May 22, 2007

No more fear of the dentist!


Incidentally, I found this statue (Place des Etats-Unis) of Horace Wells, with the inscription “American dentist, Innovator of chirurgical anaesthesia, 1815-1848”. My first and immedate thought, on behalf of us all, was of course: Great THANKS, Horace!!

In 1844 Horace discovered the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) at a circus, tested it on himself and started to use it, quite successfully, with his patients.


However, after some misadventure during a demonstration at a hospital in Boston he decided to give up dentistry. He later spent some time in Europe and Paris selling anaesthesia on behalf of an ex-dentist-partner and acting as a European expert on the subject.

He started some unfortunate experiences with chloroform. One day, delirious, he threw sulphuric acid over the clothing of two prostitutes. Then, realising his act, he committed suicide, at the age of 33.

22 comments:

lasiate said...

merci de rappeler le nom de ce bienfaiteur des mâchoires!

Olivier said...

cela me rappelle que je dois y aller...merci a cet homme, mais j'ai toujours une certaine "peur" avant d'y aller

black feline said...

gee...rather tragic ending :( btw...your moniker "PHO"...is it the same as vietnamese noodle soup?

Peter said...

PHO, not really linked to the soup, although I like it and Vietnam in general. Those are just my total initials. I could have chosen PO, but then it would be the Italian river.

alice said...

This man deserves at least a statue!

hpy said...

Thank you Horace, and PHO.

Matritensis said...

Wow, terrible end!
I don´t know this history, thanks Peter

Drama Div@ said...

That reminds me, I need to see my dentist.. :P thanks

Cergie said...

33 ans ! c'est pas vieux, Heureusement qu'il n'a pas commis ce crime contre lui même plus tôt.
Ceci dit, l'anesthésie chez le dentiste, c'est une bonne chose mais il ne faut pas que ce soit systématique car alors il n'y vont pas mollo comme on dit et pourtant les dents il faut en enlever le moins possible.
C'est facile pour moi de dire cela : j'ai un seuil de douleur très élevé.
(Cela peut être d'ailleurs très embêtant, la douleur est souvent utile comme informateur)

Abraham Lincoln said...

Wow, Peter, what a story. I had no idea about any of this and am very grateful the guy made teeth numbing a possibility.

Your photograph of this man is good too. Sort of mysterious.

I wonder why it is that we set in a dentist chair with fists clenched, and toes stiff and knees locked? Are we waiting for it to hurt?

Today—
Their beaks close, their eyes shut and their heads flop over the edge of the nest.
American Robin series starts today in Brookville Daily Photo.

Kate said...

He sounds, hmmm, how can I say this? A man of many contradictions! Loved the question about "pho" soup!

Ruth said...

I'm grateful to Horace too, but I still don't look forward to someone messing in my mouth. I have painful dentist memories for one thing, spent much of my childhood there.

Nathalie said...

So - not as successful as history wants to make him, eh?

And no, no crocodiles that close to Sydney. You really need to go way up to Queensland for that.

April said...

A tragedy. I hope my dentist isn't doing any experiments ;-)

Shionge said...

A rash act perhaps? Interesting that you shared this with us, thank you Peter :)

Sonia A. Mascaro said...

I want to thanks to Horace, too!
I did not know his tragic history!

Last but not least, thank you for the visit to Imagens and nice comment. Would be great if you post some photos of Venice too. Unfortunately I dont know this wonderful place!

Chuckeroon said...

Oh, Peter! Workmen? What a joker you are! But....there is a certain look about them which makes me think that they might belong to an important local housing charity (rich old 18 and 19 century successful benefactors putting something back) in which case, I advise you put your name down immediatley.

As to Victoria...the line to Windsor starts at Waterloo...highly appropriate ;-)

Peter said...

Thank you "chuckeroon" for the reference to Waterloo! Waterloo is also the station for Eurostar to / from Paris (for the moment - I guess it will be changed, too offensive towards French visitors).

Ash said...

Never knew this!

Thanks for sharing :-)

Cuckoo said...

Hmmmm.. I took 2 days off & you've flooded here with your posts. :)

Nice description of Horace Wells. A tragic end though.
Looking forward to some more such posts.

Zhang said...

Un moindre faux pas causerait un regret éternel.

catherine said...

une de mes meilleures amies est dentiste : ça dédramatise....