Hall 5 - BOARD 13

SERBIAN BARREL

At the suggestion of the British military-medical mission led by Colonel Dr. Hunter, a series of draconian measures to combat the epidemics were implemented in Serbia in the spring of 1915. Civilians were forbidden to visit sick relatives, quarantines were made in which all suspected cases were kept, traffic was strictly controlled, and railway wagons were cleaned and disinfected daily. Mass application of disinfection and disinfestation of (depediculation) all the buildings and premises, which were used for public gatherings of citizens (hotels, cafés, restaurants ...) was conducted.

The disinfestation of clothing, underwear and bed linen was of crucial significance for supressing epidemics. The destruction of louse and their eggs was done by a variety of improvised disinfestation devices using hot air and hot steam. At the suggestion of the British physician Dr. Stummers metal barrels were first used, with water at the bottom and the furnace below. In them, that is, in the inner basket which prevented contact with water, clothes were placed. In Kragujevac 100 of these barrels were made and they were, as models, accompanied with guidance for developing, sent across Serbia.

Given that in Serbia there were more wood than metal barrels, the initial model was further modified. Clothing was put into an empty wooden barrel whose bottom was drilled. Hot water vapor from the container to which the barrel was raised was enterning through the holes, and below that a fire was lit. Soon there was a "Serbian barrel" as this device was called, together with one improvised bathroom per every 250 soldiers.

Thanks to these measures, as soon as the end of spring 1915 there were no more new cases of typhus in Serbia.

Serbian barrel - an improvised device for disinfestation

operates on the principle of "Koch's pot" where the water is heated to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and free water vapor flows through the clothes stacked in a barrel destroying louse.