Main content

Life Under Glass

Claire Prentice tracks down some of the premature babies, now in their 70s, 80s and 90s, who owe their lives to the doctor who put them on show at the Coney Island amusement park.

At Coney Island amusement park between 1903 and 1943 there was an extraordinary exhibit: tiny, premature babies. 'Dr. Martin Couney's infant incubator' facility was staffed by nurses in starched white uniforms and if you paid a quarter, you could see the babies in their incubators.

Journalist Claire Prentice has been following the story and tracked down some of those babies, now in their 70s, 80s and 90s, who were put on show. She discovers how Dr. Couney brought the incubator to prominence in the USA through World's Fairs and amusement parks, and explores how a man who was shunned by the medical establishment changed attitudes to premature babies and saved countless lives.

(This programme was produced in Scotland by Mark Rickards and first broadcast on BBC Radio 4.).

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Sun 22 Jan 2017 06:00


  • Tue 24 May 2016 11:00
  • Mon 30 May 2016 21:00
  • Wed 31 Aug 2016 13:30
  • Sun 4 Sep 2016 06:00
  • Sun 22 Jan 2017 06:00

Featured in...



Discover more seriously interesting radio documentaries.