The first rigid bronchoscopy was performed in 1897 by Gustav Killian when he successfully removed a bone from the right main bronchus of a farmer. At that time, endoscopic visualization of the bronchial tree was restricted because of a lack of satisfactory illumination methods. In 1904, Chevalier Jackson developed the first modern rigid bronchoscope with a small light at its distal end. Since the development of the flexible bronchoscope, it has, over the past 30 years, become the diagnostic instrument of choice for assessing the central airways, as it is less invasive, does not require general anesthesia, and provides superior visualization of smaller peripheral airways. In recent years, however, interest in rigid bronchoscopy has been rekindled by the development of various therapeutic tools for managing both benign and malignant central airway obstruction. Both bronchoscopes have their advantages and disadvantages, and in many instances they can be used together in a complementary fashion.