Inventions During the 1920s

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Pat Sidebotham

March 27, 2012

Mr. Schmalbach

American Studies

The 1920's were time of great prosperity and new trends that swept the nation. One of the best

trends were all of the new inventions being created. Inventions including the Band-Aid, the Iron Lung,

and even Bubblegum! These are three of the many inventions created during the 1920's, and many are

still to come.

Earle Dickson was employed as a cotton buyer for the Johnson & Johnson when he invented the

band-aid in 1921. His wife Josephine was always cutting her fingers in the kitchen while preparing

food. At that time a bandage consisted of separate gauze and adhesive tape that you would cut to size

and apply yourself. Earle noticed that gauze and adhesive tape she used would easily fall off her

fingers. He decided to invent something that would stay in place and protect small cuts better. Earle

took a piece of gauze and attached it to the center of a piece of tape, and then covered it with crinoline

to keep it sterile. His boss, James Johnson, saw Dickson's invention and decided to manufacture band-

aids to the public and make Earle vice-president of Johnson & Johnson. Sales of Band-Aids were slow

until Johnson & Johnson decided to give Boy Scout troops free Band-Aids as a publicity stunt. By

1924, Band-Aids were machine made, sold sterilized in 1939, and made with vinyl tape in 1958.

The first modern and practical respirator nicknamed the "iron lung" was invented by Harvard

medical researchers Philip Drinker and Louis Agassiz Shaw in 1927. The inventors used an iron box

and two vacuum cleaners to build their prototype respirator. Almost the length of a subcompact car, the

iron lung exerted a push-pull motion on the chest. In 1927, the first iron lung was installed at Bellevue

hospital in New York City. The first patients of the iron lung were polio sufferers with chest paralysis.

Later, John Emerson...
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