1914-15 Star, War Medal and Bilingual Victory Medal, 1935 Silver Jubilee Medal, Major Edgar Baber, South African Medical Corps.
Trio all impressed: “2ND C/W.O. E. BABER S.A.M.C.”
Jubilee medal engraved on edge: “CAPT E. BABER. S.A.M.C.”
His great invention was the ‘Baber-Larval-Trap” for dealing with the development of horse-flies in manure and Dr Haydon D.S.O., M.B. wrote: “If Baber’s method were generally adopted it might confidently be expected that the incidence of the intestinal diseases – enteric, the paratyphoid infections, and children’s diarrhoea – would show a very material reduction.
Captain Baber, Sanitation Officer, to the Department of Defence, is to be congratulated on perfecting an economical and safe device for utilising what has often hitherto been regarded as dangerous refuse.”
The Sanitary Record and Journal of Sanitary and Municipal Engineering 1909, states he had passed an examination for Sanitary Inspectors under the Public Health (London) Act of 1891, with the Sanitary Inspectors’ Examination Board with the Royal Sanitary Institute, listing his address at 56 Goldhawk-Road, Shepherd’s Bush, W.
The South African Institution of Mechanical Engineers Journal circa 1925 lists a Patent (216/25) for “A new and improved trap for catching certain insects.”
The book Disease Transmission by Insects: Its Discovery and 90 Years of Effort to Prevent It by James R. Busvine lists a discovery during the war by Baber in relation to Control of Breeding in Horse Manure to prevent Horse Fly Breeding
“A simpler version was described by Lieut E. Baber (1918) stationed at a camp in South Africa in 191. The manure was stacked on hard ground and surrounded by 3.5 inch gutters with concave sides to prevent the maggos climbing out. These were formed of sheet iron from old kerosene tins.”
This was deemed the “Baber Larval Trap” and used by the Army as the “Baber System” or just “Baber’s” being cited in numerous sources by Sanitary Researchers of the 1920s. Reports up to 20-30 years later show the the system is highly effective in reducing intestinal diseases.
His research was published in the British Medical Journal, 1st December 1925 “Fly Control by Means of the Fly-Larval-Trap Manure Enclosure” By Captain E. Baber, Sanitation Officer – Union Defence Force, Royal Army Medical Corps.
The discovery was a marvel at the time and a quote from the Journal reads:
“Finally I should like to quote from a paper, “Some Publish Health Problems as viewed from a South African Standpoint,” By Dr L.G. Haydon, D.S.O., M.B., C.M., D.P.H., read before the sixteenth South African Medical Congress, discussing the subject of the employment of the larval-trap in disposing of animal manure and fermenting of waste matters.
Dr Haydon stated:- I should like to see this inexpensive system of dealing with manure and kitchen refuse inaugurated throughout South Africa – not only in small dorps, but the bigger towns, and on farms where I know that much of the manure is wasted and washed again by rain.
I believe that if we had throughout the country reforms in our methods of dealing with human excreta and fermentable (fly-breeding) refuse on the simple and economical lines indicated, we could very appreciably lessen the incidence of intestinal communicable diseases, and that it would no longer be possible to reproach our health authorities with the speedy death of one child in every ten born.”
Another one of his inventions was published in the British Medical Journal, 1st October 1937 titled “A Portable Steam Disinfector with Improvised Insulation” by Captain E. Baber, Hygiene Officer, South African Medical Corps.
He carried out his various inventions and experiments at the Hygiene Section, S.A.M.C. based out of Roberts Heights, Pretoria.