This sounds like something from a bizarre sci-fi novel but it’s inventors really thought this contraption could help expectant mothers around the world. In 1965 George and Charlotte Blonksy registered a patent for a machine intended to make things easier for women whilst giving birth.
George Blonsky was a trained engineer who one day in a visit to the zoo witnessed an elephant giving birth. He noticed that the elephant moved around in a circular motion and this made him wonder if nature was easing the process of giving birth with the use of centrifugal force. If elephants could utilise this method then would women be able to do the same with the aid of a mechanical contraption ? With his skills and experience as an Engineer he enlisted his wife Charlotte’s help to draw up some plans for a mechanical centrifugal birthing machine.
The original patent can be seen at the fascinating Google Patents Pages.
It is known, that due to natural anatomical conditions, the fetus needs the application of considerable propelling force to enable it to push aside the constricting vaginal walls, to overcome the friction of the uteral and vaginal surfaces and to counteract the atmospheric pressure opposing the emergence of the child. In the case of a woman who has a fully developed muscular system and has had ample physical exertion all through the pregnancy, as is common with all more primitive peoples, nature provides all the necessary equipment and power to have a normal and quick delivery. This is not the case, however, with more civilized Women who often do not have the opportunity to develop the muscles needed in confinement.
Unfortunately the machine was never actually built so we don’t know whether it would have actually worked but in 1999 Blonsky and his late wife finally gained global recognition when they were awarded the Ig Nobel Prize, from Harvard University for one-of-a-kind inventions that “cannot or should not be reproduced.”
I wonder what other hidden gems may lie undiscovered in the vaults of the US patent office but luckily with the advent of the internet we have access to browse ourselves and unearth them. Here are the original plans.