Chloroform Inhaler

Metal chloroform inhaler with tan cloth bag. Chloroform was first used as an anesthetic in 1847 and later became a popular alternative to ether. It was very popular in the US until about 1900 when it was realized that chloroform could cause liver damage, although its use continued, especially in the UK and Germany, well into the 1920s.
This particular type of inhaler, possibly a Yankauer design, was covered with a thick cloth and held onto the patients face. The physician would then drip chloroform onto the cloth until the desired effect was achieved. The inhaler design kept the wet cloth from touching the patient’s face and causing skin irritation.

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