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Portable resuscitator for industrial use, England, 1962

Sold under the trade name ‘Porton’, this resuscitator was for use in factories on people who had stopped breathing. Once the person’s airway and mouth were cleared of any obstruction– including vomit, their tongue or even dentures – the facemask could be placed over the mouth and nose. The presence of such equipment in the workplace shows a dramatic change from previous centuries when the health of workers was of little interest to factory owners. The instructions on the side of the box recommended pumping 12-16 times a minute and to continue until normal breathing resumed. The instructions warned that this could take up to two hours. Anyone would have been able to use the resuscitator. Today, only those who are specially trained are allowed to give first aid in a factory or other industrial setting.

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Glossary: resuscitator

A device or instrument used for resuscitation after asphyxia or the cessation of breathing.