Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Earhart’s First Aid Kits at the Seven Site? Well, Maybe

I was asked recently about whether we have evidence at the Seven Site on Nikumaroro of the first aid equipment carried by Earhart and Noonan aboard the Electra. Here’s what I know.

1.   The inventory taken after the Luke Field mishap that ended Earhart’s first World Flight attempt indicates that the Electra at that time carried two first aid kits:
a.    A “Bauer & Black No. 42” and
b.   A “Tabloid” produced by Burroughs, Wellcome & Co. (See http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Luke_Field.html.)

2.   Bauer & Black No. 42 kits I’ve been able to find on the internet appear to be metal boxes, ca. 30-40 cm. on a side (See http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/bauer-black-airplane-42-first-aid-kit-287930316)

3.   A possibly contemporary (but not Bauer & Black) kit acquired by Arthur Carty is a flat, square thin metal box some 33 cm. on a side (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Metal 1st Aid Box

5.   One “tabloid” box acquired by Art Carty is a rectangular, red-painted wooden box, 18x13.5x7 cm. in size, whose hinged top opens at the center and folds out. It contains bandages, including a tin of Band-Aids (invented in 1920; see http://www.band-aid.com/brand-heritage), tincture of iodine, a tourniquet, gauze, vials of iodine and Aminopylene, solidified Carron Oil for burns and scalds, Castor Oil for the eye, Protective Skin, and “Vaporole” (amyl nitrate, for angina) (Figures 2A&B).

 Figure 2A: "Tabloid" Kit
 Figure 2B: "Tabloid" Kit open. Note snap.

6.   One inside compartment on the “tabloid” box has a cover secured by a snap (Figure 2B).

7.   Next to the “SL” burn feature at the Seven Site, and also adjacent to Clambush 2, we documented a ca. 40x40 cm. rectangular deposit of thin ferrous metal, heavily oxidized and fragmented (Figures 3, 4). This appears to be about the same size as Art’s metal kit, and to represent a similar gauge metal, but it exhibits “bumps” (Figure 5) that I interpret as pins or rivets, which Art’s kit does not display.

Figure 3: Lonnie Schorer works on Clambush 2. Rectangular
ferrous deposit is midway down right side of the clam deposit

Figure 4: Schematic of SL Fire Feature, Clambush, & 
ca. 40. cm. ferrous deposit.

Figure 5: Example of ferrous fragment with "bump" suggesting
a pin or rivet, from unit SL-3

8.   The “WR” burn feature at the Seven Site (Figure 6) contained both halves of a snap (Figure 7) similar to the one on Art’s “tabloid” kit. It produced none of the other metal hardware found on the “tabloid,” however.

Figure 6: Schematic of "WR" Fire Feature


Figure 7: Snap from WR Fire Feature, Top: Male part; bottom: female part. Millimeter scale.

Do the artifacts recorded at the Seven Site represent Earhart’s First Aid Kits? Well, they might, but they might represent innumerable other things too, brought to the site by Earhart or Noonan, the colonists, USCG personnel from the Loran Station, or someone else.