Sun Lamps

In the winter of 1918, it was estimated that half of the children in Berlin were suffering from rickets- a disease where bones become soft and deformed. At the time, the cause was not known, although it was related to poverty.

    A doctor in named Kurt Huldschinsky  noticed that his patients were very pale. He decided to conduct an experiment on four of them, including one known today only as Arthur, who was three years old. He put the four of them under mercury-quartz lamps which emitted ultraviolet light. 

    As the treatment continued, Huldschinsky noticed that the bones of his patients were gettin
g stronger. In May 1919, when the sun of summer arrived, he had them sit  in the sun. The results of his experiment, when published, were greeted with great enthusiasm. Children around Germany were brought before the lights. In Dresden, the child welfare services had the city's street lights dismantled to be used for treating children.

    Researchers later found that Vitamin D is necessary to build up the bones with calcium and this process is triggered by ultraviolet light. The undernourishment brought on by war produced the knowledge to cure the ailment.