University of Virginia Historical Collections at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library

Alexander Graham Bell Tests an Artificial Respirator

Alexander Graham Bell tests an artificial respirator

Alexander Graham Bell, best known for inventing the telephone, was interested in many areas of invention— including artificial respiration.

In this photo taken in August 1882, Bell and his daughters and attendants in Newport, Rhode Island, try to resuscitate a lamb by using a respirator that Bell designed.
His daughter Daisy is kneeling at the lamb’s head.

He enclosed the photograph in a letter to Thomas Gleason of Boston, Massachusetts, in which he describes and draws the design for the artificial respirator, or ‘Vacuum Jacket’. (See below)


Details about the photograph and letter:  Library of Congress, The Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers (Subject File, Folder:  Artificial Respiration, 1881-1910, undated).

Further Information
The Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers
The Bell Family Papers at the Library of Congress

Life saving Apparatus Used in a Coal Mine, La Salle, Ill
Examples of Various Types of Life Saving Equipment from the Library of Congress

Alexander Graham Bell Museum
The Bell Museum in Nova Scotia

The Development of the Iron Lung
This Historical Collections Exhibit on the Iron Lung Provides Perspective on what Bell Accomplished with his ‘Vacuum Jacket’ Invention

The History of CPR
The Evolution of Modern Resuscitation

© 2009 Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia