Lung Preservers | Sheaff : ephemera

Lung Preservers

With ephemera, one thing leads to another leads to another. I recently came across this gimmick promotional piece for a clothing store, formatted as a faux legal document:


What caught my eye was the last term in the long list of available clothing, "lung preservers". What was a lung preserver? I began to look into it, and for a long time found little that was relevant, other than references to a New Zealand patent medicine named Baxter's Lung Preserver (which is still sold). Then I found a ten-panel folder put by the Hub Protector Company in 1895. Here is a portion of that piece:


Lung Preservers, also known as lung protectors, were a sort of bib made of felt or chamois or wool, or some layered combination thereof. Some were made as vests or jackets. The purpose was to insulate the chest/lung area from dangerous chills; which, according to the medical understandings of the day, could cause catarrah, consumption and all manner of ills. The Hub Protector Company warned buyers against smaller bib-type protectors which they said could not do the job. I now have a few of those:


A periodical of the day suggested that those who could not afford a lung preserver/protector simply add layers of newspaper onto the chest, under their other clothing. A quack device promoted by one J. O. Woods of New York was the Throat and Lung Protector, a "thin sheet of celluloid adjusted to ther size of the mouth, to be worn while in bed, outside of the teeth and inside of the lips.


The Climax Shirt offered optional attachable chest protectors. (Trade card, Sheaff Collection)


Diecut trade card (Sheaff Collection)

Another quack of the day, the Electric Appliance Company of Burlington, Kansas offered a "galvanic" version of the chest protector, which had copper discs attached to the front:


(I found this image on flickr.)


( not in Sheaff collection )

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