Forms of intravenous injection and infusion began as early as 1670. However, Charles Gabriel Pravaz and Alexander Wood were the first to develop a syringe with a needle fine enough to pierce the skin in 1853.
"Blood and Blood Transfusions"
By Major R. Ellison, Surgeon 33rd Regiment, 1st Brigade Virginia Vol.
Many of the technical difficulties which had faced those experimenting with blood transfusion were removed after 1853 by the invention of the hypodermic syringe, with its hollow pointed needle. Credit for the evolution of this universally useful appliance is usually given to Doctor Alexander Wood (born 1817), who was appointed Secretary of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1850. For some time, Doctor Wood had been experimenting with a hollow needle for the administration of drugs. Eventually, he felt confident enough to publish in "The Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Review" a short paper - 'A New Method of treating Neuralgia by the direct application of Opiates to the Painful Points' - in which he showed that the method was not necessarily limited to the administration of opiates. At about the same time, Charles Gabriel Pravaz of Lyon was making a similar syringe which quickly came into use in many surgeries under the name of 'The Pravaz Syringe'.
According to MedhelpNet.com:
"Charles Gabriel Pravaz (1791-1853), French surgeon, and Alexander Wood (1817-1884), Scottish physician, independently invented the hypodermic syringe. It is first used to inject morphine as a painkiller."
Benjamin A. Rubin invented the "Pronged Vaccinating and Testing Needle" or vaccination needle. This was a refinement to the conventional syringe needle.
Arthur E. Smith received 8 U.S. patents for a disposable syringe from 1949-50. (U.S. Patent nos. 2524363, 2524362, 2497562, 2490553, 2490552, 2490551, 2478845, 2478844)
In 1954, Becton, Dickinson and Company created the first mass-produced disposable syringe and needle, produced in glass. It was developed for Dr. Jonas Salk's mass administration of one million American children with the new Salk polio vaccine.
In 1955, Roehr Products introduced a plastic disposable hypodermic syringe called the Monoject.
In 1956, Colin Murdoch, a pharmacist from Timaru, New Zealand patented a plastic, disposable syringe to replace the glass syringe. Colin Murdoch has patented forty-six inventions including: a silent burglar alarm, automatic syringes for vaccinating animals, the childproof bottle top, and the tranquilizer gun which he invented in 1959. Colin Murdoch - Biography
In 1961, Becton Dickinson introduced its first plastic disposable syringe called the Plastipak.
African American inventor Phil Brooks received a US patent for a "Disposable Syringe" on April 9, 1974.
The microneedle device is a painless alternative to the needle and syringe. Mark Prausnitz, a chemical engineering professor from the Georgia Institute of Technology teamed together with electrical engineer Mark Allen to develop the prototype microneedle device, which looks like the nicotine quit smoking patch. The microneedle is made up of 400 silicon-based microscopic needles, each the width of a human hair. The tiny, hollow needles are so small, that any medication can be delivered through the skin without reaching the nerve cells that create pain. Microelectronics within the device would control the time and dosage of the medicine delivered.
PowderJect Pharmaceuticals of Fremont, Calif., created the hypospray a device that uses pressurized helium to spray dry powdered medicines on the skin for absorption.
Image: Charles T Sage Inventor - January 10 1843 Patent for a Syringe