatus, 1914-1918.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Designed by Geoffrey Keynes (1887-1982) and made by the General Surgical Company Ltd. Keynes, brother of economist John Maynard Keynes, became an authority on blood transfusion, publishing several major works on the subject. He was also a distinguished medical historian. Blood treated with anticoagulants which stop the blood clotting (forming lumps), was first stored with any succes during World War I. Although this made transfusions for casualties technically posible, they were carried out infrequently, as blood did not keep well and supplies were therefore often unavailable. Improvements in the preservation and storage of blood meant that blood transfusions saved many lives in World War II.