Waters CO2 Absorber
WLM ID: aiks | Catalog Record
Although carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbers had previously been developed for human use, Dr. Ralph Waters (1883-1979) developed the first simple and easily transportable absorber. Inspired by Dr. Dennis E. Jackson’s (1878-1980) work on CO2 absorption a number of years earlier, Waters developed and began testing his device for filtering carbon dioxide from a patient’s exhaled air around 1919. Waters emphasized the benefits of administering anesthesia using a CO2 absorber. These included a reduction in the amount of anesthetic gas required to anesthetize patients, a reduction in the amount of gas that leaked into the air of the operating room, better humidity of delivered gases, and reduced loss of body heat. Also commonly referred to as the “Waters Canister” and the “Waters To and Fro,” the absorber was introduced in 1924 and continued to be used into the 1960s. Carbon dioxide absorption has become a standard function on all modern anesthesia machines.
Dr. Ralph Waters, an influential anesthesiologist, was known for numerous accomplishments, including the development of anesthesiology’s first post-graduate academic residency and research program, at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.