Ferguson Mask

WLMD ID: akhz, akic, akid
In "open drop" anesthesia, liquid anesthetic was dripped onto a piece of cloth stretched over a metal frame; which was placed over the patient's nose and mouth. Dr. Robert H. Ferguson (1857-1945) introduced his mask in 1905. It was made by the E. R. Squibb Company, which also made both ether and chloroform. Like the Yankauer Mask, a retaining ring held the cloth in place, but unlike those of the Yankauer both the frame and the ring were flexible so that they could be molded to fit the patient's face. Dr. Ferguson added a flannel cover, to keep the vapors from escaping.

Catalog Record: Ferguson Mask

Three catalog records: akhz, akic, akid

Access Key: akhz
Accession No.: 117

Title: [Ferguson’s inhaler : for ether, chloroform or ethyl chloride anesthesia / designed by Robert H. Ferguson.]

Author: Ferguson, Robert Henry, 1857-1945.
Corporate Author: E. R. Squibb & Sons.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Ferguson mask.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Ferguson inhaler.

Publisher: [New York] : [E.R. Squibb], [1905-1938].

Physical Descript: 1 oronasal mask : metal, cotton ; 14.5 x 12 x 7 cm.

Subject: Masks, Anesthesia – wire frame.
Subject: Anesthesia, Inhalation – instrumentation.
Subject: Ether, Ethyl.
Subject: Ferguson, Robert Henry, 1857-1945.
Web Link: https://woodlibrarymuseum.org/museum/item/541/ferguson-mask

Note Type: General
Notes: This inhaler was photographed with two other Ferguson Inhalers for the WLM
online museum display. One of these inhalers (Sydney Key akid) is still with
it’s original box. The title for this inhaler was taken from the label on
that box. The early year in the date range (1905) is based on the year that
Dr. Ferguson first described his inhaler. The latter year (1938) is based on
the year it was donated to the WLM and the dates of publications in which the
Ferguson inhaler is mentioned as a device of current use. The date range
could change if documentation indicates the range should be corrected.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Ferguson RH. An inhaler for etherization by the open drop method. JAMA.
December 30, 1905;45(27):2014-2015.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Ferguson RH. Open Ether. New York City: Department of Anaesthetics, E.R.
Squibb & Sons; 1915.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Ferguson RH. The respect due to surgical anesthesia and its significance.
Long Island Med J. 1912;6(7):253-259.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: The importance of surgical anesthesia. Am J Clin Med. 1912;19(9):886-887.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Inhalers for Anaesthesia. Squibb’s Materia Medica. New York: E.R. Squibb &
Sons; 1906:353-354.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: A mask-like inhaler with an inner and outer wire frame; The inner frame looks
a lot like the Esmarch mask; It has a rim that forms a rounded outline for
the mouth and lower nose, and a narrower ‘neck’ for the upper nose; The rim
is approximately 14 cm long and 7.2 cm wide; Four metal bars curve away from
the face to form the convex side of the mask, and act to hold the anesthetic
soaked gauze away from the face; The depth of the mask measures approximately
4.5 cm; The outer portion of the inhaler is formed by a round wire that is
held parallel to the rim, and about 2 cm above the convex portion of the mask
by two stiff but thin wires that extend from the rim; This round wire forms
the most distal potion of the inhaler (from the patient’s point of
reference); It is approximately 12 cm in diameter and is held about 6.8 cm
above the rim; The inhaler wires are bent so that the inhaler is not longer
symmetrical; There are no markings; The inhaler is accompanied by a beige
flannel hood that has an opening at the base, for the handle of the wire ring
that holds layers of gauze over the convex mask portion, and the draw-string
at the top to close the hood over the inhaler. The hood is slightly soiled
and stained; The wire ring is not with this inhaler.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. Steve Donisch on January 16, 2013, with two other
Ferguson masks, Sydney keys akic and akid.

Note Type: Acquisition
Notes: Donated to the WLM by E.R. Squibb in 1938.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: In 1905, Robert H. Ferguson, MD (1857-1945) introduced his “inhaler for
etherization by the open drop method.” “Etherization” was a word for
anesthesia when produced by ether. The open drop method (no longer used in
the United States) involved slowly dripping the anesthetic onto layers of
gauze that were held over the patient’s nose and mouth. Often some kind of
mask held the saturated gauze away from the patient’s skin. During inhalation
as the patient drew in air through the gauze, evaporated ether would be
inhaled as well.

If the gauze was left fully open to air, ether evaporated into the operating
room air as well, affecting the anesthesia and surgical staff, and resulting
in the waste of ether. Often this was minimized by partially wrapping the
covered mask with dry surgical towels so that the gauze had a two inch, or so
opening to the air. Dr. Ferguson’s inhaler provided a skeletal structure for
the external covering, and replaced the towels with a specially made flannel
cover. He reported that his second, or external, chamber provided a space to
hold ether saturated air and better aided the evaporation of the ether by
retaining heat from the patient’s exhaled breath. He also reported that it
better prevented waste because the flannel cover had limited contact with the
gauze and therefore did not absorb the ether.

Dr. Ferguson was a well-known anesthesiologist who practiced first in Boston
and then in New York City. He held memberships and connections in
anesthesiology societies in the US, Canada and the UK. In 1915, he published
a book that detailed his method of administering ether and outlined six
essentials for the successful administration of anesthesia. Dr. Ferguson was
an early advocate for improving the quality and safety of anesthesia care and
in an article published in 1912, he outlined a number of actions he believed
would do so. Other topics on which Dr. Ferguson published papers included his
modification of the Hewitt oral airway, “psychic” factors of anesthesia,
immunity and anesthesia, and the treatment of constipation. Like Dr. Paul
Wood, Ferguson was a collector of text and apparatus important to the history
of anesthesia.

In 1906 a box containing the Ferguson inhaler and four flannel covers could
be obtained from E.R. Squibb & Sons for $2.00.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Ferguson RH. An artificial airway for surgical anesthesia. JAMA. June 14,
1913;60(24):1858-1859.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Ferguson RH. The non-surgical treatment of intestinal stasis and constipation
New York: E.R. Squibb & Sons; 1916.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Ferguson RH. Some psychic factors of surgical anesthesia. Am Yearb Anesth
Analg. 1916;1:152-163.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Ferguson RH. Surgical Anesthesia in its Relation to Immunity. New York: E.R.
Squibb & Sons; 1912.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Chosen for the WLM website (noted July 23, 2013).

Access Key: akic
Accession No.: 178

Title: [Ferguson’s inhaler : for ether, chloroform or ethyl chloride anesthesia / designed by Robert H. Ferguson.]

Author: Ferguson, Robert Henry, 1857-1945.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Ferguson mask.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Ferguson inhaler.

Publisher: [Place of manufacture not indicated] : [Manufacturer not indicated], [1905-1940].

Physical Descript: 1 oronasal mask : metal, cotton ; 15 x 11.5 x 7 cm.

Subject: Masks, Anesthesia – wire frame.
Subject: Anesthesia, Inhalation – instrumentation.
Subject: Ether, Ethyl.
Subject: Ferguson, Robert Henry, 1857-1945.

Note Type: General
Notes: This inhaler was photographed with two other Ferguson Inhalers for the WLM
online museum display. One of these inhalers (Sydney Key akid) is still with
it’s original box. The title for this inhaler was taken from the label on
that box. The early year in the date range (1905) is based on the year that
Dr. Ferguson first described his inhaler. The latter year (1940) is based on
dates of publications in which the Ferguson inhaler is mentioned as a device
of current use. The date range could change if documentation indicates the
range should be corrected.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Ferguson RH. An inhaler for etherization by the open drop method. JAMA.
December 30, 1905;45(27):2014-2015.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Ferguson RH. Open Ether. New York City: Department of Anaesthetics, E.R.
Squibb & Sons; 1915.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Ferguson RH. The respect due to surgical anesthesia and its significance.
Long Island Med J. 1912;6(7):253-259.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: The importance of surgical anesthesia. Am J Clin Med. 1912;19(9):886-887.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Inhalers for Anaesthesia. Squibb’s Materia Medica. New York: E.R. Squibb &
Sons; 1906:353-354.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: A mask-like inhaler with an inner and outer wire frame; The inner frame looks
a lot like the Esmarch mask; It has a rim that forms a rounded outline for
the mouth and lower nose, and a narrower ‘neck’ for the upper nose; The rim
is approximately 13.3 cm long and 7.6 cm wide; Four metal bars curve away
from the face to form the convex side of the mask, and act to hold the
anesthetic soaked gauze away from the face; The depth of the mask measures
approximately 5 cm; The outer portion of the inhaler is formed by a round
wire that is held parallel to the rim, and about 1.8 cm above the convex
portion of the mask, by two stiff but thin wires that extend from the rim;
This round wire forms the most distal potion of the inhaler (from the
patient’s point of reference); It is approximately 12 cm long and 11.5 cm
wide, and is held about 6.8 cm above the rim; The wire framing of the inhaler
is accompanied by 6 layers of gauze cut in a circle that measures
approximately 20 cm in diameter; Also with the inhaler is a beige flannel
hood that has an opening at the base, for the handle of the wire ring that
holds the layers of gauze over the convex mask portion, and the draw-string
at the top to close the hood over the inhaler; The wire ring is approximately
13 cm long and 9 cm wide.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. Steve Donisch on January 16, 2013, with two other
Ferguson masks, Sydney keys akhz and akid.

Note Type: Acquisition
Notes: Donated to the WLM by Dr. Ferguson’s daughter, Ms. Margaret Ferguson;
Donation facilitated by Paul M. Wood, MD, and Archer Corbin Bush MD.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: In 1905, Robert H. Ferguson, MD (1857-1945) introduced his “inhaler for
etherization by the open drop method.” “Etherization” was a word for
anesthesia when produced by ether. The open drop method (no longer used in
the United States) involved slowly dripping the anesthetic onto layers of
gauze that were held over the patient’s nose and mouth. Often some kind of
mask held the saturated gauze away from the patient’s skin. During inhalation
as the patient drew in air through the gauze, evaporated ether would be
inhaled as well.

If the gauze was left fully open to air, ether evaporated into the operating
room air as well, affecting the anesthesia and surgical staff, and resulting
in the waste of ether. Often this was minimized by partially wrapping the
covered mask with dry surgical towels so that the gauze had a two inch, or so
opening to the air. Dr. Ferguson’s inhaler provided a skeletal structure for
the external covering, and replaced the towels with a specially made flannel
cover. He reported that his second, or external, chamber provided a space to
hold ether saturated air and better aided the evaporation of the ether by
retaining heat from the patient’s exhaled breath. He also reported that it
better prevented waste because the flannel cover had limited contact with the
gauze and therefore did not absorb the ether.

Dr. Ferguson was a well-known anesthesiologist who practiced first in Boston
and then in New York City. He held memberships and connections in
anesthesiology societies in the US, Canada and the UK. In 1915, he published
a book that detailed his method of administering ether and outlined six
essentials for the successful administration of anesthesia. Dr. Ferguson was
an early advocate for improving the quality and safety of anesthesia care and
in an article published in 1912, he outlined a number of actions he believed
would do so. Other topics on which Dr. Ferguson published papers included his
modification of the Hewitt oral airway, “psychic” factors of anesthesia,
immunity and anesthesia, and the treatment of constipation. Like Dr. Paul
Wood, Ferguson was a collector of text and apparatus important to the history
of anesthesia.

In 1906 a box containing the Ferguson inhaler and four flannel covers could
be obtained from E.R. Squibb & Sons for $2.00.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Ferguson RH. An artificial airway for surgical anesthesia. JAMA. June 14,
1913;60(24):1858-1859.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Ferguson RH. The non-surgical treatment of intestinal stasis and constipation
New York: E.R. Squibb & Sons; 1916.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Ferguson RH. Some psychic factors of surgical anesthesia. Am Yearb Anesth
Analg. 1916;1:152-163.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Ferguson RH. Surgical Anesthesia in its Relation to Immunity. New York: E.R.
Squibb & Sons; 1912.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Chosen for the WLM website (noted July 23, 2013).

Access Key: akid
Accession No.: 403

Title: Ferguson’s inhaler : for ether, chloroform or ethyl chloride anesthesia / [designed by Robert H. Ferguson.]

Author: Ferguson, Robert Henry, 1857-1945.
Corporate Author: E. R. Squibb & Sons.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Ferguson mask.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Ferguson inhaler.

Publisher: New York : E.R. Squibb & Sons, [1905-1940].

Physical Descript: 1 oronasal mask : metal, cotton ; 19 x 11.5 x 7 cm.

Subject: Masks, Anesthesia – wire frame.
Subject: Anesthesia, Inhalation – instrumentation.
Subject: Ether, Ethyl.
Subject: Ferguson, Robert Henry, 1857-1945.

Note Type: General
Notes: The title was taken from the label on the accompanying box;. The early year
in the date range (1905) is based on the year that Dr. Ferguson first
described his inhaler. The latter year (1940) is based on dates of
publications in which the Ferguson inhaler is mentioned as a device of
current use. The date range could change if documentation indicates the range
should be corrected.

Note Type: With
Notes: Accompanied by the original box; The box has a paper label marked with,
“FERGUSON’S INHALER [new line] For Ether, Chloroform or Ethyl Chloride
Anesthesia [new line] E. R. SQUIBB & SONS [new line] NEW YORK [tab]
BROOKLYN”; The box is made of brown paper-board and is aged, water stained,
smudged and cracking, and measures approximately 8 x 13 x 16.5 cm.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Ferguson RH. An inhaler for etherization by the open drop method. JAMA.
December 30, 1905;45(27):2014-2015.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Ferguson RH. Open Ether. New York City: Department of Anaesthetics, E.R.
Squibb & Sons; 1915.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Ferguson RH. The respect due to surgical anesthesia and its significance.
Long Island Med J. 1912;6(7):253-259.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: The importance of surgical anesthesia. Am J Clin Med. 1912;19(9):886-887.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Inhalers for Anaesthesia. Squibb’s Materia Medica. New York: E.R. Squibb &
Sons; 1906:353-354.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: A mask-like inhaler with an inner and outer wire frame; The inner frame looks
a lot like the Esmarch mask; It has a rim that forms a rounded outline for
the mouth and lower nose, and a narrower ‘neck’ for the upper nose; The rim
is approximately 13.5 cm long and 8 cm wide; Four metal bars curve away from
the face to form the convex side of the mask, and act to hold the anesthetic
soaked gauze away from the face; The depth of the mask measures approximately
5 cm; The outer portion of the inhaler is formed by a round wire that is held
parallel to the rim, and about 1.5 cm above the convex portion of the mask,
by two stiff but thin wires that extend from the rim; This round wire forms
the most distal potion of the inhaler (from the patient’s point of
reference); It is approximately 12 cm long and 11.5 cm wide, and is held
about 6.7 cm above the rim; The wire framing of the inhaler is accompanied by
2 layers of ribbed cotton that measures approximately 15 x 11 cm; Also with
the inhaler is a beige flannel hood that has a 5 cm opening for the top and a
draw-string at the at the base to tightly enclose the inhaler; The wire ring
is approximately 13.5 cm long and 9 cm wide.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. Steve Donisch on January 16, 2013, with two other
Ferguson masks, Sydney keys akhz and akic.

Note Type: Acquisition
Notes: Donated to the WLM by Dr. Ferguson’s daughter, Ms. Margaret Ferguson;
Donation facilitated by Paul M. Wood, MD, and Archer Corbin Bush MD.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: In 1905, Robert H. Ferguson, MD (1857-1945) introduced his “inhaler for
etherization by the open drop method.” “Etherization” was a word for
anesthesia when produced by ether. The open drop method (no longer used in
the United States) involved slowly dripping the anesthetic onto layers of
gauze that were held over the patient’s nose and mouth. Often some kind of
mask held the saturated gauze away from the patient’s skin. During inhalation
as the patient drew in air through the gauze, evaporated ether would be
inhaled as well.

If the gauze was left fully open to air, ether evaporated into the operating
room air as well, affecting the anesthesia and surgical staff, and resulting
in the waste of ether. Often this was minimized by partially wrapping the
covered mask with dry surgical towels so that the gauze had a two inch, or so
opening to the air. Dr. Ferguson’s inhaler provided a skeletal structure for
the external covering, and replaced the towels with a specially made flannel
cover. He reported that his second, or external, chamber provided a space to
hold ether saturated air and better aided the evaporation of the ether by
retaining heat from the patient’s exhaled breath. He also reported that it
better prevented waste because the flannel cover had limited contact with the
gauze and therefore did not absorb the ether.

Dr. Ferguson was a well-known anesthesiologist who practiced first in Boston
and then in New York City. He held memberships and connections in
anesthesiology societies in the US, Canada and the UK. In 1915, he published
a book that detailed his method of administering ether and outlined six
essentials for the successful administration of anesthesia. Dr. Ferguson was
an early advocate for improving the quality and safety of anesthesia care and
in an article published in 1912, he outlined a number of actions he believed
would do so. Other topics on which Dr. Ferguson published papers included his
modification of the Hewitt oral airway, “psychic” factors of anesthesia,
immunity and anesthesia, and the treatment of constipation. Like Dr. Paul
Wood, Ferguson was a collector of text and apparatus important to the history
of anesthesia.

In 1906 a box containing the Ferguson inhaler and four flannel covers could
be obtained from E.R. Squibb & Sons for $2.00.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Ferguson RH. An artificial airway for surgical anesthesia. JAMA. June 14,
1913;60(24):1858-1859.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Ferguson RH. The non-surgical treatment of intestinal stasis and constipation
New York: E.R. Squibb & Sons; 1916.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Ferguson RH. Some psychic factors of surgical anesthesia. Am Yearb Anesth
Analg. 1916;1:152-163.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Ferguson RH. Surgical Anesthesia in its Relation to Immunity. New York: E.R.
Squibb & Sons; 1912.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Chosen for the WLM website (noted July 23, 2013).