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Chest infections and diseases were treated by inhalation using pipes such as this. There were lots of designs, and the Bird’s medical inhalation pipe was patented on March 18th 1869 by London surgeon James Bird. It could be purchased from chemists and well-known surgical instrument makers Maw, Son and Thompson, and Weiss and Company. The pipe treated afflictions including asthma, bronchitis, neuralgia, toothache and throat disorders. The instructions state it was a ‘portable and efficient inhalation instrument for safer and more convenient inhalation of vapor or smoke of remedial agents’. The pipe was supplied with a small drug vial and ten felt sponges.

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    Glossary: inhalation

    The drawing of air or other substances into the lungs

    Glossary: inhaler

    A device for breathing in a drug in order to deliver it to the airways or lungs.