50 Years Ago
In spite of the enlightened attitudes of many countries, the opinion still prevails in Britain that engineering is not a suitable career for women. In France, one engineer in twenty-eight is a woman, and in Syria one in fourteen, while in Russia the figure is one in three. But in Britain, only one engineer in five hundred is a woman … Last week, the Women’s Engineering Society … celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. At the same time “Women in Engineering Year” was launched in a concerted effort to break down the prejudice … against women taking their place in a profession which needs as many eager recruits as it can get. Conferences, exhibitions, lectures and visits have been organized throughout Britain to demonstrate that engineering does not consist entirely of heavy and dirty work requiring massive physical stamina, and that women have a valuable part to play.
100 Years Ago
Of late years much attention has been given to the remarkable power of charcoal to absorb gases of all kinds, and during the war extensive use has been made of this property in the construction of masks for removing noxious gases from the air inhaled by the wearer … I should like to remind readers of Nature that the first practical application of charcoal for such purposes was made by Dr. John Stenhouse, lecturer in chemistry at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. In 1854 Stenhouse devised a charcoal respirator consisting of a perforated zinc case filled with granular wood charcoal, and adapted to fit over the mouth and nose. Respirators of this kind were in use by nurses and dressers in St. Bartholomew’s …down to the time when Lister’s antiseptic system rendered such protection from the offensive emanations of sores unnecessary.