This book gives a comprehensive account of the history of anaesthesia at Dräger. The first volume
takes us from the invention of the cylinder regulator at the end of the last century through to the mid-Sixties, when Halothane was discovered as the new anaesthetic agent. A second volume will cover the years from that time up to our most recent developments. References are made to events which occurred in parallel with the Dräger developments to illustrate the historical background against which Dräger have written their own small part of history. This account shows what engineering skills could achieve even in the past. The exciting story has been preserved in the Dräger archives, and written up with the benefit of his technical expertise and involvement by our long-serving Chief Engineer, Josef Haupt. His first publication on Dräger anaesthetic machines was published way back in the Seventies. Today we are deeply in his debt for his early pioneering work which provided the detailed groundwork for this current revised edition.
The history of many established and internationally famous German companies begins in the late 19th century. So, too, does Dräger’s history – and with it the development of anaesthetic machines. The oxygen cylinder was one of the important inventions of those days which was, and still is, more closely linked to the name of Dräger than anything else. Although the physicist, Linde, had discovered the process of liquefaction to separate air into its components, O2 and N2, it was not until the 1880s that engineers succeeded in compressing and storing oxygen and other gases at high pressure and the first seamless, high-pressure containers made from hand-forged steel came onto the market. The steel cylinder shown here contained pure oxygen, produced by the Linde process, and is probably one of the earliest containers of its type. The inspection mark dates
the filling to 1885.
The technology was surprisingly advanced as the cylinder can hold over 1500 litres of oxygen at a filling pressure of 150 bar. Nevertheless, materials technology has continued to develop to the present day and so, as the data in the table shows, has succeeded in increasing filling pressures and capacity while at the same time reducing weight. Today, an O2 cylinder of equivalent size holds a third more oxygen but weighs about twenty kilos less, which means it is easier to handle.