White Inhaling Apparatus

WLMD ID: akoo
The S. S. White Dental Manufacturing Company introduced what it called a gas-oxygen inhaling apparatus in 1889. In fact, it should have been called a gas-or-oxygen apparatus. In that era, the term "gas-oxygen" meant a combination of both nitrous oxide and oxygen. The White Inhaling Apparatus was advertised as a respiratory therapy apparatus, to be used with a tank of oxygen in the patient's home. It was also advertised as an anesthetic inhaler, to be used with a tank of nitrous oxide. S. S. White manufactured both of these gases. The company also manufactured anesthesia machines for use in dentists’ offices and hospitals, and made the first machine to combine nitrous oxide with oxygen.

Catalog Record: White Inhaling Apparatus
Access Key: akoo
Accession No.: 1989-09-03-1

Title: Oxygen gas inhaling apparatus / The S. S. White Dental Mfg. Co.

Corporate Author: Samuel S. White Dental Manufacturing Company.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: White inhaling apparatus.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: White gas-oxygen inhaling apparatus.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Oxygen gas inhalation apparatus.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Oxygen outfit no. 1.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Apparatus for the therapeutic administration of nitrogen monoxide and oxygen.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Inhalation apparatus for the therapeutic administration of oxygen.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: S.S. White single tank apparatus.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Oxygen inhaler.

Publisher: Philadelphia : S. S. White Dental Mfg. Co., [1889-1920].

Physical Descript: 1 anesthesia apparatus : metals, glass, textile, rubber, paperboard, paper ;
43 x 45 x 37 cm.

Subject: Oxygen – instrumentation.
Subject: Nitrous Oxide.
Subject: Anesthesia, Inhalation – instrumentation.

Web Link: https://woodlibrarymuseum.org/museum/item/678/white-inhaling-apparatus

Note Type: General
Notes: The early year in the date range for the possible year of manufacture is
based on the year it was first manufactured. The later year is based on the
physical condition of the object and on the dates of publications in which
mention of and advertisements for the device are published. The date range
could change if documentation indicates it should be corrected.

Note Type: General
Notes: Title taken from the original packaging (a box); The numerous alternate
titles have been taking from S. S. White literature, advertisements and
articles in medical literature.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Berger SC, ed. Publisher’s department: the oxygen treatment. Satellite Annual
Univers Med Sci. November, 1888;2(2):132.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Casey JE, Browne AW, inventors; S. S. White Dental Manufacturing Company,
assignee. Oxygen-inhaler. US patent 402,303. April 30, 1889.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Davis AB, Dryfuss MS. The Finest Instruments Ever Made: A Bibliography of
Medical, Dental, Optical, and Pharmaceutical Company Trade Literatue;
1700-1939. Arlington, assachusetts; Medical History Publishing Associates I;

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Heffner JE. The story of oxygen. Resp Care. 2013;58(1):18-31. https://rc.
rcjournal.com/content/58/1/18.full.pdf+html. Accessed December 29, 2013.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Inhalation apparatus for the therapeutic administration of oxygen
[advertisement]. Satellite Annual Univers Med Sci. May, 1889;2:3 [of

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Liquefied nitrogen monoxide (nitrous oxide) and compressed oxygen, with
apparatus for their therapeutic administration. [Philadelphia]: Samuel
Stockton White Dental Manufacturing Company; [1889-1899]:1-2,9-10.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Seventy Five Years of Service, 1844-1919: A History of the House of White.
[Philadelphia?]: S. S. White Dental Mfg. Co.; 1920:81.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Turnbull L. Chapter xi. Anaesthesia by Artificial Anaesthesia: A Manual of
Anaesthetic Agents and Their Employment in the Treatment of Disease. 4th ed.
Philadelphia: P. Blakiston, Son & Co.; 1896:349-351.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: One apparatus for the inhalation of oxygen and other gases, including
anesthetic gases; The total measurement, 43 x 45 x 37 cm, is a very rough
estimate of how much space the apparatus would occupy if assembled, and
includes the space needed to display the packaging (box) next to the
assembled apparatus; The black iron tank measures approximately 40.5 cm in
height and 8 cm in diameter; The label on the tank is worn, faded and damaged
but the following markings can be read from it, “NITROUS OXID”, “The S.S.
White Dental …”, and “Patented March 25, 1879”; The black yolk measures
approximately 2 x 20 x 8.5 cm, and is stamped with “S. S. White Mfg. Co.”;
The textile bag measures approximately 32.5 x 21.5 x 5.5 cm; The glass bottle
is embossed with the S.S. White Company logo and measures approximately 21 cm
in height and 7 cm in diameter; There is a black rubber stopper in the neck
of the bottle; In the stopper are two glass tubes; The packaging ( box)
measures approximately 9.5 x 15.5 x 22 cm and the paperboard is brittle and
warped; The manufacturer’s markings are on the lid of the box and include an
image of the apparatus assembled with a tube running to the mouth of a user
(male with mustache) who is breathing in from the device; The largest text
includes, “OXYGEN GAS [new line] Inhaling Apparatus [new line]”; Under this
text is, “We are prepared to supply pure Oxygen Gas, or a mixture of Oxygen
and Nitrous Oxid in definite proportions respectively of 20 percent, and 40
per cent, of Nitrous Oxid. [new line, indented] Either Gas in furnished in
cylinders containing forty or one hundred gallons.”; Text below the image of
the apparatus includes, “Cylinders containing pur Nitrous Oxid Gas are
painted BLACK; those containing pure Oxygen are painted RED. Oxygen cylinders
containing twenty per cent. of Nitrous Oxid are painted BLACK one-fifth of
their length, the remainder red; those containing forty per cent. of Nitrous
Oxid are painted BLACK one-fifth of their length, the remainder red; those
containing forty per cent. of Nitrous Oxid are painted BLACK two-fifths of
their length, the remainder red. [new line] MANUFACTURED BY [new line] THE S.
S. WHITE DENTAL MFG. CO., [new line[] Philadelphia.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. Steve Donisch, June 11, 2013.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: This device created a fine mist of up to six dissolved medications by
generating very fast and fine vibrations (the company claimed 1,000
vibrations per minute). a single medication or a combination of several
medications could be administered at one time. This was controlled by on-off
valves above each glass globe.

Today we might call this apparatus a nebulizer. Nebulizers deliver
medications and moisture into the airways. They may be used when a patient is
on a ventilator during anesthesia or when in the intensive care unit.
Nebulizers are also used in the treatment of some lung diseases, such as

The inventor, Dr. John Robertson applied to patent the first version of this
device, which had a linear design, on November 12, 1895. A second patent, for
a new circular design, was filed on April 11, 1898. In 1899, four different
styles and 16 different sizes were available. Dr. Robertson was also the
manager and one of the owners of the company that manufactured and marketed
this device, The Pneumachemic Company.

During the mid-to late 19th Century the terms atomizer and nebulizer were
often interchanged. The patents referred to the device as an “atomizer” and
“atomizing apparatus”. The Pneumachemic Company referred to it as a
“Comminuter”. Today a comminuter is a machine that assists in waste treatment
by pulverizing solid materials, but because a synonym for ‘comminute’ is
‘atomize’ the choice was applicable.

Some advertisements for Robertson’s Multiple Comminuter offered to provide
“Robertson’s Revised Formulary” with the purchase of the apparatus. His
formulas would not have contained potent bronchodilators, which were not
commonly used in nebulizers until the 1930s. Bronchodilators are medications
that open up constricted airways.

Website visitors might want to compare this device to the very different
DeVilbiss Atomizers, at https://woodlibrarymuseum.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Chosen for the WLM website (noted September 10, 2013).