The first incubator for premature babies

In 1588 , an Italian natural philosopher, Giambattista della Porta invented an incubator for premature babies, which was a warming box for infants.

      Giambattista della Porta
      Naples, Italy

Additional Information:

  • Giambattista della Porta
    Giambattista della Porta was born at Vico Equense, near Naples, to the nobleman Nardo Antonio della Porta. He was the third of four sons and the second to survive childhood, having an older brother Gian Vincenzo and a younger brother Gian Ferrante.
  • Incubator Babies – Atlantic City Experience
    Couney’s first exhibit of premature infants in incubators was at the 1896 Berlin Exposition. A German hospital loaned him several premature babies, all of whom the hospital had determined would die. Couney, utilizing his baby incubator technology was able to rehabilitate each of the infants’ lives.
  • History of Prematurity in the Early 1900’s
    Dr. Silverman recounts the fascinating history of premature babies in incubators who were exhibited at World’s Fairs beginning in the late 19th century. An aspiring young actor named Archibald Leach worked as a barker outside one of these exhibits (“Don’t pass the babies by!”).
  • A Brief History of Advances in Neonatal Care
    Although the practice of displaying premature infants for money is certainly morally questionable, it helped pave the way for modern neonatal intensive care. Dr. Couney died in 1950, shortly after American hospitals began to use incubators to care for premature babies.

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