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Conrad Jobst: Great Inventor and Stocking Maker

Conrad Jobst: Great Inventor and Stocking Maker Most dermatologists have some familiarity with Jobst stockings as a mainstay of therapy of chronic venous insufficiency, but how many of us know anything about the man who invented them? Conrad Jobst (1889-1957) was a German tool and die maker, not a university-trained engineer, who showed a very early aptitude for machine design. He immigrated to the United States in 1911 and by 1913 was chief engineer for Ames-Bonner Brush Company in Toledo, Ohio. Here he helped revolutionize an item everyone uses daily—the toothbrush. Up until this point, toothbrushes were hand-made, often with bone handles and pig bristles. Jobst used newly developed celluloid for the entire product and designed machines to shape and bore the handle as well as automatically insert the many rows of uniform artificial bristles. The modern toothbrush was born. Jobst would have no trouble recognizing today’s toothbrushes or the machines used to make them.1 He also manufactured the first retractable hardtop convertible, modifying a 1933 Auburn cabriolet by incorporating a 4-piece retractable chrome-plated hardtop. His prototype plans were patented. Peugeot produced the 402B retractable hardtop in 1938, while the first American car to incorporate such technology was the 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner. Jobst suffered from varicose veins and had all the problems of chronic venous insufficiency, including stasis dermatitis and venous ulcers. He noticed that when he stood in his swimming pool, he obtained almost immediate pain relief. After consulting with physicians at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan,2 and physiologists at the Wright Patterson Aeromedical Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, he applied his engineer's ingenuity to create a product that helped him and perhaps millions of other patients with similar problems. He reasoned that the continuous and gradual decrease in pressure from the foot up the leg that one experiences in a pool was the most effective way to replace or support defective venous valve function. Using a variety of new elastic fabrics, careful measurements, and special machines, he came up with the Jobst Venous Pressure Gradient stocking (Figure). Initial studies suggested that a pressure of 40 to 50 mm Hg at the ankle gradually decreasing proximally was the ideal substitute for natural venous function and was associated with best clinical responses. Careful, customized measurement of each leg was required so the stocking could be individually designed and produced to create a uniform pressure gradient no matter what the shape of the limb. Jobst insisted that each patient be referred via prescription by a physician.3 Figure. View LargeDownload Two Sketches From Conrad Jobst’s Patent Application No. 2 574 873 The sketch on the left Illustrates the method of measuring to fit an individual surgical stocking. The sketch on the right shows a blank cut from elastic fiber. When sown together, there will be a gradual pressure gradient decreasing from ankle to calf as relatively more fabric becomes available. The same techniques are still in use. Figure courtesy of the US Patent and Trademark Office. Pressure gradient stockings, pioneered by Conrad Jobst, were an important advance in the treatment of vascular disease and continue to help patients suffering from venous insufficiency often accompanied by cutaneous complications. Back to top Article Information Corresponding Author: Leonard J. Hoenig, MD, 601 N Flamingo Rd, No. 201, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028 (gooddocljh@gmail.com). Additional Contributions: We thank Jennifer E. Smith, BSEE, Albuquerque, New Mexico, great-granddaughter of Conrad Jobst, for reviewing the manuscript. She was not reimbursed for her contribution. References 1. Schad F. Conrad Jobst, M.E. Columbus, OH: Media Words & Pictures; 1979. 2. Szilagyi DE. Comment on “Treatment of venous disease: the innovators.” J Vasc Surg. 1995;22(3):343-344.PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref 3. DeWeese JA. Treatment of venous disease: the innovators. J Vasc Surg. 1994;20(5):675-683.PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png JAMA Dermatology American Medical Association

Conrad Jobst: Great Inventor and Stocking Maker

Conrad Jobst: Great Inventor and Stocking Maker

Abstract

Most dermatologists have some familiarity with Jobst stockings as a mainstay of therapy of chronic venous insufficiency, but how many of us know anything about the man who invented them? Conrad Jobst (1889-1957) was a German tool and die maker, not a university-trained engineer, who showed a very early aptitude for machine design. He immigrated to the United States in 1911 and by 1913 was chief engineer for Ames-Bonner Brush Company in Toledo, Ohio. Here he helped revolutionize an item...
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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
2168-6068
eISSN
2168-6084
DOI
10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.3905
pmid
26559346
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Most dermatologists have some familiarity with Jobst stockings as a mainstay of therapy of chronic venous insufficiency, but how many of us know anything about the man who invented them? Conrad Jobst (1889-1957) was a German tool and die maker, not a university-trained engineer, who showed a very early aptitude for machine design. He immigrated to the United States in 1911 and by 1913 was chief engineer for Ames-Bonner Brush Company in Toledo, Ohio. Here he helped revolutionize an item everyone uses daily—the toothbrush. Up until this point, toothbrushes were hand-made, often with bone handles and pig bristles. Jobst used newly developed celluloid for the entire product and designed machines to shape and bore the handle as well as automatically insert the many rows of uniform artificial bristles. The modern toothbrush was born. Jobst would have no trouble recognizing today’s toothbrushes or the machines used to make them.1 He also manufactured the first retractable hardtop convertible, modifying a 1933 Auburn cabriolet by incorporating a 4-piece retractable chrome-plated hardtop. His prototype plans were patented. Peugeot produced the 402B retractable hardtop in 1938, while the first American car to incorporate such technology was the 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner. Jobst suffered from varicose veins and had all the problems of chronic venous insufficiency, including stasis dermatitis and venous ulcers. He noticed that when he stood in his swimming pool, he obtained almost immediate pain relief. After consulting with physicians at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan,2 and physiologists at the Wright Patterson Aeromedical Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, he applied his engineer's ingenuity to create a product that helped him and perhaps millions of other patients with similar problems. He reasoned that the continuous and gradual decrease in pressure from the foot up the leg that one experiences in a pool was the most effective way to replace or support defective venous valve function. Using a variety of new elastic fabrics, careful measurements, and special machines, he came up with the Jobst Venous Pressure Gradient stocking (Figure). Initial studies suggested that a pressure of 40 to 50 mm Hg at the ankle gradually decreasing proximally was the ideal substitute for natural venous function and was associated with best clinical responses. Careful, customized measurement of each leg was required so the stocking could be individually designed and produced to create a uniform pressure gradient no matter what the shape of the limb. Jobst insisted that each patient be referred via prescription by a physician.3 Figure. View LargeDownload Two Sketches From Conrad Jobst’s Patent Application No. 2 574 873 The sketch on the left Illustrates the method of measuring to fit an individual surgical stocking. The sketch on the right shows a blank cut from elastic fiber. When sown together, there will be a gradual pressure gradient decreasing from ankle to calf as relatively more fabric becomes available. The same techniques are still in use. Figure courtesy of the US Patent and Trademark Office. Pressure gradient stockings, pioneered by Conrad Jobst, were an important advance in the treatment of vascular disease and continue to help patients suffering from venous insufficiency often accompanied by cutaneous complications. Back to top Article Information Corresponding Author: Leonard J. Hoenig, MD, 601 N Flamingo Rd, No. 201, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028 (gooddocljh@gmail.com). Additional Contributions: We thank Jennifer E. Smith, BSEE, Albuquerque, New Mexico, great-granddaughter of Conrad Jobst, for reviewing the manuscript. She was not reimbursed for her contribution. References 1. Schad F. Conrad Jobst, M.E. Columbus, OH: Media Words & Pictures; 1979. 2. Szilagyi DE. Comment on “Treatment of venous disease: the innovators.” J Vasc Surg. 1995;22(3):343-344.PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref 3. DeWeese JA. Treatment of venous disease: the innovators. J Vasc Surg. 1994;20(5):675-683.PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref

Journal

JAMA DermatologyAmerican Medical Association

Published: Nov 1, 2015

References