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

Made:
1820-1830 in Europe
maker:
Unknown

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Group shot of from left to right A79271, Satin waistcoat, worn by Henry Hill Hickman, 1800-1830 and Brass door plate
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Satin waistcoat, worn by Henry Hill Hickman, 1800-1830

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.

The waistcoat is shown here with Hickman’s door plate (A645118).

Details

Category:
Wellcome (general)
Object Number:
A79271
Materials:
cotton, silk
type:
waistcoat
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • costume
credit:
Thompson, B.E.

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