The Blonksy: Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force

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By Jill Arnold

 

Photo credit: The Hairpin

 

The Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force, or “The Blonsky,” was patented in 1965. Jennifer Block documented this in the first pages of her 2007 book, Pushed: the painful truth about childbirth and modern maternity care. In her words:

On November 9, 1965, the United States Patent Office granted George Blonksy, a retired mining engineer, and his wife Charlotte, a former medical student, patent number 3,216,423 for their “Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force,” or, simply, “The Blonksy.” Specifications for the floor-to-ceiling contraption were precise: The Blonsky was to be constructed of heavy cast iron and aluminum, mounted on poured concrete, and surrounded by a circular “fence.” The patient would be strapped horizontally along the radius of a circular platform and spun, like a merry-go-round, generating a force of up to seven G’s (seven times the force of gravity). Perhaps best described as an amusement park ride based on a medieval torture device built like a NASA space-flight simulator, the machine was intended to create sufficient pull “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,” wrote the Blonskys. The baby, sucked out by a hyper-vacuum, would land in a basket built of a “strong, elastic material and supported under tension by tail ropes,” lined with cotton padding. The physician, essentially reduced to ride operator, need employ an emergency brake only if the force of the ejected child failed to trigger an automatic shut-off mechanism. (Pushed, Jennifer Block, pp 1-2)

 

  

Photo credit: Boing Boing

 

Photo credit: Boing Boing