Throw me a vintage floating life preserver please. If you find yourself up a creek without a paddle one of these life preservers could come in handy. The official name is a personal flotation device or PFD for short. And of course there is the life jacket, life belt and life vest. But did you know there is also the Mae West.
Vintage Floating Life Preserver
The Mae West was a common nickname for the first inflatable life preserver which was invented by Peter Markus back in 1928. I think you might guess where this story is going. The nickname originated because someone wearing the inflated life preserver often appeared to be as large breasted as the actress Mae West. It was popular during the second World War with members of the US Army Air Forces and the Royal Air Force. They were all issued inflatable Mae Wests as part of their flight gear. It’s also interesting to note that crew members that were saved using a Mae West preserver were eligible for membership in the Goldfish Club. This club was established for people whose lives were saved by using a life jacket or similar device after parachuting or crashing into the water. I think you can also guess how the club got it’s name. The purpose of the club was to keep the spirit of comradeship alive for those that shared the survivor experience. By the end of World War II the club had over 9,000 members. Glad I never had to be a member. That’s a lot of saved lives and a lot of life preservers. Thank you Mr. Markus.