In the early twentieth century, many physician-anesthetists packed example(s) of an oropharyngeal airway in their toolboxes. Although metal varieties invented by Connell or Waters were status quo, these forced physicians to tolerate a patent but potentially traumatized patient airway in the form of bruised lips and chipped teeth. Enter Arthur E. Guedel, M.D. (1883 to 1956, left), with his “nontraumatic pharyngeal airway,” publicized in 1933 from his adopted hometown of Beverly Hills, California. Constructing his semicircular oropharyngeal airway of rubber that could flex to any individual’s anatomy, Dr. Guedel included initially a short metal insert to prevent occlusion by the teeth. As materials improved, metal-free Guedel airways (right) were manufactured from more rigid rubbers and then plastics. Still used today, the Guedel airway has withstood the test of time. (Copyright © the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology.)

In the early twentieth century, many physician-anesthetists packed example(s) of an oropharyngeal airway in their toolboxes. Although metal varieties invented by Connell or Waters were status quo, these forced physicians to tolerate a patent but potentially traumatized patient airway in the form of bruised lips and chipped teeth. Enter Arthur E. Guedel, M.D. (1883 to 1956, left), with his “nontraumatic pharyngeal airway,” publicized in 1933 from his adopted hometown of Beverly Hills, California. Constructing his semicircular oropharyngeal airway of rubber that could flex to any individual’s anatomy, Dr. Guedel included initially a short metal insert to prevent occlusion by the teeth. As materials improved, metal-free Guedel airways (right) were manufactured from more rigid rubbers and then plastics. Still used today, the Guedel airway has withstood the test of time. (Copyright © the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology.)

Melissa L. Coleman, M.D., Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania, and George S. Bause, M.D., M.P.H., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.