Ricard Inhaler

WLMD ID: akiv
The French Surgeon, Alfred-Louis Ricard (1858-1932) introduced his chloroform inhaler at a meeting of the Paris Surgical Society in 1905. It featured a valve to control the flow of vapor. Another, sliding valve in the lid controlled the concentration of the vapor by adjusting the amount of air that was added. A hose led from the opening at the top of the inhaler to a rubber mask. (Both the mask and hose are missing from this example.) The mask was attached to the hose with an elbow connector, seen here beside the reservoir. The connector contained an expiratory valve, preventing the patient's exhaled air from being rebreathed. This made a reassuring, audible click as the patient breathed. The Ricard inhaler was widely used in France through the 1930s.

Catalog Record: Ricard Inhaler

Access Key: akiv
Accession No.: 2006-11-12-1

Title: Chloroformisateur à soupape tournante / [A.] Ricard.
Author: Ricard, Alfred-Louis, 1858-1932.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Appareil de Ricard.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Ricard chloroform inhaler.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Ricard’s apparatus.

Publisher: [Paris] : Collin; [1910-1930].

Physical Descript: 1 inhaler : metal, glass : 19 x 14.5 x 13.5 cm.

Subject: Inhalers, Anesthesia.
Subject: Anesthesia, Inhalation – instrumentation.
Subject: Chloroform – administration & dosage.
Web Link: https://woodlibrarymuseum.org/museum/item/629/ricard-inhaler

Note Type: General
Notes: Because the manufacturer’s name is marked on the inhaler, the title based on
the earliest Coillin & Cie catalog found in which the inhaler appears (1908).
The early date (1910) in the date range for the possible year of manufacture
is based on the year that he was reported to have presented his new inhaler
at a meeting of the Paris Society of Surgery. The end date [1930] is based on
the year that Collin & Cie was absorbed by the firm “Gentile”. The date range
could change if documentation indicates the range should be corrected.

Note Type: With
Notes: The inhaler is accompanied the wood box in which it is held; The box
measures approximately 18.7 x 14.2 x 13.5 cm ; Also in the box is a metal
mask for the nose and mouth; The mask is bent slightly out of shape and
measures approximately 10.7 x 7 x 7.7 cm ; The front of the mask is engraved
or stamped with “COLLIN [new line] BREVETÈ”; A black metal appliance shaped
for the nose is also in the box with the inhaler.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Banque d’images et de portraits: RICARD, Alfred Louis (1858-1932) [a
caricature]. Biu anté: Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de Santé website.
https://www2.biusante.parisdescartes.fr/bio/?cle=3828. Accessed September 4,

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Bloch OE. Some observations of European surgery. Kentucky Med J. March,
1907;5(2):41-43. https://books.google.
=X&ei=0qknUpXDE9Su4APOpoGgDg&ved=0CGIQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q&f=false. Accessed
September 4, 2013.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Désiron Q. History of instrumental haemostasis and the particular
contribution of Jules E. Péan. Acta Chir Belg. 2007 Jan-Feb;107(1):88-95.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Folet MM, Lambret. Nos premières chloroformisations à l’adie de l’appareil de
M. Ricard. Echo Med Nord. March 19, 1905;9(12):133-138. https://books.google.
a=X&ei=sLUnUp_KJsXc4APX1ICgBA&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false. Accessed
September 4, 2013.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Jeanbrau E. Appareil de Ricard pour la chloroformisation. Montp Med.
1905;24(27):19-24. https://books.google.
a=X&ei=3ZQoUrbtMcS5sQT464CIBw&ved=0CEIQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false. Accessed
September 5, 2013.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Labey G. Necrologie: Alfred-Louis Ricard (1858-1932). Paris Méd Sem Clin.
1932;(84):499-501. https://www2.biusante.parisdescartes.
fr/livanc/?cote=111502x1932x84&p=623&do=page. Accessed September 4, 2013.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Revue des Societes savants: Societe de Chirurgie, 18 janvier 1905: appareil à
chloroformissation. Odontologie. February 15, 1905;33(3):179. https://books.
a=X&ei=x6UnUrPjMI7b4AO3zYGgDg&ved=0CEkQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q&f=false. Accessed
September 3, 2013.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Societes savantes: Societe de Chirurgie, seance du 18 janvier 1905. Prog Med
(Paris). 1905;21(3):54. https://www2.biusante.parisdescartes.
fr/livanc/?cote=90170x1905x03x21&p=58&do=page. Accessed September 3, 2013.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: One metal and glass inhaler with an L-shaped connection, which contains a
nonrebreathing valve; The connection joins the mask to the inhaler; The
inhaler consists of a glass cup on a circular metal base and a metal lid; The
lid is fixed to the cup with a sliding latch; The lid can be removed to add
chloroform; Along one side of the top of the lid are four holes to allow for
the entry of air; A flat sliding cover can be moved to close any number of
these holes; A metal connection for attaching the rubber tubing to the mask
and metal connector extends from the top of the lid directly across from the
holes. In the center of the lid is a screw- and nut-like control for
adjusting the depth of a circular metal plate that is attached to the
underside of the metal lid; The intention being, the deeper the plate was
lowered into the glass cup the more chloroform vapor the patient inhaled;
Stamped or engraved on the lid is, “1780 [new line] COLLIN [new line]
BREVETÈ”; Also engraved or stamped on the lid are two cursive letters, “AR”.

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

Note Type: Historical
Notes: At a meeting of the Paris Surgical Society on January 18, 1905, Parisian
surgeon Alfred-Louis Ricard (1858-1932) presented a new device for the
administration of chloroform. A rubber tube and metal connection, with a
built-in nonrebreathing valve, joined a mask to a chloroform inhaler. When
the patient breathed in through the mask, air was pulled through the
reservoir, which contained chloroform, as well as from room air. To adjust
the proportion of air drawn through the inhaler, a metal plate attached to
the underside of the lid was lowered into the container. The deeper the plate
was lowered into the container the more chloroform vapor the patient inhaled.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: During his presentation, Ricard reported that he had used the device 200
times with great results, and emphasized that it minimized the waste of
chloroform, was portable, and affordable. Portability was important at that
time because surgeons often needed to move their equipment with them between
hospitals and patients’ homes.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: In 1907, Louisville, Kentucky surgeon Oscar E. Bloch described the Ricard
Inhaler as being “much used in Paris.” During a tour of Europe, Bloch had
visited Ricard, who personally demonstrated for Bloch how to use the device.
Upon returning to the Louisville, Bloch had his surgical assistant use the
Ricard Inhaler for all surgeries Bloch performed. He was very happy with how
little chloroform the inhaler required, but was most pleased with a byproduct
of the design: “To my mind one of the greatest advantages of this apparatus
lies in the audible click of the valves assuring the surgeon that his patient
is breathing.” In other words, the sounds made by the inhaler enabled Bloch
to better monitor his patient’s respirations during surgery.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: The inhaler was included in a caricature of Dr. Ricard created by Georges
Villa (1883-1965), a French artist and noted caricaturist. It can be viewed
via the image and portrait collections website of the Bibliothèque
Interuniversitaire de Santé at https://web2.bium.univ-paris5.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Death of A. Ricard [French]. Lyon Chir. March, 1959;55(2):254-255.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Bousquet H. Les appareils à chloroformisation; description, mode d’emploi et
avantages de l’appareil de Ricard. J Med Caen. 1905;10:280-288.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Chosen for the WLM website (noted July 30, 2013).