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Innovations: Disposable syringe

The world's first plastic disposable hypodermic syringe was developed in Adelaide in 1949. It was the invention of Charles Rothauser (the founder of the Caroma bathroom accessories company) using the new technique of plastic injection moulding.

By the late 1940s, penicillin was being used to treat infections, but it tended to block up glass syringes, so an alternative was sought. Rothauser first developed a polyethylene syringe, but it was difficult to sterilise because polyethylene melts when subjected to heat. In 1951 he improved on this design to produce injection-moulded syringes made of polypropylene which could be heat sterilised.

SA syringe pioneer dies at 83
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