March 27, 2012
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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