Chevalier Jackson was one of the greatest pioneers of otolaryngology. He was a pioneer of oesophagoscopy, bronchoscopy and the removal of foreign bodies. He changed the mortality rate for an airway foreign body from 98 per cent to a survival rate of 98 per cent. He became distressed by the number of preventable injuries in children from the ingestion of caustic substances, most commonly household lye. His experiences of children with oesophageal stricturing secondary to caustic ingestion moved him to start a campaign to force manufacturers to label all poisonous substances as such. This took him from the American Senate to the House of Representatives and back again; the Federal Caustic Poisons Act (1927) is still enforced today. In a career with over 400 publications, written during exacerbations of his pulmonary tuberculosis, his life story is a remarkable one, only part of which is widely known.