Infamous Invention From Utica Asylum Wasn’t Meant To Be So Barbaric
Utica is famous for a variety of things, many of which we are very proud of. One invention from the mid-1800s isn't looked at quite as fondly.
Have you heard of a Utica Crib? You see the word crib immediately and think of a baby's crib, think that but for adults. The New York State Lunatic Asylum actually was where this infamous invention got its start. This device grew to massive popularity not only locally, but on a global scale. However, that growth did not happen without some criticism.
Let's explain what the Utica Crib was exactly. Yes, it was a full-size crib for adults, but it also resembles a casket. Imagine a crib for an infant, but then put a barred lid on it. Obviously, that leaves a mental health patient trapped inside. The inventor was Amariah Brigham. He wasn't very keen on chains and much restraint. He was said to instead use moral treatment. A very modern thought for the time. The only problem is, the Utica Crib does not fit that mentality.
The crib was initially created for those that were manic, although, it offered nothing except making patients more insane. Dr. William Hammond who had expertise in mental health was quoted in the New York Herald saying "The Utica Crib is a barbarous torture device that is unsafe and dangerous for lunatics". He also had stated that some even had died while restrained in the device.
By the late 1880s, the Utica Crib had fallen out of favor and was not used after at the New York State Lunatic Asylum. Meant to be revolutionary, and a way to not use chains for restraint, the Utica Crib wasn't intended to be barbaric. However, the original thought for the invention is not its lasting legacy.