Baby Patent History: Labor and Delivery by Centrifuge

Patent: Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force
Inventors: George B. and Charlotte E. Blonsky of New York City.
Year: 1965

Diagram from the patent application showing a close-up of a mother strapped into the device and colorized yellow for easy identification. Below it is a thumbnail overhead view of the machine, again with the mother colorized yellow. Click to view a larger uncaptioned version of the original patent application page.
Problem #1:
Unlike “primitive peoples,” many “civilized women” do not have a fully developed muscular system with sufficient strength to facilitate childbirth.

Problem #2: “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.”

Solution: Invent a machine that rotates “(muscularly) under-equipped women” at high speed until centrifugal forces eject their babies for them.

Images from the patent application:

Patient Preparation:

A mother is weighed and measured and then laid flat on a stretcher mounted on a central platform. The mom is restrained with straps on her neck or chin, body and thighs. Her feet go into molded clamps and her hands grasp hand grips.

Water is then added to ballast tanks to counteract the mother’s weight, balancing the machine to provide a smooth ride.

For safety, the machine is enclosed in a circular fence to keep hospital staff away once the patient begins spinning.

Machine Operation:

“The gynecologist in charge of the operation instructs the operator as to the gravitational force to be applied to the fetus and the latter takes his place at the controls of the apparatus.”

The mother is then spun around and around at a speed the gynecologist has predetermined will be sufficient to dislodge the infant (or as the patent states, “the fetus”). The apparent maximum g-force for the machine is 7.

A failsafe system exists for emergency shutoff if the mother exceeds her allowed maximum speed. Two free-swinging balls attached to rods hooked to a central control pillar are pushed upward by centrifugal forces. The rods attach to rings which click through notches on the control pillar. When the balls swing too high, the appropriate notch is triggered and the machine turns off.

The mother’s head is positioned at the center of the machine to reduce her head’s rotation, as if that will somehow make the experience more pleasurable. This also presumably concentrates as much puke as possible in and around the mother’s face, rather than having it flung outward toward hospital staff. Or maybe the circular fence acts as a shield.

The stretcher the mother lies on is tilted at an angle predetermined to be optimal for the speed she will be spun. Alternately, the end of the stretcher can be unhinged so that the mother rises and lowers naturally as g-forces change.

When the infant is successfully ejected from the mother, a “pocket-shaped reception net” catches the infant. Don’t worry, the baby is cushioned by a “thick wad of cotton” in the net.

Furthermore, when the baby lands on the “cotton bed” inside the net, its weight exerts force on a switching plate which then turns off the centrifuge. The patent notes that the switching plate can also be configured to ring a bell at the same time.

Phbbbbbt! *ding!*

The carnie gynecologist then pulls a hand brake to quickly slow the mother’s rotation so that she can safely exit the ride.

The inventors clarified in the patent application that the machine is designed to supply the necessary g-forces to deliver a baby, even when “the supplementary forces supplied by the patient are zero either because she is too weak to render any assistance at all, or has lost consciousness.”

This idea for childbirth is infinitely more developed than my rudimentary scheme to jump out from behind a corner and yell “Boo!” at my pregnant wife.

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13 Responses to “Baby Patent History: Labor and Delivery by Centrifuge”

  1. Airwick says:

    oh-my-gosh … I wonder if these two (husband and wife?) actually had any kids? And did Ms. Charlotte actually think this was a good idea, or was this all her husband’s doing and he just put her name on it for good measure?

    January 25th, 2007 at 10:20 am

  2. Mikej says:

    A great way to paint the room red if you ask me.

    January 25th, 2007 at 11:45 am

  3. STL Mom says:

    1965? Are you serious? Surely this has to be from 1865, or possibly 1165…

    January 25th, 2007 at 3:41 pm

  4. totally serious says:

    It’s nice to see a little science brought to childbirth. Finally!!!

    January 25th, 2007 at 8:40 pm

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is that centrifugal force or centripetal?

    January 26th, 2007 at 1:14 pm

  6. lisa says:

    Just looking at this makes my perineum hurt.

    January 26th, 2007 at 7:11 pm

  7. wjb says:

    Talk about Barbaranism?? Oh excuse me I thought this was 2007??

    January 27th, 2007 at 6:19 pm

  8. Kris says:

    OH MY!!!!!!!! It’s a joke right?

    January 28th, 2007 at 7:51 pm

  9. bloom says:

    Does it work for constipation as well?

    January 30th, 2007 at 8:35 am

  10. Victor says:

    Hope Disney doesn’t get a hold of this. Pretty soon they’d be delivering children on Mission Space.

    February 5th, 2007 at 12:38 pm

  11. Alan says:

    Wow. Science was a pretty amazing thing in 1965. I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that the Blonskys intended for it to be nuclear-powered by 1982.

    February 8th, 2007 at 1:38 pm

  12. cherry says:

    wont the centrifugal force cause excess of blood extraction too?? Its suicide!!!!!

    June 14th, 2007 at 7:47 pm

  13. renee says:

    aww isnt science wonderful!

    June 24th, 2007 at 2:11 pm