B-D Insulin Syringe, Dr. Busher's Automatic Injector

B-D Insulin Syringe, Dr. Busher's Automatic Injector

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Herbert Busher, a physician in St Paul, Mn., designed a hypodermic syringe particularly for the self-administration of insulin. This example was made by Becton-Dickinson in New Jersey. One label on the cardboard box reads “B-D INSULIN SYRINGE / For use with / 20 OR 40 UNIT INSULIN / BECTON, DICKIN-SON & CO., RUTHERFORD, N. J.” Another reads “DR. BUSHER’S / AUTOMATIC / INJECTOR / PAT. 1,845,O36.”
Ref: Herbert H. Busher, “Hypodermic Syringe,” U.S. Patent 1,845,036 (Feb. 16, 1932).
Herbert Busher, “Automatic Hypodermic Syringe for Self Administration of Insulin and Other Uses,” Journal of the American Medical Association 102 (1934): 1152.
Herbert Busher, “Automatic Hypodermic Injector,” Science 81 (1935): 256.
Currently not on view
Object Name
syringe kit
syringe, insulin, with automatic injector
Other Terms
syringe kit; Hypodermic
date made
after 1932
patent date
Becton, Dickinson and Company
place made
United States: New Jersey, Rutherford
Physical Description
glass (plunger material)
glass (barrel material)
glass (tip, force material)
steel (needle material)
steel (injector, automatic needle material)
overall: 1 1/8 in x 3 3/4 in x 1 3/4 in; 2.8575 cm x 9.525 cm x 4.445 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent number
Credit Line
Gift of Eleanor P. Custis
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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My husband just passed away after having diabetes for over 62 years and I found this syringe and the box way back in his bureau drawer. When he was first diagnosed for Type 1 at Joslin Clinic in Boston that was the syringe he used.
Dr. Herbert Busher was my grandfather. I grew up with the lore that Grandpa had invented this but I never saw it until now. What a thrill to see that the story is true and pictures of the actual injector. I'm happy that he was able to help people with diabetes. He had several siblings with diabetes.
I remember my older brother using an injector back in the 1950's to give himself his insulin injections. He was 3 years old (approx. 1951) when they found out he had type 1 diabetes. He is still alive today. Wish he had kept his old equipment.
I am honorary curator of the University of Cape Town Nagin Parbhoo History of Anaesthesia Museum and whilst going through a box of intravenous and lumbar puncture needles came across a specimen of Dr Busher's automatic insulin injector. Tomorrow I will try and find a compatible syringe and see how it functions.
I saved the Busher Automatic Injector No. 40 and the one 1cc glass lure tip Insulin Syringe reorder No. 2024.by B-D which my mother used on me because I have type 1 diabetes. Both of these tools are still in the original boxes! TYpe 1 diabetic since 1960.
"One of these items, Dr. Busher's automatic insulin injector, belongs to my family from a treasure trove trunk from Grandfather (Gmother had diabetes).She died in 1944 of diabetes complications.The apparatus has two new needles to accompany it but no box. Is there a way to buy the glass barrel, which seems to be missing from ours? Gail"

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