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Introduction M18999 MP-1974.2.14P M2000.41.137.1-4 M930.50.5.142 M972.53.1.1-2 I-22189.1 M979.87.5000 M18825
1875-1925, 19th century or 20th century
16 cm
Gift of Mme Louise Hurtubise Bousquet
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Vaporizer (1)
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Keys to History

The "Vapo-Cresolene" lamp was used to relieve the effects of respiratory illnesses.

This lamp was lit while patients were sleeping to emit vapours with disinfectant properties. A kerosene lamp heated a medicinal solution that had been poured into a reservoir hanging over the lamp. This solution was then dispersed in fine particles in the air.

At the end of the 19th century, pharmaceutical companies engaged in fierce competition, often promoting a single product as a cure for various illnesses. This tactic was used by Vapo-Cresolene, which promised that its lamp relieved colds, bronchitis, asthma, whooping cough, etc.

  • What

    The stand for this device was finely decorated with plant motifs, corresponding to the tastes of the Victorian Era.

  • Where

    Towards the end of the 19th century, "Vapo-Cresolene" was a registered trademark in the United States, France, Germany, England and Canada.

  • When

    According to the instructions, the lamp was supposed to be lit in a closed bedroom throughout the night.

  • Who

    The inhalation of creosote was recommended to kill the germs responsible for infections of the respiratory tract. This product was used to treat humans and animals.