20 Scary Images of Medical Equipment Then and Now

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#20 – Incubator

incubator
“Oh baby, baby!” While the majority of babies are born under ideal circumstances that allow them a brief stay at the hospital before going home with their proud parents, some babies require a little more tender, love and care especially if they’re born prematurely. That’s where the neonatal intensive care department and incubators come into play! Invented by Dr. Martin Couney of Germany, incubators were first put to use in 1896 shortly before Couney settled in the United States where he showed off his new invention by putting babies on display in the contraption on the bustling Coney Island boardwalk. No, we aren’t kidding!

Thankfully by the mid-1940s, Couney’s outrageous exhibits were well on their way to becoming another weird footnote in medical history as advances in technology helped modernize his original incubator design. Now widely used today to maintain ideal conditions for newborns, incubators have increased the survival rates of babies across the world thanks to the use of oxygen hoods, ventilators, climate control, nutritional and medication tubes and more! All of this and to think the incubator all started like a circus display on New York’s legendary boardwalk.