The first medical incubators were used around 1857 for infants in France, according to MedicineNet. Edith Eleanor McLean, who weighed 2 pounds 7 ounces at birth, was the first to use an incubator in America, on Sept. 7, 1888. Dr. William Champion Deming built the equipment, called the hatching cradle.
Dr, Deming built the incubator at the State Emigrant Hospital on Ward's Island, New York, notes MedicineNet. In 1901, an exhibit of premature infants in incubators made of metal and glass was part of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, reports The State University of New York University at Buffalo. After the exhibit, the Children's Hospital of Buffalo purchased the incubators.