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Artificial Incubation

The Perfect Hatcher

Artificial incubation of poultry eggs was practiced in Egypt as long as 4,000 years ago. Brick incubation houses were heated with fire chambers, and the developing eggs were cared for and turned by live-in attendants. Similar systems were used in China.

Brindley's Incubator

In 1750, the extraordinary French scientist René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur published a treatise on artificial incubation, translated into English as The Art of Hatching and Bringing up domestic Fowls of All Kinds, at Any Time of the year. Either by Means of Hotbeds or That of Common Fire. De Reaumur invented the alcohol thermometer, and experimented with its use in incubators.

Thermostatic Incubator
The Smith Incubator

At the end of the nineteenth century, the invention of a thermostat capable of precise regulation of temperature allowed the development of modern incubators. In the United States in 1885, there were seven different brands of small 'still air' cabinet incubators for sale. By 1915, more than 50 different types of incubators were advertised; generally small machines, with capacities of fewer than 200 eggs. Thousands upon thousands of these incubators were sold.