In the 19th and early 20th centuries, obstetric simulators were widely used in medical schools to teach patient assessment skills and to allow students to learn and practice management of a wide range of conditions. Several types of simulators were manufactured, but one, known as the Budin-Pinard phantom, was specifically identified and recommended by J. Whitridge Williams of Johns Hopkins University in a paper he presented to the June 1898 meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Obstetrics simulation became less popular as more women were encouraged to deliver in hospitals, providing trainees the opportunity to learn from actual patients. Today, though, simulation is undergoing a renaissance in obstetrics as a tool to improve learning and patient safety. In light of this shift, the authors examine the origins of simulation in obstetrics training, and specifically why Williams recommended the Budin-Pinard simulator in particular. They investigate the context of simulation in U.S. and Canadian obstetrics training generally up to the early 20th century and provide details about the Budin-Pinard simulator. Finally, the authors offer a discussion of how the Budin-Pinard simulator shaped obstetrics training in the 19th and early 20th centuries and how it can contribute to modern medical education.