1900-1944: Ambulance Mass Transit

1900-1944: Ambulance Mass Transit

Cross Posted: EMS History; Ambulances; By Era; Land Based
Submitter/Author: Courtesy Wikipedia (kpr 6-07)

Mass transit use for emergency medical provision

In the late 19th century cities, including Bahia , Brazil and St Louis , Missouri , United States started using trolley cars on their tram network which were designed to act as ambulances, transporting the sick and injured. The trolley cars in Bahia included a fumigating compartment and a two bed nurses work area. The design of the tram network in St Louis was such that the ambulance streetcar, introduced in 1894 was able to reach all 16 infirmaries in the city.[19]

In Germany, in 1902, an civilian ambulance train was introduced (building on the use of trains during military conflict) for use during railway accidents. It housed a mobile operating room and eight stretchers. Railroad employed surgeons lived near the railway station where the ambulance train was stationed, and were summoned to urgently attend in the event of an emergency. The train had priority over the tracks, with all other trains obliged to give way.[19]

Introduction of motor units

A 1948 Cadillac A. J. Miller ambulance.

The A. J. Miller company purchased this car from Cadillac , then modified it to turn it into an ambulance. The resemblance to a hearse is obvious. (see text)

In the late 19th century, the automobile was being developed, and started to be introduced alongside horse-drawn models, early 20th century ambulances were powered by steam , gasoline , and electricity , reflecting the competing automotive technologies then in existence. However, the first motor powered ambulance was brought in to service in the last year of the 19th century, with the Michael Reese Hospital , Chicago , taking delivery of the first automobile ambulance, donated by 500 prominent local businessmen, in February 1899.[19] This was followed in 1900, by New York city, who extolled it's virtues of greater speed, more safety for the patient, faster stopping and a smoother ride. These first two automobile ambulances were electrically powered with 2 horse power motors on the rear axle.[19]

The first gasoline powered ambulance was the Palliser Ambulance, introduced in 1905, and named for Major Palliser of the Canadian Militia. This three wheeled vehicle (one at the front, two at the rear) was designed for use on the battlefield, under enemy fire. It was a heavy tractor unit, cased in bullet proof steel sheets. These steel shields opened outwards to provide a small area of cover from fire (nine feet wide by 7 feet high) for the ambulance staff when the vehicle was stationary.[19]

The British Army was quickly behind the Canadians in introducing a limited number of automobile ambulances. In 1905, the Royal Army Medical Corps commissioned a number of Straker-Squire motor ambulance vans. They were based on a double decker bus manufactured by the same company, although on a shorter wheel base.[25] A number of them were based in Oxfordshire, serving several major encampments in the area.[19]

The first mass production automobile based ambulance (rather than one off models) was produced in the United States by the James Cunningham, Son & Company of Rochester, New York , a manufacturer of carriages and hearses, in 1909. This ambulance was named the Model 774 Automobile Ambulance. The ambulance featured a proprietary 32 horsepower, 4 cylinder internal combustion engine. The chassis rode on pneumatic tires, while the body featured electric lights, a suspended cot with two attendant seats, and a side mounted gong. [26]

***** References:

19.  Barkley, Katherine T. 1990. "The Ambulance". Exposition Press. ISBN 0-682-48983-2

20.  Kuehl, Alexander E. (Ed.). Prehospital Systems and Medical Oversight, 3rd edition. National Association of EMS Physicians. 2002 . @ ch. 1.

21.  Higginbotham, Peter (October 2005). The MAB Land Ambulance Service . Retrieved on 2007 - 06-02

22.  St. John Ambulance in the Industrial Revolution . St John Ambulance UK. Retrieved on 2007 - 06-16

23.  St John Ambulance First Aid Cover for Events . St John Ambulance UK. Retrieved on 2007 - 06-02 .

24.  History of Queensland Ambulance Service . Retrieved on 2007 - 06-16 .

25.  The Straker-Squire 1905 Ambulance . Retrieved on 2007 - 06-05

26.  McCall, Walter MP. 2002. "The American Ambulance", Iconografix

Keywords: ambulance, vintagem WWII

Last Revision Date: 6/25/07 - 3:15 PM

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