Museum treasures: Robinson & Sons Gamgee tissue pneumonia jacket, 1940–1953

A chest covering made of Gamgee tissue wound dressing.
Gamgee tissue was invented by Sampson Gamgee as an absorbent wound dressing

RPS Museum

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.

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2021, Vol 306, No 7949;306(7949)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.83951