Category Archives: 1880s

Spirometer, Lowne or Casella, circa 1880

Based on the sheet in the background this is either a Lowne or Casella spirometer, and probably manufactured in England in the 1880’s.  It’s possible that Casella, a company that specialized in manufacturing scientific instruments, manufactured it based on a design by Lowne since the spirometers attributed to both of these sources look mostly identical.  Found on an auction website, The

Finkler and Kochs Apparatus, 1885


Apparatus for providing compressed and rarified air for treating lung disease based on the theories of Waldenburg.  From Von Ziemssen’s Handbook of General Therapeutics, Volume 3, published by Smith, Elder, 1885, page 408.

“Finkler and Kochs in Bonn have recently invented an apparently commodious apparatus, which unfortunately we have not yet ourselves had the opportunity of testing.  The apparatus serves to force compressed air into the lung on inspiration, and to assist expiration by sucking air out of the lung (fig. 28).

“A cylinder of strong tinned zinc serves for the reception of the water.  It is 25 centimeters wide; its bottom is pierced by the wide tubes r’  and r, of 1.5 internal diameter.  In this cylinder is placed by a double bell hung by means of a chain wheel and balanced by weights.  The inner bell is 35 centimeters high and 16 centimeters wide.  The other bell surrounds the inner like a ring; it is 70 centimeters high and 40 centimeters wide.  The bells are made of far thinner zinc than the cylinder.

“Upon the inner bell is fixed the tube k, with the valve working inwards, while the tuber r leads out of the bell towards to mask for the face.

“Upon tubes r and r’ two india rubber tubes are fixed which are connected with the facial mask by a T-shaped piece.  By means of a double holdfast pressure of the hand will close one of the tubes, while the other opens.

“The apparatus is filled with water by means of the inlet n, which is then firmly closed by means of an india rubber stopper. The chain wheel consists of two concentric wheels with the same axle. The innermost is connected to the bell, the outer one with the counterweight.  The radius of the outer wheel is double that of the inner, so that the counter-weight only needs to be equal to half the weight of the double bell.

“If the counter-weight be loaded by laying on more weights, the double bell is lifted up.  At the same time the valve d’ closes and the valve d opens.  If not at the same time the india rubber tube upon r, which leads from the inner cylinder to the mask, is compressed, and thus the tube on r’ opened, which leads from the outer cylinder to the mask, the outer bell sucks air out of the mask (i.e. the lung), and the inner bell fills through its open valve d with air from the surrounding atmosphere.

“If now the counter-weight is lifted by the handle, the double bell falls down by its own weight.  If we now open the flexible tube at r and close the one at r’, the air out of the inner bell is forced through the flexible tube in the face mask (i.e. the lung).  The outer bell, on the other hand, lets air escape through the open valve d’ in the atmosphere.

“As the double bell sinks down the inner bell b pours into the mask (i.e. lung) through the tube r the air which it has previously sucked in through the valve d from the atmosphere, while the outer bell c discharges through valve d’ the air previously sucked in through tube r out of the mask (i.e. the lung).

“The degree of rarefaction and of compression may be varied by altering the counter-weight and altering the weight of the double bell by laying on lead plates.  These variation are empirically determined and multiplied by the weight belonging to the apparatus, an so measured that a suction power of -2 centimeters mercury and a compression power of +2 centimeters mercury can be obtained.”

Weil’s Double Apparatus, 1885

Weils_Double_Apparatus_1885Designed to provide compressed or rarified air and based on the theories of Waldenburg.  From Von Ziemssen’s Handbook of General Therapeutics, Volume 3, published by Smith, Elder, 1885, page 410.

“Weil at Berlin has constructed a serviceable double apparatus (fig. 23), by connecting two Waldenburg’s apparatus inferiorly bu a short india rubber tube, so that while one cylinder sinks the other rises, and conversely, so that one is ready for use as soon as the other has ceased to act.  The apparatus was not designed with the object of an alternating respiration, but, as in the one afterwards invented by Schnitzler, in order to be able to employ compressed or rarified air uninterruptedly.”

Spirometer, Marsh’s, 1880


From patent number 225, 710 by J.P. Marsh, Mar 23, 1880.

“A is a flexible bag or receiver, made of india-rubber, by preference, and expansible to such a degree as to be capable of being distended with facility by air expelled from the human lungs into the receiver.

“B is a flexible tube coupled to the part A.  The tube B should be provided with a mouth-piece at its free end, as indicated at a.

“C is a gage or measuring-tape, connected at one end to the part A, preferable at the place where the tube B is coupled thereto.

“In using this device as a spirometer, the piece a is inserted into the mouth of the user, and the remaining part held in any convenient way which will not interfere with the inflation of part A.  The part A may then be inflated by being blown into, and as soon as the capacity of the lungs is thus sufficiently tested the tube B should be pinched together to prevent the air from escaping from the receiver.  The gage C should then passed around the inflated receiver, as indicated in Fig. 1, and where the fixed end of the gage meets the encircling part thereof will be found figures indicating the amount in cubic inches of air in the receiver, whether there be more or less therein, being understood that part C is graduated for that purpose, and that it will be taken up more o less by encircling the receiver, according to the amount of air forced therein from the lungs of the user.  In this way the user may test the capacity and strength of his lungs, and note their condition in these respects, and a proper use of the device will, it is believed, be found to be a healthful exercise for the lungs.”