This Gamgee tissue pneumonia jacket was designed to help regulate the body temperature of patients with pneumonia, a necessity before the discovery of antibiotics.
Gamgee tissue was invented by Sampson Gamgee as an absorbent wound dressing. The firm cotton wool, sandwiched between two layers of gauze, would allow a wound to be supported and kept dry. It was later applied to a range of dressings and is still available today.
In Birmingham, where Gamgee lived, his name became a shorthand for cotton wool. It was this nickname, and the association with cotton, that inspired the name of Samwise Gamgee’s wife, Rosie Cotton, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel series, The Lord of the Rings.