Sir Hiram Maxim's 'Pipe of Peace' bronchial inhaler, 1909-1910.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Maxim (1840-1916) is famed as the inventor of the automatic machine gun, but he also created a bronchial inhaler as his own health deteriorated in old age. In use, soothing vapours from water warmed with a few drops of 'Dirigo', his own calming concoction, could be delivered right to the back of the throat via a long swan-necked glas tube. As word of its effectivenes spread, demand grew and eventually hundreds of thousands were sold in the early years of the 20th century.