Copy of Morton's inhaler

1870-1920 in England

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Copy of Morton's inhaler for ether anaesthesia, first used 16 October 1846, possibly English, 1870-1920

The first recorded use of ether as an anaesthetic was in October 1846, during an operation to remove a tooth. The dentist was William Thomas Green Morton (1819-1868). This is a copy of the inhaler Morton used in his public demonstration, which took place in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. The air is drawn into the glass jar where ether-soaked sponges emit vapour which is inhaled by the patient through the glass mouthpiece at the top. The patient’s expired air is diverted by a valve in the mouthpiece. This type of inhaler was widely used and adapted by a large number of dentists. The original is on show at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

On display

Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Object Number:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), complete, glass and sponge
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
Massachusetts General Hospital

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