1752: Giant bellows fan ventilates a prison
The governors of Newgate Prison in London were persuaded by the English scientist Stephen Hales to open up ventilation holes in the cell walls. A giant bellows was installed to force fresh air into the cells and the health of the inmates was subsequently dramatically improved. Perhaps Hales was driven by a measure of personal feelings, as his brother had died of prison sickness (probably typhus) while in Newgate.
11 years previously, the bellows principle had made a significant breakthrough in the Royal Navy, where it was used to ventilate the manned spaces below deck. Contemporary writings compared ships to large whales and bellows to their lungs. After proving successful in the prison application, bellows were installed in a number of buildings around the world, for example, in Naples and St. Petersburg, and even in Lapland.
1762: Measures to reduce the risk of infection in hospitals
One of the first hospitals to implement the latest findings concerning air purity and airborne disease was the Royal Naval Hospital in Plymouth, England. Wards were isolated from each other using dividing walls and they were also fitted with openable windows in opposite facades to enable constant through-draughts. Fresh air was thus introduced and poor indoor air removed.
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