Tuesday, September 17, 2013

1778: The Mudge Patented Pewter Inhaler

In 1778 Dr. John Mudge introduced to the world the first mass producible inhaler.  He described it in his 1778 bo0k, "A Radical and Expeditious Cure for A Catarrhous Cough." Please refer to figure #3 as this one is the one in the book that Mudge is referring to.

The Mudge Inhaler with mouthpiece missing (figure 1)
Figure ITHE Inhaler, as it appears when fitted for use; except that the Grating (a), which then ought to cover the hole, is now turned back, to shew the opening into the Valve.

Figure II:  Section of the Cover; in which is shewn the construction of the Cork Valve (b)% and also the conical part (c), into which the flexible Tube (d) is fixed.

 Section of the Cover; in which is shewn the construction of the Cork Valve (b)% and also the conical part (c), into which the flexible Tube (d) is fixed.
When the Inhaler, which holds about pint, after being three parts filled with hot water, Is fixed at the arm-pit under the bedcloaths, the end of the Tube (e) is to be applied to the mouth; the air, in the act of inspiration, inspiration, then rushes into the Apertures (f), and passing through the hollow handle, and afterwards into hole in the lower part where it is soldered to the body, and therefore cannot be represented, it rises through the hot water, and is received into the lungs,. impregnated with vapour. In expiration, the contents of the lungs are discharged upon the surface of the water; and instead of forcing the water back through the hollow handle, the air escapes by lifting the round light Cork. Valve (b)J so as to settle upon the surface of the body, under the bed-cloaths. 
Plate from Mudge's book (figure 2)
Thus the whole act of respiration is performed, without ever removing the instrument from the mouth.
The flexible part of the Tube (d) is about fix inches long, fitted with wooden mouthpiece (e) at one end, and a part (g) of the fame materials at the other, to be received into the Cone (c) on the cover. This flexible tube is made by winding long slip of silk oil-(kin oil'skin over spiral brass wire. This should be then covered with one of the fame size, of thin silk, and both be secured by strong sewing silk wound spirally round them. Some length and degree of flexibility is necessary to this tube, for the fake of convenient accommodation to the mouth when the head is laid on the pillow

Care should be taken by the workman, that the cover should be made so as to fit very exactly; or, if k does not do so, the defect should be remedied by winding piece of cotton wick, or some such contrivance, round the rim underneath the cover, so as to make it airtight. The Cork, likewise, which forms the Valve, should be made, for the above reason, as round as possible. It is also necessary to remark, that the area of the holes, on the upper part of the handle, taken together; the size of the hole in the lower part of the handle, which opens into the Inhaler; the opening of the conical Valve itself; and that in the mouthpiece, as well as the cavity or inside of the flexible Tube, should be all equally large, and of such dimensions, as to equal the size of both nostrils taken together: in short, they should be, severally, so large, as not only not to obstruct each other, but that respiration may be performed through them with no more labour than is exerted in ordinary breathing.
   It is necessary to observe, that care should be taken, when the Inhaler is in use, that the ingress and egress of the air through the holes on the top of the handle, and those in the grating on the cover, should not be interrupted by the bed-cloaths.
Indications:  Dr. Mudge recommended the inhaler for catarrhous cough.  

Medications:  Opium, Benzoil, Camphor, other

Purchase:  The inhalers are to be purchased of fW. Barnes  Pewterer, No. 157, Fleet-Street, by particular Appointment of the Author.  

A sample of a 19th century version of Mudge's Inhaler (It is rare to find one with an intact mouthpiece)(figure 3)

  1. Mudge, John, "A radical and expeditious cure for a recent catarrhous cough: preceded by some observations on respiration with occasional and practical remarks on some other diseases of the lungs," 2nd edition, 1779 (original edition was in 1778), London, printed by E. Allen, Fleet Street, from the opening pages of the book.  

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