Exposition Industrielle de Reims, 1903
The Industrial Exposition of Reims [‘l’Exposition Industrielle de Reims] was held from May 15 to September 6, 1903 in an area that today corresponds to the Hautes-Promenades, the Porte Mars, and the Boulingrin Halls. It required 5 months of preparation, and had more than 1200 exhibitors and 300,000 paid admissions during it’s 4 months of public access. Most of the buildings were prefabricated, and many of them had been used the previous year in another exposition in Lille. The organizer was Jean-Alfred Vigé, who was the promoter of many regional expositions from 1899 to 1913.
Although I have not been able to find any pictures or souvenir postcards as yet, we know that Alexandre Lion had an incubator exhibit at Reims, and it was discussed in contemporary news accounts.
In these little glass cages, little human dolls sleep, poor beings faced with the difficulties of life outside at an age when the other children of men have not yet been born in the light and hide their punyness in the maternal abdomen.
The work of the incubators is most humane; its object is the free upbringing of children born before term and whose constitution is too imperfect to be able to resist variations in atmospheric temperature under ordinary conditions.
This work, which was founded by Mr. Alexandre Lion, has already obtained very good results: whereas before the incubator, the mortality rate for children born before term was 75 percent, today it is only around 25 percent and is improving every day.
In our era of depopulation, the results of the work of the incubators are perhaps more important than ever, as Doctor Vallin said in his report to the Paris Academy of Medicine:
“Since the number of children born is decreasing, let us at least try to save them all and raise them for the Fatherland.”
Here is the description of an incubator as I borrowed it from the little blue book put up for sale at the exhibition of the work:
The Lion Incubator consists of a metal parallelipiped mounted on an iron support.
It can be disinfected without damage by steam oven or with chemical disinfection. Its ventilation is ensured by a tube 8 centimeters in diameter opening at the base of the device and by a chimney of the same diameter. A propeller placed at its top indicates, by its rotation, the strength of the air current.
The front face of the Incubator is equipped with a glass frame with two leaves, with locking bolt. On the left side another glass frame can be opened, allowing the mother or the guard to follow the movements of the child and to take it out if necessary, the device being placed next to the mother’s bed.
The bottom slides and is removed, sliding in its grooves, like the board of a bird’s cage.
Placed in the middle of the Couveuse on a metal canvas hammock, the child is isolated from all sides, and the hot air can circulate freely around him. A themometer, placed at the height of his head, makes it possible to check the status of the apparatus.
Heating is provided by circulating hot water in a coil communicating with a tank placed next to it. This thermosiphon can be heated either by gas, oil, electricity or by any other means of heating.
A special pipe allows the outside air, which is purer than the air in the apartments and rooms, to bring it directly to the incubator, and filter it in addition before it enters the incubator, and to lead it outside. through a chimney.
By these arrangements, the air can be augmented, according to doctor’s instructions, with medicinal gases: oxygen, ozone, balsamic essences of pine, eucalyptus, fir buds, etc.
In addition, the dangers that may result from an conglomeration of substances are eliminated.
A regulator transmits the movements of the temperature to a lever and increases or decreases, according to need, the force of the current of heat.
Thus, constant regulation of the temperature is ensured automatically.
The incubators form an interesting pavilion at the Exhibition to visit. Four little babies are there, one of whom was born at only six and a half months and is barely a month in the incubator. The other three children (two boys and a girl) are from the same mother who only carried them for eight months: in the warm and constant temperature of the device, the poor little ones gradually regain strength and life and we see that their clenched little hands seem to be attached to the invisible threads of existence.
- L’Exposition Industrielle de Reims, 1903 by Malika Najjar
- General Information
- Press Coverage
- La Maternité “Lion de Nice” pour Enfants Nés Avant Terme ou Débiles, by Dr. Ciaudo, 1895.
- Les Couveuses pour Enfants, Gazette Médicale de Paris, 1900
- Couveuses d’Enfants, La Maternité Lion, Paris, La Patrie, 1897
- Paris Letter: An Improved System of Incubators, by O. Jennings, Pediatrics 1:427-428, 1896
- Baby Incubators, The Strand Magazine, 1896, by James Walter Smith
- Human Infant Incubation: A True Fairy-Tale of Modern Science from Leslie’s Weekly, 1897
- The Saving of Human Life, Maternité Lion in NYC, The Literary Digest, 1898
- Immature Infants in France, from The Lancet, January 16, 1897, page 196.
- Alexandre Lion’s Incubator Charities in Europe (1894–1898) (The Embryo Project)
- Newspaper Articles about Lion’s Storefronts and Expositions
- Maternité Lion Souvenir Booklets
- Oeuvre Maternelle des Couveuses d’Enfants , Paris Institute, Booklet Version #1 (appears to be ~1896)
- Oeuvre Maternelle des Couveuses d’Enfants , Paris Institute, Booklet Version #2 (appears to be ~1901)
- Pamphlet from Alexander Lion’s exhibit at the 1898 exhibition in Torino, Italy. (PDF supplied by Dr. Thijs Gras, Amsterdam)
- Worlds Fairs and Expositions
- Maternité Lion at the Lyon Exposition Universelle et Coloniale, 1894
- Maternité Lion at the Bordeaux Exposition of 1895.
- “La Maternité Lion,” by Louis Énault, Journal of the Bordeaux Exposition, 1895
- Maternité Lion at the Amsterdam World Exposition, 1895
- Maternité Lion at the Berliner Gewerbeausstellung, 1896
- Maternité Lion at the Exposition National Suisse, Geneva, Switzerland, 1896
- Maternité Lion at the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, 1897
- Maternité Lion at the Brussels International Exposition, 1897
- Maternité Lion at the Turin L’Esposizione Generale Italiana, 1898
- Maternite Lion at the Ghent Provincial Exposition of 1899
- Maternité Lion at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900
- Woman’s Exhibition in Earls Court, London, 1900
- Maternité Lion at the Lille Exposition of 1902
- Maternité Lion at the Marseille Colonial Exposition of 1906
- Maternite Lion at the Bordeaux International Maritime Exposition of 1907
- Maternité Lion at the Marseille Exposition Internationale d’Électricité, 1908
- Maternité Lion at the Exposition Internationale de l’Est de la France, Nancy, France, 1909
- Maternité Lion at the Brussels Exposition Universelle et Internationale, 1910
- Maternite Lion at the Exposition du Centre de la France, Clermont-Ferrand, 1910
- Maternité Liion at the Rome International Exposition of 1911
- Maternité Lion at the Turin International Exposition of 1911
- Maternité Lion at the Ghent International Exposition of 1913