Although Radiohead used the Iron Lung as a metaphor for how something can both keep you alive and be highly restrictive I'm not sure how many people today have heard of them or are aware of just how widespread they once were (I mean Iron lungs, not Radiohead). Fortunately the Iron Lung exhibit at the University of Virginia will tell you virtually everything you need to know. Don't miss the designs to build your own!
The demise of the iron lung is due to both the decline of polio and also the use positive pressure ventilation using endotracheal tubes.
Although the iron lung now appears almost medieval in appearance it is important to note that for long term use (that polio patients with paralysis would require) the iron lung leaves you able to talk, eat and drink normally which is not the case with tracheal intubation. (Not to mention that intubation is an invasive procedure with associated risks of nosocomial infection).