The Baby Incubators were one of the Pike's few scientific
displays. The building, with its two large towers and open court
was one of the few fire-proof attractions on the Pike.
The Red Cross estimated that 17-40% of infants (at the time), so this
attraction was not only interesting but even vital to fairgoers.
"See the mites of humanity whose lives are being preserved by
this wonderful method," stated the newspaper advertisements for the Pike.
There were twenty four `modern' incubators shown in this exhibit. Each machine was an air-tight silver-framed glass box. Hot air was pumped underneath the floorboards to keep the room's temperature constant. By artificial means (which included regulation of oxygen and ventilation), the incubator helped an immature and feeble infant, acclimatize to the outside world. Ten trained nursed, under the guidance of three physicians, cared for the infants, who were separated from fairgoers by a wall of plate glass.
Premature babies from St. Louis hospitals were driven in ambulances in incubators on springs.
An average of 25 babies were on display at one given day, while four lecturers would inform the crowd about the process on how the machines were heated and ventilated, and talked about various statistics pertaining to the care of the very young.
The babies whose health improved as to not need
the incubators were placed in small enamel beds and
After viewing the immature babies, visitors could buy
a souvenir soap baby and have lunch at the Incubator
An abandoned premature infant was found in St. Louis
by a police officer and brought to the incubator
babies attraction. After the abandoned baby was
placed in an incubator, the police officer brought
his new bride to the Fair many times stopping
to observe the baby’s progress.
On Dec. 1, 1904, the day the Fair ended, the couple
adopted the baby and named her Frances
after David Rowland Francis, the Exposition president.