top of page
  • Writer's pictureTim Braithwaite

Dr. Robert Carter Moffat’s Ammoniaphone: bottled Italian air for vocal health (1885)

'I would advise using the Ammoniaphone about one hour or one hour and-a-half after having partaken of food. Artificial Italian air reacts by gentle oxidation—the vocal chords are rendered extraordinarily elastic, and they permit of vocalistic feats being performed that are quite wonderful. The lung vesicles become filled with this artificial air and distinct oxidation is set up. Persons who can hardly utter a note after a little time become something more than tyros at vocalism. I have often noticed that in a few minutes ladies and gentlemen have sung several notes higher and lower with increased power and beauty of tone after half a dozen inhalations through the Ammoniaphone.

We will now, if you please, have some illustrations. Will you permit me to shew you how I have pulled out my own voice— you notice how powerful are the tones. I will now sing three octaves from the chest, from the lower C to the C in alto. Observe that there is no straining and no difficulty. There are of course, as you know, few persons living who can do this, but to the constant user of the Ammoniaphone it presents no insuperable obstacle and no harm results.'

Directions for using Dr. Carter Moffat’s Ammoniaphone

'Unscrew the centre cap or nozzle two turns. Take hold of the Ammoniaphone, press the end valves, bend forward, place the lips tightly over the centre cap, and inhale very slowly, but deeply. When a sufficient number of inhalations have been taken, screw down the centre cap, and put away the instrument in a horizontal position.

NUMBER OF INHALATIONS TO BE TAKEN.— The person who desires to cultivate the voice thoroughly should take two deep inhalations daily, an hour or so after a meal, and then exercise the voice. The orator, &c., should speak aloud in large deep tones when practising. The singer should practise the voice in well-sustained round notes. The voice is permanently improved in every way after one year’s use of the Ammoniaphone, and the instrument may be laid aside if wished, but Dr. Carter Moffat advises its use always, as it renders the singer almost proof against colds.

VOCALISTS about to appear on the platform to sing, should take two or three deep inhalations a few minutes before doing so.

ACTORS, SPEAKERS, RECITERS, CLERGYMEN, just before going on the stage, &c., should take several deep inhalations. Always use the Ammoniaphone one hour at least after a meal.

INVALIDS.— In all cases of chest and throat affections, and all pulmonary ailments, the happiest results follow the use of the Ammoniaphone. Invalids should slowly and deliberately take several inhalations every day, increasing the number proportionately to the severity of the attack. Age makes little, if any difference.'


Carter Moffat, 1885, Dr. Carter Moffat’s Ammoniaphone, 3rd edition (London: Medical Battery Company)

47 views0 comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page