Flashback Minis: Iron Lung at the Melnick Museum

This 1952 yellow Iron Lung finds its home inside the Rose Melnick Medical Museum in Cushwa Hall on the campus of Youngstown State University. Machines like this one were often associated with the polio epidemic of the 1940s and 50s.

The pressure inside the chamber would change to allow patients to inhale and exhale. In the medical world today, hospitals use more sophisticated positive-pressure machines that gently push air into a patient’s lungs.

In 1961, Youngstown was the first city in the U.S. to conduct a mass Polio immunization program using the new Sabin oral vaccine. In the first two days of the drive more than 130,000 were immunized.

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