Allis Aseptic Inhaler

WLMD ID: akds
Surgeon Oscar H. Allis (1836-1921) known by many for the development of a method to reconnect two pieces of intestine, also developed a number of medical instruments, including an ether inhaler. In 1874 Dr. Allis described the inhaler and his method for using it. He explained that almost three yards of two and a half inch wide bandage was needed to thread all of the slots in the inhaler with gauze. Dr. Allis also outlined the reasons for his design and its advantages over other methods, emphasizing that the many separated layers of gauze significantly increased the surface area from which ether could evaporate, resulting in more rapid induction of anesthesia. His design was very popular in the late 1800s through the early 1900s and could be obtained from a number of manufacturers as late as the 1930s.

Catalog Record: Allis Inhaler Allis Inhaler

Access Key: akds

Accession No.: 2012-11-21-3

Title: Allis’s antiseptic ether inhaler / [designed by Oscar H. Allis].

Author: Allis, Oscar H. (Huntington), 1836-1921.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Boekel’s Allis’s antiseptic ether inhaler.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Allis’ ether inhaler.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Allis ether inhaler.

Publisher: [Philadelphia, PA] : Boekel, [1890-1940].

Physical Description: 1 inhaler : metal, gauze ; 12 x 7 x 13 cm.

Subject: Inhalers, Anesthesia.
Subject: Anesthesia, Inhalation – instrumentation.
Subject: Ether, Ethyl.

Web Link: http://woodlibrarymuseum.org/museum/item/608/allis-inhaler

Note Type: General
Notes: Title taken from accompanying container. Alternate titles taken from publications that refer to Allis Ether inhaler.

Note Type: With
Notes: With a paperboard or cardboard box; The exterior of the box is well worn, with some chipping and stains; The box, with telescoping lid in place, measures approx. 13.5 x 9 x 13 cm (height x width x depth); The manufacturer’s label is on the front of the base of the box; It includes an image of the inhaler and the metal flange used to thread the gauze into the inhaler; Text printed on the label includes “BOEKEL’S” above the images, and below the images is “ALLIS’S [new line] Antiseptic Ether Inhaler”.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Allis OH. Intestinal anastomosis with suturing of the entire thickness of the intestinal wall: methods and instruments. Am J Obstet Dis Women Child. January, 1902;45(1):60-66

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Allis OH. Original communications: some remarks upon the relative strength of chloroform and ether, with hints upon their use as anaesthetics. Phil Med Times. December 5, 1874;5(10)(No. 162):145.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Beatson G. On the administration of chloroform. Glasgow Med J. January, 1885;23(1):1-5.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Da Costa JC. Anesthesia and anesthetics. Modern Surgery: General and Operative. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co.; ©1919, 1920:1337-1339.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: A metal inhaler, possibly nickel plated, comprised of two pieces; The inner piece is a cylindrical skeleton or framework, with an ovoid or teardrop shape when viewed from the proximal end (or front); There are 23 thin slots on each side of the ovoid cylinder (referred to as ‘inner frame’ from here forward); The slots run from the front to the back of the inner frame; A long piece of gauze is woven back and forth through the slots in the sides of the frame, resulting in 23 parallel sheets of gauze suspended a few mm apart; The inner frame, measures approx. 11 cm in height, and in width, 3 cm near the top and 6.2 cm near the bottom; The inner frame measures approx. 8.2 cm in depth; It fits into a larger metal cylinder of the same ovoid shape; The proximal end of the outer piece, or external cover, is anatomically shaped to accommodate the nose and mouth; Inside the external cover a raised groove runs its circumference, approx. 3 cm from the proximal end; This groove prevents the internal frame from coming in contact with the patient’s skin; The only marking on the metal cover is a capital letter, “B”.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. Steve Donisch on January 17, 2013.

Note Type: Acquisition
Notes: Donated to the WLM by George S. Bause, MD, the Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology Honorary Curator.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: Surgeon Oscar H. Allis, MD, well known by many for the development of a method to reconnect two pieces of intestine, also developed a number of medical instruments including an ether inhaler. In the December 5, 1874 issue of the Philadelphia Medical Times, Dr. Allis described the inhaler and his method for using it. He explained that almost three yards of two and a half inch wide bandage was needed to thread all of the slots in the inhaler with gauze. Dr. Allis also outlined the reasons for his design and its advantages over other methods, emphasizing that the many separated layers of gauze significantly increased the surface area from which ether could evaporate, resulting in more rapid induction of anesthesia. His design was very popular in the late 1800s through the early 1900s and could be obtained from a number of manufacturers as late as the 1930s.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Allis OH. Hints upon the use of anaesthetics. Dental Cosmos. February, 1875;17(2):106-108.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Powell JL. Powell’s pearls: Oscar Huntington Allis, MD (1836-1921). J Pelvic Med Surg. 2009;15(6):477-478.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Turnbull L. Chapter vii. The Advantages and Accidents of Artificial Anaesthesia: A Manual of Anaesthetic Agents, and Their Employment in the Treatment of Disease. Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston; 1879:236-248.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Selected for the WLM website.