Forms of intravenous injection and infusion
began as early as 1670. However, Charles Gabriel Pravaz and
Alexander Wood were the first to develop a syringe with a needle
fine enough to pierce the skin in 1853.
Many of the technical difficulties which had
faced those experimenting with blood transfusion were removed
after 1853 by the invention of the hypodermic syringe, with its
hollow pointed needle. Credit for the evolution of this
universally useful appliance is usually given to Doctor
Alexander Wood (born 1817), who was appointed Secretary of the
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1850. For some time,
Doctor Wood had been experimenting with a hollow needle for the
administration of drugs. Eventually, he felt confident enough to
publish in "The Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Review" a short
paper - 'A New Method of treating Neuralgia by the direct
application of Opiates to the Painful Points' - in which he
showed that the method was not necessarily limited to the
administration of opiates. At about the same time, Charles
Gabriel Pravaz of Lyon was making a similar syringe which
quickly came into use in many surgeries under the name of 'The
According to MedhelpNet.com:
"Charles Gabriel Pravaz (1791-1853), French
surgeon, and Alexander Wood (1817-1884), Scottish physician,
independently invented the hypodermic syringe. It is first used
to inject morphine as a painkiller."
Benjamin A. Rubin invented the "Pronged
Vaccinating and Testing Needle" or vaccination needle. This was
a refinement to the conventional syringe needle.
Arthur E. Smith received 8 U.S. patents for a
disposable syringe from 1949-50. (U.S. Patent nos. 2524363,
2524362, 2497562, 2490553, 2490552, 2490551, 2478845, 2478844)
In 1954, Becton, Dickinson and Company created
the first mass-produced disposable syringe and needle, produced
in glass. It was developed for Dr. Jonas Salk's mass
administration of one million American children with the new
Salk polio vaccine.
In 1955, Roehr Products introduced a plastic
disposable hypodermic syringe called the Monoject.
In 1956, Colin Murdoch, a pharmacist from Timaru,
New Zealand patented a plastic, disposable syringe to replace
the glass syringe. Colin Murdoch has patented forty-six
inventions including: a silent burglar alarm, automatic syringes
for vaccinating animals, the childproof bottle top, and the
tranquilizer gun which he invented in 1959. Colin Murdoch -
In 1961, Becton Dickinson introduced its first
plastic disposable syringe called the Plastipak.
African American inventor Phil Brooks received a
US patent for a disposable syringe on April 9, 1974.