John Haven Emerson

1906-1997 (91 years old)

United States

Year of great discovery/work

Emerson built biomedical and research apparatuses that helped advance medical diagnostic testing. One of his most famous inventions was the Emerson respirator, more commonly known as the iron lung. Emerson’s improvements to the iron lung ensured that more polio patients would be given the opportunity to survive their polio infection. His other inventions included elements of SCUBA gear, resuscitators, and postoperative suction pumps.

Did you know?
The first example of Emerson’s improved iron lung, nicknamed “Old Number One” is on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.