The five-story steel tank, 64 feet in diameter, according to The Cleveland Press, was built beside Lake Erie where a Hospice of the Western Reserve facility is today. Recreation rooms, sleeping quarters for 40 and a series of air locks were housed inside.
The facility's operating theory, proposed by Timken's physician O. J. Cunningham, was that anaerobic bacteria — which cannot live in the presence of oxygen — caused diabetes. Atmospheric pressure was increased inside the tank, ostensibly to force extra oxygen into the occupant's blood. More oxygen, fewer bacteria, no diabetes.
It was quackery. Cunningham never bothered to prove his theory, even as he treated patients with nothing but hot air.
"Under the circumstances, is it to be wondered at if the medical profession looks askance at the 'tank treatment' and intimates that it seems tinctured much more strongly with economics than with scientific medicine?" criticized the May 5, 1928, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The tank did come to some use. In 1942, it was dismantled, resulting in 1,000 tons of scrap metal for the war effort.