Gwathmey Folding Mask

WLMD ID: aijz

Dr. James Tayloe Gwathmey (1863-1944) was a leader in making anesthesiology a highly respected medical specialty.  He is best known for writing the first comprehensive American textbook of anesthesia, in 1914.  He also invented a range of anesthesia equipment.  In 1904, he introduced this mask as one part of a resuscitation apparatus.  Gwathmey modified the Esmarch Mask to better fit the contours of the face, and added a tubular rim that is pierced with holes.  This can be used to deliver resuscitating oxygen, or a combination of oxygen and anesthetics.  When connected to the mask by a hose, these gases flowed through the holes in the rim to be inhaled by the patient.  The same concept was further modified a decade later in the Yankauer-Gwathmey Mask.

Catalog Record: Gwathmey Mask

Access Key: aijz
Accession No.: 2011-03-08-1

Title: [Gwathmey folding vapor mask / designed by James T. Gwathmey.]

Author: Gwathmey, James Tayloe, 1862-1944.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Gwathmey mask for vapor inhalation.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Gwathmey vapor mask, folding.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Gwathmeyís mask for vapor inhalation.

Publisher: [Roslyn Heights, N.Y. : Foregger Company Inc., ca. 1913-1924.]

Physical Description: 1 oronasal mask : nickel plated copper alloy ; 16 x 8 x 5 cm.

Subject: Masks, Anesthesia – wire frame.
Subject: Ether, Ethyl.
Subject: Anesthesia, Inhalation.

Note Type: General
Notes: Title from the WLM name for the artifact.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Gwathmey JT. The vapor method of anesthesia. Nashv J Med Surg.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Gwathmey JT. Anesthesia. New York: D. Appleton and Co.; 1914: 224.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: A wire-framed, oronasal mask with hinged, gauze-holding, wire collar; The rim
is hollow, or tubular metal; Along the inner-upper side of the rim are
regularly spaced holes; The shape of the rim resembles a tear-drop but with
some additional curves to better accommodate the face; Two thin bars are
crossed to form a guard for the nose and mouth; One bar runs laterally
through the middle, and the other runs horizontally through the middle; Both
curve away from the face; A single, molded wire loop is hinged to the frame
and acts as a collar for holding the gauze cover (or other material) in
place; At the nasal and oral ends of the rim are entrance and exit ports for
anesthetic vapor and/or oxygen.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. William Lyle, 7/14/2010.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: This mask is not to be confused with the popular Yankauer-Gwathmey Drop and
Vapor mask. In a 1904 paper Dr. Gwathmey, in describing his inhaler, he also
describes what is possibly an early version of this mask: “Ö the mask, an
anatomically correctly fitting face piece, the rim of which is hollow and
perforated around the inner margin to allow the vapor to escape ; otherwise
identical with a folding Escharch mask” (Gwathmey, 1904). An image of the
Gwathmey vapor mask in Gwathmeyís 1914 text, Anesthesia (the first
comprehensive American textbook of anesthesiology), has the label “Vapor Mask
” and includes an image of it within a rubber covering, “which helps prevent
cooling and waste of the anesthetic” (Gwathmey, 1914). In the late 1910s the
Gwathmey vapor mask sold for $2.50. Dr. Gwathmey was one of the first
physicians to run a private-practice as an anesthesiologists. He was also a
founding member of the New York Society of Anesthetists, a precursor of the
American Society of Anesthesiologists.