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Ben Franklin made a silver coil catheter for his brother in 1752.
(1836), for instance, eased some catheterizations with its tapered and curved tip.

But only after Charles Goodyear earned a 1851 patent for vulcanized or moldable hard rubber could catheters be custom-shaped. While today's materials may be superior, Goodyear's innovation opened the door for mass production of curved models for many tasks.

No other invention, however, had the staying power of Minneapolis urologist, Frederick E.B. Foley's rubber balloon catheter. With its introduction in June 1935, doctors finally had an in-dwelling hemostatic device that could be held in place by its own configuration—not bandages or tape. Nothing matched Foley's single, continuous design in ensuring drainage post-op or short term. Though he ultimately lost in a battle with industry firm C.R. Bard for the catheter's patent, decades later a balloon catheter is still referred to simply as a "Foley."

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