The removal of the infectious process caused by an abscess in the periapical tissues was a challenge to dentists in the early part of the 20th century. While they recognized the need to debride the periapical tissues, the process was slow, tedious, and often fraught with failure that resulted in tooth extraction. However, with some creative ingenuity, an irrigation-suction apparatus was developed in the 1930s that enabled rapid and thorough debridement. This appliance went through multiple developmental permutations and was successful in achieving the desired goal. Interestingly, while the purpose of this device was a controlled periapical debridement through the root canal, and not necessarily a focus on a cleaning of the intricacies of the root canal system, the basic concept purported was similar to contemporary approaches used in root canal debridement today.