Dr Whetzel’s Asthma Powder

My grandfather, Henry Mungall Gordon [1902-1961], died 6 years before I was born. I feel great sadness that he did not live long enough to be with his grandchildren. Sadly, the same was true for his wife Florence [Florence Duncan, our Grandma, died in the summer of 1954].

This is a picture of Henry, my grandfather.  I like this picture as he looks happy reading his paper.

Unfortunately, however, Henry lived with severe asthma. My father Stuart vividly recalls his father inhaling asthma powders through an atomiser to relieve severe breathlessness. My father has recalled these powders as ‘FELZEL’S POWDERS’. However I have not been able to find asthma powders of this name.

However I did find WHETZEL’S POWDERS:

For the ‘temporary relief of the paroxysms of asthma’ WHETZEL’s POWDERS contained: stramonium leaves (powdered), 42% (drug active ingredients) and lobelia herb (powdered) (drug active ingredients).

The National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1947 came into effect on 5th July 1948 and created the National Health Service in Scotland. My father recalls his parents concern that the NHS would have to pay the cost of the asthma powders.

The powders, patented by Dr Frank Whetzel, were made in America, and would have to be shipped to Scotland. This is Dr Frank Whetzel:

Dr Whetzel died in February 1936 [my father Stuart was born 2 months later]. It seems that  the production of Dr Whetzel’s powders was not maintained after his death. As a result the cost of his powders, an ever-dwindling commodity, became exorbitant.

My father recalls the cost as 10s [this was a considerable sum to pay for a preparation that Henry required to use several times a day].

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