An antique Respiratory Inhaler made from dark green Bakelite with a central cartouche which reads “The Inspirator” and on the base “Patented Nov 3 1908″.
(Source Image URL from Phisick)
The lid removes to reveal two opening into a the central chamber. One is fixed and would have been used for nasal inhalation. The second is attached to a partly vulcanised rubber tube which connect to a smaller tube for oral inhalation. There remains a pungent smell of the aromatic camphor based oils which were used as inhalants.
Sniffing camphor is still a widespread practice throughout Asia, where decorative camphor containers shaped to fit the nose are sold in most grocery, pharmacy, and convenience stores. Camphor irritates mucus membranes causing a cycle of irritation, more camphor inhalation, and more congestion. Some people develop a habit of inhaling camphor, thinking it is for their congestion, not realizing they have a substance inhalation addiction called “huffing.”
1. About Phisick
Phisick is an amazing collection of instruments and artefacts related to the history of medical, surgical and dental practice. The aim of this website is to celebrate the beauty and craftsmanship of these objects and their role in the history of medicine.