Safety Gas Augustana Model

WLMD ID: amvh

The Safety Anesthesia Apparatus Concern, later called the Safety Gas Machine Company, operated in Chicago.  The company produced anesthesia equipment from the 1910s to the 1950s. Shown here is the model named for Chicago’s Augustana Hospital, where the President of the company, George McCurdy M.D. (d. 1954), worked as an anesthesiologist. The machine was advertised from the 1939 to 1950. It could administer ether, nitrous oxide, oxygen, carbon dioxide and ethylene.  An additional cylinder yoke at the rear of the machine may have been intended for cyclopropane, which by 1950 had largely replaced ethylene in popularity, particularly for closed-circuit anesthesia.  The unusual placement of the glass ether vaporizer, below the surface of the tabletop, helped to protect it from breakage.  The large carbon dioxide absorber also has a design that is unique to this company. 

Catalog Record: Safety Gas Augustana Model

Access Key: amvh

Accession No.: 1964-10-26-1

Title: Safety gas oxygen apparatus: Augustana model / Safety Gas Machine Co.

Corporate Author: Safety Gas Machine Co.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Safety Gas Augustana model machine.

Publisher: Chicago, Illinois : Safety Gas Machine Co., [between 1930 and 1950].

Physical Descript: 1 anesthesia machine : metals, plastics, glass, rubber : 116.5 x 55 x 61 cm.

Subject: Anesthesia Machines.
Subject: Anesthesia, Inhalation – instrumentation.
Subject: Ethylene.
Subject: Nitrous Oxide.
Subject: Oxygen.
Subject: Carbon Dioxide.
Subject: Ether, Ethyl.

Note Type: General
Notes: The early year in the date range for the possible year of manufacture of this
machine is based on an obituary that stated that Dr. George McCurdy became an
anesthetist at Augustana Hospital in 1930. The end year in the date range
for the possible year of manufacture is an estimate based on the time when a
number of authors report that cyclopropane had largely replaced ethylene
(Jacob AK, Kopp SL, Bacon DR, Smith HM, 2013 ; Jones R, 2014 ; Sixty-six
years ago in Anesthesia & Analgesia, 1989). Of note, in a publication for the
ASA annual meeting in 1950 it i indicated that the Safety Gas Mac hine
Company, Inc. “will exhibit their Augustana Models”. The date range could
change if documentation or expert opinion indicate that it should be

Note Type: Not Applicable
Notes: Another machine made by the same company, The McCurdy Model, is marked with
the following company name, “Safety Anaesthesia Apparatus Concern.” This
cataloger was unable to determine when the company changed names.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: The American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting Program. [Chicago,
Illinois?]: American Society of Anesthesiologists; 1950:34. [Includes the
following, “In Space No. 14 the Safety Gas Machine Company, Inc. of Chicago
will exhibit their Augustana Models.”}

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Death comes to homes of students. North Park College News. November 10,
1954;34(4):5. https://collections.carli.illinois.
edu/cdm/ref/collection/npu_nppress/id/986. Accessed November 20, 2015.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: One mostly chrome[?] plated anesthesia machine with a small rubber covered
rectangular table-like center; The rubber on the table-top is in very good
condition; Extending from each corner of the table-top are a reducing valve
pared with two yolks for a single gas; The side of the machine with the
carbon dioxide absorber and ether vaporizer was treated as the front of the
machine; The measurements were taken facing the front of the machine;
Connections for the patient breathing system and the carbon dioxide absorber
extend from the front of the ‘table’; This appears to include visible (glass
topped) inspiratory and expiratory valves; The carbon dioxide canister is all
metal; It is topped by a valve that may be set with a lever to “OFF”, “1”,
“2”, “3”, or “N”; Extending from the front left corner is a reducing valve
with two yokes marked “OXYGEN“; The reducing valve and yokes marked for
“CARBON DIOXIDE” extend from the back left corner; A single unlabeled yoke
with a small gauge extends from the center back of the table-top; The scale
is a short curve, marked and numbered at increments of 20, from 0 to 120; The
reducing valve and yokes marked “NITROUS OXIDE” extend from the right back
corner; A manufacturer’s label is affixed to the right side of the table-top;
It is printed with the following, “SAFETY GAS OXYGEN APPARATUS [new line]
AUGUSTANA MODEL [new line] Patents Pending [new line] SAFETY GAS MACHINE CO.
[new line] 1163 Sedgewick St. Chicago, Illinois [new line] 183”; The number
“183” is stamped rather than printed onto the label; The reducing valve and
yokes marked “ETHYLENE” extend from the right front corner; On top of the
table-top, front-center, is a valve to control the mixing of the compressed
gases and ether vapor; This valve has a large lever that can be turned and
directed at any unnumbered point along a scale; The scale is curved and has
eleven increments; The left side is labeled “ETHER” and the right side “BASIC
GASES”; From left to right the color of the curve changes from all red on the
left to all black on the right; Directly below the valve, an ether vaporizer
extends downward from underneath the table; Just to the left of this valve on
top of the table is a turn-knob colored light green; A pole that supports and
connects the flowmeter system to the table top extends from the center back
of the top of the table; Five flowmeters are suspended from their tops and
secured in a glass jar; There are six flowmeter scales; The second flowmeter
from the left has two scales -one to the left of it, and one to the right;
Five turn-knobs are in the head of the flowmeter system; The knobs,
flowmeters and scales are not labeled with a corresponding gas; From left to
right, the colors of the knobs are burgundy, green, red, grey and dark blue;
The left-most scale is marked and numbered every 100 increments from 0 to
700; The scale to the right is also marked and numbered every 100 increments
from 0 to 700, with the exception of 100 – there is no “100” increment on
this scale; The next scale to the right is also marked and numbered every 100
increments from 0 to 700, with the exception of 100; The next scale to the
right is marked and numbered from 0 to 7, with the exception of 1 (there is
no marked increment for 1); The next scale to the right is also marked and
numbered every 100 increments from 0 to 700, with the exception of 100; The
right-most scale is marked and numbered from 0 to 7, with the exception of 1;
A supporting pole is connected to the underside of the center of the table
and is help upright by a sturdy four leg base; The legs are on wheels; A drag
chain falls to the floor from below the center of the base.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. Steve Donisch June 5, 2015.

Note Type: Acquisition
Notes: Donated to the WLM by The Georgetown University Department of Pharmacology.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Selected for the WLM website (noted November 20, 2015).