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It's Going to the Smithsonian Institution

In the early 1960s, prior to the birth of ECRI Institute, Joel Nobel, MD, developed a resuscitation system called the Max Cart. A prototype of this original hospital crash cart is headed for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

The Max Cart

"It was a response to the chaos of CPR at the time. It came into fairly wide hospital use in the United States and Europe. TIME, LIFE, Der Speigel and other lay publications did pieces on it. The design focused on human factors and prevention of operator errors and speed of operation. It was also used in Vietnam, and one was kept at the White House dispensary and there were rumors that there was one aboard Air Force One.

It was a simple concept--an assembly jig for resuscitation. It reduced the number of clinical staff needed and radically reduced the time needed to establish and maintain effective life support. It had a couple of technical innovations too, like a two-stage tuned air ejector to provide suction and a pistol grip and trigger to modulate suction. I worked with several engineers at Hamilton-Standard to develop it. The Max Cart was manufactured by the Corbin-Farnsworth Division of SmithKline Instruments, a company that went out of business in the 1970s.

It taught me a couple of lessons that stayed with me. How arduous it is to create something, and bring it to the market, and get people to accept something new, regardless of how much better it works."

--Joel J. Nobel, M.D.,
Founder and President Emeritus,
ECRI Institute




Max Cart Donation to Smithsonian Institution


Take a trip back in time with "Max" (video)