Atom bomb survival suit patent from 1958


This atomic bomb survival suit looks like something Chris Ware would have in one of his comic books.

John Ptak says:

Is there anything more revolting than this solitary, encapsulated,  iron maidenesque survival sarcophagus and its promised hope of survivability? 

Perhaps not.  This patent application for an individual survival suit from 1958 gives us something to think about, perhaps gives us the cause to imagine what the world would look like from the inside of that portable evacuation chamber (that had its own attache case for storage).

Questionable Quidity: the Preservation of Decay--Atomic Bomb Suits



    1. Damn you, Gutierrez!

      /Came here to say: “It protects you from atomic blasts, but you look like a fridge.”

      //wanders off, mumbles “‘portable evacuation chamber’..there’s a joke there somewhere.”

  1. There’s no way that silly little shield would do anything to help anybody survive a nuclear blast. At the very most, it might help preserve enough soft tissue to identify the body.

    That said, I still don’t find it revolting. It’s just goofy, and it illustrates how naive people were about these matters back in the 50’s and 60’s.

  2. Is there anything more revolting than this solitary, encapsulated, iron maidenesque survival sarcophagus and its promised hope of survivability?


  3. This reminds me of the suits in “This is the Way the World Will End” by James Morrow.

  4. Every third house where I live has a civil defence shelter in the basement, most city areas built ca 1940 to 1990 has shelters for all who live there. Its almost the only part of the Swedish cold war civil defence system that still is being maintained.

    The fabric protection suit do seem to be a viable design for protection against flash burn, a weapons effect that cover a much larger area then prompt lethal radiation and overpreassure.

    1. Indeed, this should work fine if you’re in the (rather large) area where the heat flash is the most immediate danger. Much like how duck & cover would probably have saved thousands upon thousands of people – there’s a large zone where being behind cover is the difference between death vs. being alive and (physically) unharmed. Besides, if the shockwave brings down the building, being under a desk helps; same idea as for earthquakes.

  5. As someone who spent a significant portion of first grade under my desk, honing my duck and cover skilz during the Cuban Missile Crisis . . . I’d prefer the desk.

    I wonder how well you would need to hold onto a wall to get a good seal, as the suit seems to depend on placement for maximum value? Perhaps a tube of quick setting caulk would be a helpful inclusion in the attache case.

    Wouldn’t it be charming, after a big blast, to see thousands of these suits clinging to walls like so many chitons or barnacles?

    1. You just summed up perfectly what i was going to say.
      They very like unto a sad mechanical barnacles.

      all i can add is, if I had one, the first thing i’d do would be to have sex inside it.

      and try not to fart.

  6. “Is there anything more revolting than this solitary, encapsulated, iron maidenesque survival sarcophagus and its promised hope of survivability?”

    Yes, as soon as you invoke Rule 34 on it.

  7. What you would do is lay down on your stomach so that everything is protected. Then you crawl or squirm until you’re out of the radiation zone.

  8. I was 11 years old in 1958, so this is actually not the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. But I still think it makes the top ten.


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