Model of an iron lung

This is a model of an iron lung designed by Captain George Smith-Clarke and developed by Cape Engineering Co of Warwick.

Iron lungs were widely used in the mid 20th century for patients suffering from polio who were unable to breathe for themselves. There were serious outbreaks of polio in the 1940s and 1950s, but the disease has now been largely eradicated by vaccination.

From 1952 Captain Smith-Clarke made various improvements to existing iron lungs and then developed an entirely new mechanical respirator. Smith-Clarke was Chairman of Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital, but he was also an engineer. For many years he was Director and Chief Engineer of the Alvis motor car company in Coventry.