Tuesday, March 04, 2014

1864: Seigle and Adams steam powered Inhaler

Figure 1 (1)
The first steam powered inhaler was described in 1862 by Dr. H. Walenburg of Germany.  It was described as "an instrument by means of which he could produce medicated spray in combination with steam and through the motive power of that principle." according to George Beatson in an 1880 article in the Glasgow Medical Journal. (1, page 464)

Walenburg's product must not have garnished much attention, because the next person to improve upon the nebulizer was Dr. Emil Seigle.  On April 22, 1864, he took out a patent on a product he referred to as a "steam spray producer for inhalation." (1, page 464)

The design was "entirely different from that of Seigle's," and whether or not Seigle knew of Walenburg's works is unknown.  Yet what is known is that it was Seigle and not Walenburg who is credited as the producer of the first steam powered mist producing nebulizer.  (1, page 464)

Seigle's Inhaler was a significant improvement in nebulizer design because it was the first nebulizer to create a mist completely on its own, without any manpower.  (1, page 464

Like the Mathieu and Bergson inhalers the Seigle design used the Bernoulli Principle to create a mist.  Yet the older designs required a stream of air to create the mist.  Without electricity, this required manpower.  A flow had to be produced by blowing into a tube, by cranking a peddle, by squeezing a bulb syringe, or by depressing billows.

Dr. Seigle used steam instead of air. This eliminated the requirement of manual effort to create the stream.  From figure 1 we can see that what he "did was connect Bergson's spray tube with a glass boiler, using steam for producing and conveying the spray instead of air."  (1, page 464)

Figure 2 (1)
There apparently were other similar devices for using steam to produce a medicated spray, but these other devices were not as simple in design and ease of use as the Seigle Inhaler.  So Dr. Seigle generally is credited with producing the first self powered, steam powered nebulizer.  (1, page 464)

It was nice because the patient could simply sit it on a table and inhale the mist without much effort.  Dr. Seigle is not necessarily the first to invent a device like the Berson tubes, as a similar device was used for other industries.  Although he was the first to employ the concept for the use of inhalation devices. (?)

The original device as pictured in Figure 1 had many flaws, including the fragile glass boiler, which occasionally overflowed, and "the water flowing over through the stream escape is projected forcibly in the face of the patient... it required much persuasion on the part of the physician, and considerable nerve on the part of the patient, to face Seigle's Patent Inhaler after one or two experiences of this nature." (2, page 218)

The device was updated many times, and ultimately was accepted by the medical community and recommended to some patients who could afford it.  (1, page 465)

Dr. Adams with "Face Protector"  (2)
One of the most significant improvements on the device was made by Dr. Adams in 1868, who improved the boiler system so that it was no longer made of glass.  He introduced his new design in the Glasgow Medical Journal in 1879,  (1, page 465) and retrospects on his new design ten years later in his 1889 article "On an improved apparatus for spray inhalations," (2, page 317)

Future designs of the Seigle inhaler were based on the Adams design.  Overall, these inhalers were nice because "they gave off a steady, uniform stream of spray, warm in character and so fine as to cause little irritation, while being self-acting, they neither fatigued the patient nor required an assistant.  In this way they became extensively used." (1, page 465)

Figure 2 is nice in that it allows you to visualize how the Seigle and Adams inhaler worked by means of the Bernoulli Principle.  You can see how the steam rises, flows through the vertical tube rapidly, and a negative side stream pressure is created that draws medication up from the medicine reservoir.  The example shown is actually the Adams Inhaler, although the same concept was used with the Seigle Inhaler and other similar designs.

The Seigle's inhaler was later improved and re-marketed, or as Dr. Adams wrote "pirated," by Dr. Seigle and re branded as "Dr. Seigle's Patent Steam Spray Inhaler, with Boiler as suggested by Dr. Adams." (1, page 465) (2, page 317)

  1. Beatson, George, "Practical Papers on the Materials of the Antiseptic Method of Treatment," Vol. III, "On Spray Producers," Coats, Joseph, editor, "History of the Origin and Progress of Spray Producers  ", Glasgow Medical Journal, edited for the West of Scotland Medical Association, July to December 1880, Vol. XIV, Alex and Macdougall, pages 461-484
  2. Adams, "On an improved apparatus for spray inhalations," The Retrospect of Medicine," W. Braithwaite, editor, Vol. LXXX, July-Dec., 1879, London, published by Simpkin, Marshall, and Co, pages 317-321 Inhaler

Seigle inhaler 1865 invention british medical journal

Medical gazetteEdward John Bermingham - 1883 -xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


The Throat and Nose, and Their Diseases: With Five Hundred and Fifty ...

 By Lennox Browne, James Cagney, Vitruvius Harold Wyatt Wingrave  5th ed, 1899 (see glossary of photosat beginning of book.  page xviii, and page 1551 improved siegles. inhaler

The Adams Inhaler:  Below are good articles. It's an improvement on the Spiegle inhaler

The Retrospect of medicine: being a half-yearly journal ..., Volume 80, page 319, "ON improved aparatus for spray inhalations," page 317  great pics of bournoulli principle.  by James Adams

REference to his article 10 years earlier:  "medicated inhalations with discription of an improved aparatus for the production of medicated vapours, james adams, 1868 (book not found) By James Adams
Another great article  The Inhalation treatment of diseases of the organs of respiration
 By Arthur Hill Hassall  Many inhalers and oxygen stuff

4.  Dr. Seigle's Inhaler:  "The third form of apparatus is that of Dr. Seigle, and is preferable to the others, for its simplicity and because it is automatic. The best reason for preferring it, however, is, that its price is such as to bring it within the means of any patient, as it is furnished through the druggists for$5,00, and its construction is so simple, that it is readily operated by any one."  The inhaler (or nebulizer) is designed so that steam provides the flow that makes the bournoulli principle work, and in this way the operator doesn't need assistance to create a mist.  The device simply sits on a table and the patient can enjoy the mist, and hopefully relief in breathing.  I describe this nebulizer in more detail here

"The instrument consists of a little kettle, into which is screwed a fine cork perforated with a horizontal tube, in which there is a fine opening. Placed at right angles to the horizontal spou> is a vertical tube, which dips down into a small cup contain i ng the medicated fluid. As the steam issues from the hoc. zontal tube, it causes a vacuum in the vertical tube, and the medicated liquid rising up becomes mechanically incorporated in the steam, and is blown off in the form of a minutely divided spray. The dilution of the medicated liquid which takes place is very slight, as the conversion of a drachm of water into steam will take up three drachms of medicated liquid. The temperature of the steam is lowered by the incorporation of the liquid, so that at the end of the cylinder, it has only a temperature of seventy degrees. The instrument represented in Fig. 5, is manufactured by Mr. Max Wocher of this city.

"In this apparatus there is, of course, no current of cold air.
The amount of liquid taken up varies, that is, it depends on the amount of heat applied, on the height of the column of liquid, etc. This is not an important defect; but when it is desired to take up a definite quantity of liquid, the author uses the following apparatus: A graduated glass tube, about eight inches high, has from its lower part a fine piece of tubing, which is bent round and up again, and then extends about au inch horizontally, and ends with a minute opening. In the vertical portion of the fine tubing, there is a stop-cock. The small apperture of the tube is beut at right angles to the tube from the kettle, and asthe liquid emerges, it becomes incorporated in the steam. By means of the stop-cock, the amount of liquid which passes from the tube can be regulated, so that the same amount can always be taken up at the same time."
I have employed this instrument in every case where inhalations could be used with the least prospect of advantage, and feel justified in recommending it to the profession. There can be no doubt, but that the medicated fluid is carried through all parts of the respiratory tubes. This diffusion is an objection in the treatment of some affections, as we would like to restrict the remedy to the diseased surface. Still as we learn more of the action of medicine upon the body, we will care less about its concentration, and more about selecting the appropriate remedy.

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