An Interactive Annotated World Bibliography of Printed and Digital Works in the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences from Circa 2000 BCE to 2022 by Fielding H. Garrison (1870-1935), Leslie T. Morton (1907-2004), and Jeremy M. Norman (1945- ) Traditionally Known as “Garrison-Morton”

15961 entries, 13944 authors and 1935 subjects. Updated: April 29, 2024

WELLS, Horace

1 entries
  • 5660

A history of the discovery of the application of nitrous oxide gas, ether, and other vapours, to surgical operations.

Hartford, CT: J. G. Wells, 1847.

In 1844 Wells, a Hartford dentist, successfully used nitrous oxide as a dental anesthetic. To publicize his discovery, he arranged a demonstration at Harvard Medical School in January 1845, but this proved a fiasco. Wells discussed his discovery with a former pupil, W.T.G. Morton (Nos. 5652-53). Morton got the idea of using ether instead of nitrous oxide from Charles Thomas Jackson (1805-80). After Morton and Jackson patented the us of ether as an anesthetic, Morton attempted to discredit Jackson's contribution, but Jackson continued to assert his key role in the discovery. Jackson also played an essential role in the discovery of the American magnetic telegraph, by describing to Samuel F. B. Morse its essential features, leading to Morse's invention. Wells, who was not in very good mental health, eventually committed suicide by opening a vein in his arm and at the same time inhaling ether vapor. Digital facsimile of Wells's pamphlet from Google Books at this link.

Subjects: ANESTHESIA › Ether, ANESTHESIA › Nitrous Oxide, DENTISTRY