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Placebo Bricanyl (Terbutaline) Spacer

Stan Epstein Respiratory Medicine · IHPST

A white cardboard package, with a white label on one face, contains a small (5.7 cm tall) metal pressurized canister, also with a white label.

Accession Number: 2019.ihpst.77

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials: Cardboard, Metal


The cardboard box and canister list the lot number as “HH 01”, The box has the manufacture date “2/84” embossed on its service. The canister has the expiry date “2/85” printed on the label.

The canister has the following patent number embossed on a surface near its valve: “2968427”. This refers to the valve itself, which was patented in Philip Meshberg, of, Fairfield, Conn.

The label notes: “For demonstration purposes only”.

Dimensions (cm):

Box: Height = 8.3, Width = 4, Length = 4; Artifact: Length = 5.5, Diameter = 2.8.


This pressurized spacer cylinder containing a placebo (possibly inhalant only). was used with a pressurized metered dose Inhaler (pMDI), presumably to demonstrate the technology.

Condition: Excellent: The box is slightly worn.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: Astra Respiratory.

Date of Manufacture: February 1984


This item was acquired along with a collection of medical artefacts from the home of Dr. Stanley Epstein on February 19, 2019.

Additional Information and References:

Epstein, Stanley W. and Colleen S. Duncan “The use of MDI’s in clinical medicine.” In <i>Metered Dose Inhalers: An International Workshop (October 17-19, 1983, Mont Ste. Marie, Qc).</i> edited by S. W. Epstein. 59-62. Mississauga, OnL Astra Pharmaceuticals Canada, 1984.

Historical Notes:

The concept of the MDI has been credited to Dr. George Maison, President of Riker Laboratories, Inc. Dr. Maison’s nine-year-old the daughter had asthma, and sometimes dropped and broke her glass nebulizer, an instrument that was then commonly used to administer adrenergic bronchodilator. Around 1954-1955, she is said to have remarked: “why not make an inhaler like the hair sprays?”
In April of 1955, Dr. Maison, along with Mr. Irving Poresh invented an instrument that incorporated an existing patented metering valve. This was approved by the FDA in March of 1956. The Medihaler-EPI and Medihaler-ISO were subsequently into the medical marketplace.
MDI’s grew in popularity over the 1960s. In the late 1970s, the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) was banned in the United States. This coincided with the development of power-based inhalers. Non-CFC propellants have since been developed and popularized. [Epstein and Duncan, 1984]


  • Donated to UTSIC