Henry Hill Hickman's satin waistcoat, Europe, 1820–1830

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Henry Hill Hickman's satin waistcoat, Europe, 1820–1830. Henry Hill Hickman (1800–1830) is a somewhat forgotten pioneer of anaesthetics despite the experiments he carried out in the 1820s – mainly on animals. In these rather gory experiments, Hickman would anaesthetise an animal with carbon dioxide before removing a limb whilst observing the creature for signs of pain. Although he chose the wrong gas – later researchers would use safer gases such as nitrous oxide or ether – he did prove that gas inhalation could prevent pain during a surgical operation. However, in 1826 his work was dismissed as “surgical humbug” by The Lancet and Hall died in relative obscurity from TB at the age of only thirty. Contributors: Science Museum, London. Work ID: vx9a2dhd.

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