Philip Drinker

Philip Drinker first demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of an artificial respirator

Although a pioneer in public health research on the hazards of exposure to lead and dust, Philip Drinker is best remembered for his development of a machine to induce artificial respiration—the Drinker respirator, popularly known as the "Iron Lung"—which helped to save thousands of lives during the polio outbreaks of the 1940s and 50s.

This photograph illustrates an experiment from Philip Drinker’s notebook, which chronicles his research with Louis Agassiz Shaw in artificial respiration. In this particular experiment, on September 26, 1927, Professor Drinker first demonstrates the safety and effectiveness of the respirator. He is also the subject of the experiment.

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Philip Drinker