Incomplete Embryos in a Metal Womb


Children in an iron lung before the advent of the polio vaccination. Many children lived for months in these machines, though not all survived, 1937. courtesy All Proud Americans

“There was a tremendous psychological element at work in all of us in our relationship to the lung. The metal respirator assumed an almost animate personality and became a symbol of protection and security…. We were incomplete embryos in a metal womb.” —Larry Alexander, 1954

9 responses to “Incomplete Embryos in a Metal Womb”

    • There’s a certain type of bravery saved for when there’s nothing else you can do. It’s amazing the things you imagine you could never do, you do when you’re very sick. It helps if you have nice doctors and nurses like the one in the picture 🙂 I really hope this batch of kids mad it through. Polio is so scary.


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