Photograph showing workers waiting to use the 'inhalatorium' at the Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd factory in Abbotsford, 1919.
The inhalatorium was used to protect workers from being infected with the influenza during the 1919 Spanish flu epidemic. Ten people could be accommodated on each side of the structure, from which steam carrying sulphate of zinc solution was sprayed onto the worker's faces. Once breathed in it was thought that the steam solution would 'disinfect' the workers' throats and air passages. Staff were given this treatment twice a day for four minutes at a time.
Mr James Gault's grandson donated this photograph to the Kodak Heritage Collection. James Gault was originally a photographic artist who later worked in various positions with Kodak, probably from about the early 20th century until about 1941, when he left to start a business with his son Robert who was an electrical engineer. He was held in good regard by the company. In 1913 he was rewarded 1 pound for an innovation to stop machinery in the case of an accident, to make the factory safer.
When he left the company, Mr Gault and his son were invited to a lunch with the managing director Edgar Rouse in December 1941, to wish them good luck in their new endeavour on behalf of the company directors. In 1928, along with 9 other senior staff, Mr Gault was left 300 pounds by Kodak managing director Thomas Baker after he died. Kodak workers of more than eight years service were all provided for in Mr Baker's will, with most staff receiving from 40 to 200 pounds. James Gault's many years of service and the esteem he was held in by Thomas Baker no doubt contributed to the generous legacy that he received.
Kodak manufactured and distributed a wide range of photographic products to Australasia, such as film, paper, chemicals, cameras and miscellaneous equipment. Its client base included amateur and professional photographers, as well as specialist medical and graphic art professionals who used photography, x-ray and other imaging techniques.
Description of Content
Black and white interior photograph of workers inside a factory. Men and women are shown, with the women lined up on the right hand side of a long piece of equipment with sloping sides and circular holes in it, perhaps containing sinks, with a man looking over a low wall on the left side of the space. The interior is brick, and there is a mezzanine at the back of the space. There are various pipes, buckets, wooden barrels and crates in the space, with glass plate racking on the right hand side.
Black and white landscape format print with white border.
Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd, Southampton Crescent, Abbotsford, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1919
This image was in an album with other images of Abbotsford which were associated with and therefore dated to a brick laying ceremony in 1928. However, this particular image of the inhalatorium dates earlier, to 1919 when the influenza epidemic was rife in Melbourne. See The Australian newspaper, 15 Feb 1919, p.50.
Photograph, Black & White
Type of item