This immersion suit was discovered in a Uranienborg outbuilding in 2015 in a box marked “Oscar Wisting.” A label inside the collar reads:
“Manufactured by American Rubber Co. Boston U.S.A. for Preserver Suit Co. Inc. New York, U.S.A. Under patent issued December 29th, 1914.”
The “Ever-Warm Safety-Suit” was designed by the Swedish-American Oscar A. Youngren and made and sold under license from his National Life Preserver Company. Youngren told the newspapers that the idea came to him during a voyage from Sweden to America that he made soon after the loss of the Titanic.
Youngren’s own demonstrations of his suit’s properties were often impressive, such as the 9 hours and 35 minutes he spent in the freezing waters of New York’s Hudson River during a night in March 1920.
The suit was made to be worn over other clothes and was advertised as being easy and quick to put on. Made of a rubber-impregnated cotton fabric, it incorporates pads woven from kapok, a filling material that was popular in life vests and belts because of the bouyancy that comes from the air spaces in its fibres. Thin soles of lead ensured that the person remained upright in the water and a large chest pocket was designed to accommodate food and drink.
The “Ever-Warm” suit became popular during the First World War and saw widespread use on warships, passenger ships and transport ships. The newspapers reported several incidents in which the suit had saved lives, including the unsuccessful attempt in 1919 by Harry Hawker and Mackenzie Grieve to fly across the Atlantic, which they survived partly because of their “Ever-Warm” suits.
In summer 1922, Roald Amundsen and Oskar Omdal were photographed in their “Ever-Warm” suits during preparations for a planned flight over the North Pole. That the flight never took place may explain this suit’s remarkably good condition today.
The survival suit in Augmented reality (AR)
Scan the QR code with a mobile device.