Airsickness, which a form of motion sickness, is the bane of any traveler and a logistical nightmare for the onboard service personnel. The end result for those people suffering from airsickness is the urge to vomit. In order to minimize the mess created, facilitate hassle-free desposal and eleviate the gangway congestion the infamous airsickness bag was created. The bag is occasionally and affectionately referred to as a “barf bag”. In 1949 Gilmore Schjeldahl redesigned the airsickness bag for Northwest Orient Airlines. His bag departed from the earlier versions, which were constructed of wax or cardboard paper, by lining the inside of the bag with plastic.
The Greek philosopher, physician and founder of western medicine, Hippocrates 460-370 BCE, expounded in his humor theory that a person can be "...rebalanced by bloodletting, blistering, purging by vomiting or anal purgatives, or other potions that would cleanse the body."
The Roman physician, Galen 131–200 AD, refined the 4 temperaments theory of Hippocrates. Galen envisioned vomit as a diagnostic tool for curing mental illnesses which were seen as fluid imbalances. These four temperaments were classified as choleric, melancholic, sanguine, and phlegmatic and corresponded to the bodily fluids bile, black bile, blood and phlegm respectively. Different ratio combinations of these fluids produced as many unique personalities and personality traits. If a physician, following the four temperaments dictum, judged a aberration in a patients fluid balance, he would then recommend a cure which entailed vomiting. In other words, by the act of vomiting the physician was capable of tweaking the ratios of body fluids and thusly, stave off or cure mental illnesses.
It might be argued that the Classical Civilizations acquired their conceptual knowledge from the older civilizations surrounding them through cultural and technological diffusion. It is held that Ancient Egyptians anthropomorphized the body as a series of waterways and canals. Logic dictates that canals and waterways are prone to become occluded and it wasn't a quantum leap of thought to attribute that to the human body. Egyptian physicians reasoned that inducing vomiting might unblock the canal and cure the illness.