How much heat can the body withstand?

In 1948 Dr. Craig Taylor at the University of California at Los Angeles created a heat chamber to determine the human tolerance for extreme heat. He experimented on himself. In the picture (from the Life archive) you can see him sitting in his hotbox, heated to a pleasant 220° fahrenheit. The egg on the metal pan in front of him was frying. The highest temperature he ever endured was 262°.

There was a practical point to this. He was trying to determine the maximum heat a fighter pilot could withstand, should the refrigeration system in their plane fail.

For more info about Dr. Taylor's heat experiments, check out the old article from Popular Science posted on the Modern Mechanix blog.
     Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 02, 2008
     Category: Science | Experiments | 1940s

Jules and KW have both proven to me that the human body can withstand all kinds of heat, baby!

It can't be good to sit in 220°. How did this guy end up dying?
Posted by Madd Maxx on 12/02/08 at 07:45 AM
Max I nearly died laughing last night! I was watching a rerun of Family Guy and Peter sang a happily little song about how much he loves pancakes. It's your theme song!!!
Posted by Jules in Connecticut on 12/02/08 at 08:17 AM
LOL. I'll have to try and find that.

Is it chilly up there? I bet you wish you could sit in one of these hotboxes.
Posted by Madd Maxx on 12/02/08 at 08:39 AM
I haven't taken by jacket & scarf off yet and my little space heater is cranking. Then again, I get cold when the teperature goes below 70.
Posted by Jules in Connecticut on 12/02/08 at 08:56 AM
I'm thinking this goes a long way toward explaining Dr. Taylor's half-baked ideas.

You folks don't know cold... Up here in northern Wisconsin, the four seasons are June, July, August, and Winter. I had to bring my brass monkey inside last night 😊
Posted by Kenneth on 12/02/08 at 09:09 AM
AussieBruce - I think the Nazis only tested to see if the subject was charcoal or not.
Posted by Madd Maxx on 12/02/08 at 09:11 AM
Jules - I thought of MM too when I saw that!! LOL

Extreme heat - well, I live in Texas, so I'm good up to about 110 or so. After that, I need frozen margaritas to survive. Oh, who am I kidding? I need frozen margaritas to survive myself.
Posted by KW in Dallas, TX on 12/02/08 at 09:13 AM
This photo (and the whole experiment) seems to have been cooked up!

Kenneth, were the balls still on it?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/02/08 at 09:13 AM
I knew it had to be cold up north today. This morning I actually had ice on my windshield. In New Orleans no less!!!
Posted by Madd Maxx on 12/02/08 at 09:13 AM
Expat, still attached. But the little guy was cold!
Posted by Kenneth on 12/02/08 at 09:22 AM
Pfft, unless you're Alaskan, I don't care to hear Americans complaining about the heat. I grew up in Northern Ontario; the coldest temperature I've been outside in (for extended periods (20 minutes)) was -63 degrees celsius! Yes, it was actually walking home from school, though not uphill, kids.
Posted by kingmonkey in Athens, Ontario on 12/02/08 at 12:54 PM
In 1989, when I was graduating from AIT (Advanced Individual Training) at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, it was actually -30 with the wind chill. We had to march several blocks to get to the graduation hall and sarge called out 'cunt caps' for the days headgear. 3 guys had to be brought to the ER for frostbite. My ears have never hurt so much in my life, especially after getting inside and they started to defrost.
Posted by Madd Maxx on 12/02/08 at 12:59 PM
patty - they are also known as 'wedge caps' or 'piss splitters'. It's a garrison cap, or the wedge shaped cap you see servicemen wearing.
Posted by Madd Maxx on 12/02/08 at 04:16 PM
Gary, I think the thing in his mouth is some kind of thermometer that can simultaneously measure the temperature of the air inside and outside his mouth.
Posted by Alex on 12/03/08 at 12:01 AM
OK, Kingmonkey... You have me beat. It's only gotten down to a balmy -40C here.
Posted by Kenneth on 12/03/08 at 07:14 AM
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