Premature babies haven’t always had the chance to live.
However, during the early 20th century, from 1900-1943, an exhibit was held in Coney Island which created a solution for suffering premature babies.
The man behind this project, Martin Couney, was a German immigrant. As a profession, he worked as a pediatrician and later became known as a leader in the field of neonatology. But, before rising to fame from saving infants, his work was looked down upon and gained disapproval in the medical world.
Yet, through perseverance, he brought his invention to the United States. It all started at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. As a public exhibit, he placed children with various genetic deformities into incubators brought from France. The incubator brought in would advance infant care in the US, which was considered “several decades behind” France.
This attraction named “All The World Loves A Baby” soon became popular with visitors. The incubators were 5 ft tall, and made up of steel and glass. People marveled at it, and it only costed 25 cents to enter back then. Couney ran the exhibit for $15 a day, which is about $405 present day (to maintain). This money was used to pay for the the cost of each child, the staff, and contributed to the opening of even more exhibits.
Though this may be seen as heroic, which it was, the idea behind this was to actually raise awareness about saving infants that were born premature. Couney was passionate about teaching people the importance of premature babies, as many would go on in life to become salient leaders in many aspects. Some notable premature infants include Mark Twain, Napoleon, Sir Isaac Newton.
While this started in a Victorian era exhibition in Earlscourt England, where more than 3500 people attended and many reputable sources wrote about, this has been one of the most important practices.
This was the start of better infant care and would change America’s medical practice forever. Though Martin Couney has since passed away, we shall forever know him for his dedication to his work, and the legacy he has left behind.