Historical information

Inhalation therapy has been used for over 2000 years, but it was from the early 19th centaury that different types of inhalers were developed. In 1865, Dr Nelson invented the improved Nelson inhaler. It is still manufactured today with very few modifications.


The efficiency of the improved Nelson's inhaler is demonstrated by the use of the item from 1865 up until now. Steam inhalations are used to relieve spasmodic breathing, to disinfect bronchial secretions and to facilitate expectoration of mucus. This type of inhaler may be used at home, without the need fro complicated and expensive equipment.

Physical description

This white inhaler has an air inlet spout and an opening at the top to add hot fluids and drugs to the inhaler. Once added, a cork with a glass mouth piece is placed in the neck of the inhaler . In this item plastic tubing has been used as the mouth piece.

Inscriptions & markings

On base inscribed, 'Dr Nelson's improved inhaler: Directions for use. Remove mouth piece, half fill inhaler with boiling water. Replace mouth piece and apply lips to it, breathe freely in and out as in ordinary full respiration.