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View Full Version : When did on-board aspirators become common?


Nicholas Studer
02-29-2016, 10:40 AM
As members may or may not know, I have a 1961 Eureka-Cadillac "Hi-Boy" 54"Ambulance. http://www.professionalcarsociety.org/forums/showthread.php?t=18181 One thing that has struck me in particular after reading Mr. McPherson's "The Eureka Company: A Complete History" and trying to dig up every Eureka image I could online - is that none seem to have an on-board aspirator. It may be an oversimplification, or perhaps even an incorrect assumption - but my understanding is that Eureka was up there with S&S in terms of building "prestige" ambulances. Hence why so many seem to have ended up in the well-to-do areas of the Northeast, particularly New Jersey First Aid Squads. It seems unusual to me in retrospect, that you'd spend the money to have four outlets for oxygen - but no suction unit. Mine didn't have one as far as I can tell.

While it seems late 1950s and early 1960s literature from all the coachbuilders are a bit more sparse on that sort of detail - doesn't seem anyone else mentioned suction either... http://www.emsmuseum.org/virtual-museum/timeline/articles/399642-A-Brief-Look-at-the-Beginnings-of-Rico-Suction-Labs-Inc indicates the Rico aspirator came out in 1952. All the portable resuscitators of the time period (Pneolator, Handy, original E&J, Emerson, etc.) came with an oxygen-powered variant. My 1963 Pinner-Chrysler came with it from the factory. On the other hand, as many will likely hear more about, Dutchess County was very much ahead of the curve on prehospital care.

Was the Rico more of a late 1960s and later item, as I am starting to gather? Prior to then - I suppose the attendant would use the portable resuscitator's aspirator while en-route if need be?

Richard Vyse
02-29-2016, 02:31 PM
Nicholas, how's that Oldsmobile coming? Got any updated pictures to share?

Nicholas Studer
02-29-2016, 02:57 PM
Afraid not, Shop told me they'd send some shots of the rear door being fixed. It's coming together slowly but surely.

But if I knew then what I knew now..............

Richard Vyse
02-29-2016, 04:34 PM
Afraid not, Shop told me they'd send some shots of the rear door being fixed. It's coming together slowly but surely.

But if I knew then what I knew now..............

I hear ya. Got a fortune invested in my Lifeliner never to see a positive return on it but the next owner will be very happy. :eek:

What the hell, who needs to retire!

Ron Devies
02-29-2016, 08:37 PM
I am not sure when they became "standard" but I know going back to the sixties they were standard.

John ED Renstrom
02-29-2016, 10:01 PM
Eureka were considered way ahead on styling. most of the suctions sources back then were engine vacuum. me 72 cb high top had one ported in the end of the left wheel well cover.

Nicholas Studer
02-07-2017, 01:00 PM
Forgive the photo through glass, but note the Sklar glass suction bottle with metal holder mounted(?) to the top of the cabinet on the former Violetville VFD Chevrolet Carryall ambulance seen at the 2016 PCS meet in Gettysburg. These were components of the Sklar 100-65 aspirator pump (photo from recent eBay auction below), apparently directly hooked up with vacuum tubing to the engine manifold. I have a newspaper article from the early 1960s that states the Baltimore City Ambulance Course taught this technique and that local VFD's followed suit.

Maybe this was just a local thing? This was the first 1960s ambulance-carried aspirator that I've personally seen that was not a Rico RS-4 (or later RS-6 with hand-pump option) or an oxygen powered unit attached to a resuscitator unit. The common gray Laerdal electric unit came out in the late 1960s. I suppose a Sklar, Gomco, or similar electric aspirator could've been carried if you had an inverter outlet (My Eureka-Cadillac Hi-Boy does) Anyone else seen one like this on another unit - and better yet - have a photo?

John ED Renstrom
02-07-2017, 09:30 PM
If Eureka put one on it would have been the manifold style. They would have a large storage container most likely under the floor and a port close to the gurney head.if the original squad installed there own it would have to have been mounted. But if it was a portable who can say. Carrying a. Big bulb was not all that unusual. The part that gets us mixed up is training today. That is were those old pictures with the equipment layer out are so informative.

Abe Bush
02-07-2017, 09:36 PM
I hear ya. Got a fortune invested in my Lifeliner never to see a positive return on it but the next owner will be very happy. :eek:

What the hell, who needs to retire!

Richard are you telling us the Lifeliner is for sale?

Russell Street
02-08-2017, 03:34 PM
Richard are you telling us the Lifeliner is for sale?

It's been for sale on and off for years, depends on the day!!!!! :D:D:D

Richard Vyse
02-09-2017, 12:38 PM
Richard are you telling us the Lifeliner is for sale?

I've had it for sale previously but missed my price by that much. I will have it back with the new A/C in it within a week and new front end. Got to get it on the road I have a Strawberry Festival Parade I'm doing on Monday, March 6th and last year, "It was freaking hot" hoping for cooler weather this year.

Nicholas Studer
02-09-2017, 10:01 PM
If Eureka put one on it would have been the manifold style. They would have a large storage container most likely under the floor and a port close to the gurney head.if the original squad installed there own it would have to have been mounted. But if it was a portable who can say. Carrying a. Big bulb was not all that unusual. The part that gets us mixed up is training today. That is were those old pictures with the equipment layer out are so informative.

Hi Ed. Yes, certainly agree that typically an aspirator powered by manifold vacuum is what was common for quite some time. It is important to note that while some ambulances had the cylindrical vacuum reservoir - some did not. The contemporary installation instructions do not require it. My Pinner-Chrysler had a Rico RS-4 from the factory without a reservoir, my 1970 C/B Olds was similarly without one, and the Violetville Carryall I just posted a photo of did not either. Wasn't specifically referring to my Hi-Boy - but it's possible there was a Rico or similar. I'll be starting to post more neat articles from that archive soon, plus I ended up with a selection of 1950s/1960s rescue/ambulance manuals which have been illuminating with some great equipment lists and photos!

However, the topic that was of interest to me and posed to the group was:

1. Alternatives to the Rico, like the Violetville one had. Interested in seeing any photos that might exist showing similar elsewhere, or whether it was just a local thing. Rather ingenious!

2. Electric powered suction units like Gomco and Sklar, particularly since the Violetville's on-board system appears to have been cobbled together with parts from an on-board aspirator, how common were they before the introduction of the Laerdal Suction Unit (Gray Case) in the very late 1960s. While theoreticaly possible with inverter-equipped ambulances, reviewing a large quantity of available stories on Newspapers.com - the only thing referenced with inverter-equipped ambulances are "Rescue Saws (Just regular Sawzalls, apparently) and Incubators. I've tried to dig up every "layout" photo I can - and never seen one there either.

John ED Renstrom
02-09-2017, 10:42 PM
That early it would depend a lot on the services medical Dr. Some were up on pre hospital car and some believed in a fast ride to the care. If you got one that believed you could do a little more the swoop and scoop they would offer training and want a equipped rig. Others didn't want you to do anything but bring the of to them. Inverters were mostly just a transformer under the hood and not capable of handling a lot of load. So onboard electrical equipment was not the norm.

Nicholas Studer
02-16-2017, 01:04 AM
Here is the pertinent section from an article from the Baltimore Sun, 11NOV1962. What we see set up in the Violetville ambulance appears to have been taught at the Baltimore City Ambulance Course.

John ED Renstrom
02-16-2017, 11:02 AM
On can gather from that article just how fast training was coming into first responders. Once the medical profession excepted it . Also how it grew in spurts not as a widely excepted practice.