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Pressurized Metered Dose Inhaler (Placebo)

Stan Epstein Respiratory Medicine · IHPST

A small (7.5 cm tall) l-shaped instrument. The main body is made of grey plastic and clear plastic. A metal pressurized canister is visible in the clear plastic housing. The canister has a paper label that reads “DEMO” in green ink. The instrument has a green plastic cap at one end.

Accession Number: 2019.ihpst.78

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials: Plastic, Metal


The canister has a paper label that reads “DEMO” in green ink.

Dimensions (cm): Height = 7.5, Width = 3, Length = 4.5.


The pressurized metered dose Inhaler (pMDI) delivers a calibrated dose of medicine into the respiratory tract. This item is a demonstration item that contains no medicine.

Condition: Very Good: This item is slightly worn.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: Boehringer Ingelhelm

Date of Manufacture: Mid-to-Late 20th century.


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]