From A General textbook of nursing, published in 1945.
Preparation of Gloves For Steam Sterilization.
(1) The cuffs are folded back. (2) They are placed in a glove sac. (3) A gauze packet of powder is placed in each glove sac. The gloves are packed in drums in sizes as shown.
This is a tantalizing, and perhaps a little shocking, glimpse into a very different era. We can't most of us imagine a medical setting without rubber gloves, well I can't. But though they were apparently introduced in 1889, the disposable kind didn't arrive until 1964.
I think we've come to take that so for granted, the gloves come out of the box, onto the hands, off the hands and into the rubbish. Hard to imagine having to clean and reuse them. And such a complex process it sounds. I wonder what a ‘glove sac’ was? Obviously a bag of some sort, but what would it be made of? And what would these drums be like? At a guess, the gloves were stored in same after steaming, the powder (talcum I presume) used to assist in donning them.
I read in another book that it was thought preferable to boil them, and from instructions that sounds even more complicated, because the rubber lasted longer than if steamed. I'd give a deal to be able to see… or even share the pictures in these old medical books I collect, so someone could describe them to me. Non-working optical sensors are a real nuisance haha.
Anyway, hoped this might start an interesting discussion.