Not from a galaxy far, far away, but from Red Bank, New Jersey, the Stephenson Controlled Respiration Unit (CRU, above) and its generation of ventilators inspired new hope in artificial ventilation. The Stephenson CRU and contemporaries like the Bird Mark 7 ventilator marked a departure from the negative-pressure machines popular during the poliomyelitis outbreaks of the 1940s and 1950s. This piston-driven, volume-controlled, pressure-limited ventilator had both automatic and manual modes keeping pace against peers during resistance and compliance trials. Although the Stephenson Corporation no longer exists, it was a technologically progressive and philanthropic organization founded by William H. Stephenson and his head of research and development Monroe H. Goodner. An entrepreneur at heart, Stephenson practiced law and launched enterprises ranging from mining operations to musical conservatories. Goodner was an engineer trained in his family’s machine shop with a father famous for a piston-driven irrigation machine. While the Stephenson CRU never reached far corners of the galaxy, Stephenson traveled widely in 1955 promoting the device at the American Society of Anesthesiologists meeting in Boston and the first World Congress of Anaesthesiologists held in The Netherlands. (Copyright © the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology. www.woodlibrarymuseum.org)

Not from a galaxy far, far away, but from Red Bank, New Jersey, the Stephenson Controlled Respiration Unit (CRU, above) and its generation of ventilators inspired new hope in artificial ventilation. The Stephenson CRU and contemporaries like the Bird Mark 7 ventilator marked a departure from the negative-pressure machines popular during the poliomyelitis outbreaks of the 1940s and 1950s. This piston-driven, volume-controlled, pressure-limited ventilator had both automatic and manual modes keeping pace against peers during resistance and compliance trials. Although the Stephenson Corporation no longer exists, it was a technologically progressive and philanthropic organization founded by William H. Stephenson and his head of research and development Monroe H. Goodner. An entrepreneur at heart, Stephenson practiced law and launched enterprises ranging from mining operations to musical conservatories. Goodner was an engineer trained in his family’s machine shop with a father famous for a piston-driven irrigation machine. While the Stephenson CRU never reached far corners of the galaxy, Stephenson traveled widely in 1955 promoting the device at the American Society of Anesthesiologists meeting in Boston and the first World Congress of Anaesthesiologists held in The Netherlands. (Copyright © the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology. www.woodlibrarymuseum.org)

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Melissa L. Coleman, M.D., Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania.