July 7, 2016 Melissa Bauman


Welcome back to #THROWBACKTHURSDAY! We love this series because every Thursday we take a trip down memory lane and visit the history of Urgent Care for Kids, healthcare, and other fun things. Hop into our time machine and let’s go!

Today we are looking at the history of the Life Preserver. With summer in full swing, it is possible you may be heading to the pool, lake, ocean, or river. No matter how confident you are in your water skills, it is best to have you and your family prepared for anything. Life Preservers, Life Jackets, and Floaties are just a few names for the personal flotation devices that have been providing safety to people of all ages for a very long time. Check out this timeline of the history of the Life Preserver from www.oars.com:

Water Wings

870 A.D.: The first recorded flotation devices were made of animal skins created by an Assyrian army to cross a moat.

1800s: A life vest made out of wood and cork was developed by Norwegian sailors. British Royal Navy members were hesitant to adopt these life vests because theyfelt the personal flotation devices were tempting escape methods.

1920s: Due to the uncomfort with the cork vest, kapok was adopted. Kapok was a more buoyant, vegetable fiber, however, it was extremely flammable and lost its buoyancy if squished or sat on.

1940s: “Mae Wests” were inflatable life vests used by American and British airmen. The shapely silhouette these created inspired the nickname.

1960s: The Coast Guard standardized use and regulations for life jackets, although the ones available were not designed well and often led to drowning.

1970s: Maurice O’Link started making jackets that were “unapproved” and the Coast Guard finally opened its mind to new designs. In 1973, the High Float PFD was invented, with more buoyancy and designed for big water swims. It was created for at home assembly.

1980s: European designs are adapted to make the Type V PFD with a special purpose category including a rescue harness and a new design for commercial passengers.

1990s: Phil Curry starts Lotus Designs and dominated all other competitors in the PFD market. The new design included adjustments, bright colors, fit for short waisted people, and durable fabric.

2000s: Lotus was sold to Patagonia and more companies innovated the PFD to make it safer, more stylish, and more sustainable.
Water wings 2

Click HERE for more information on the evolution of the Personal Flotation Device.

Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.


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