Procrastinating was, is and will always be an irresistible pastime. That is why, in the 1920s, there were those who presented a radical solution to avoid this problem: “The Isolator”.
According to the website IFLScience, the call “Isolator” was presented, in July 1925, in the magazine Science and Invention. Its main purpose was to end any possible distraction.
“The first helmet built, as shown in the illustration, is made of wood, lined with cork inside and out and, finally, is still lined with felt”, the article could read.
“Three pieces of glass were inserted into the eye area. In front of the mouth is a deflector, that allows you to breathe, but at the same time, prevents sound from entering ”, counted its inventors, adding that the first construction“ was successful ”and, although it did not block all noise,“ reached an efficiency of about 75% ”.
To increase its noise blocking capacity, an air gap was then included inside the helmet, which supposedly blocked about 90% to 95% of the sounds.
However, when a certain volunteer worked more than 15 minutes with the “Isolator” on his head, he revealed that he was quite sleepy. As this was not the goal, the inventors introduced a small oxygen tank attached to the helmet, which would “increase breathing and ‘cheer up’ the user considerably”.
According to the same website, despite the good intentions of this team, the truth is that maintaining a good quality air flow is a little more complex than this solution. Too much oxygen can become toxic, but without a sufficient gas flow and adequate exhaust, the accumulated carbon dioxide is a much more likely and serious complication.
“There is a whole part of the science of anesthesia dedicated to this topic, called ‘Mapleson Breathing Systems’. We need a sufficient flow of oxygen in the system between each breath to purge the CO2 from the system. Otherwise, we will inhale not only fresh oxygen but also CO2 expelled on the next breath. This means that CO2 would accumulate in the bloodstream, becoming quickly fatal“, He explained to the IFLScience Daniel Funnell, anesthetist not Medway Hospital, not UK.
“It would probably be necessary to have a new oxygen cylinder every half hour, which would be a very expensive way just to avoid being distracted. (…) It would have been better to make a hole, ”he added.