Wilbur Franks

Wilbur Rounding Franks, medical researcher, inventor of the "G suit" (b at Weston, Ont 4 Mar 1901; d at Toronto 4 Jan 1986). After graduating in medicine at the University of Toronto, Franks trained in cancer research

Anti-Gravity Suit
The Anti-G suit is adjusted by its designer W.R. Franks (centre) (courtesy Dept of National Defence).\n

Franks, Wilbur Rounding

Wilbur Rounding Franks, medical researcher, inventor of the "G suit" (b at Weston, Ont 4 Mar 1901; d at Toronto 4 Jan 1986). After graduating in medicine at the University of Toronto, Franks trained in cancer research under F.W. BANTING and took charge of wartime RCAF medical research after Banting's death. He invented the pressure suit, which allows pilots to carry out high-speed manoeuvres without losing consciousness, used by Allied fighter pilots from 1942 onwards. Astronauts' pressure suits today are mere refinements of Franks's design. For this project, he built in wartime the first Canadian human centrifuge. Franks's wartime laboratory became the RCAF Institute of Aviation Medicine, which became the Defence and Civil Institute of Environment Medicine, Toronto, and is now Defence Research and Development Canada.