Sir James Simpson and two friends, having tested chloroform (mid-1840s)

Sir J. Y. Simpson and two friends, having tested chloroform

‘Sir James Simpson and two friends drink liquid chloroform in an experiment, rather than inhaling the vapour. The shattered drinking-glass used by one of the experimenters lies on the floor.’ [Wellcome Images]


And here is a little bit of background. Chloroform was first created in the 1830s, but it was not until 1842 that Dr Robert Mortimer Glover (London) discovered the anaesthetic qualities of chloroform on laboratory animals. Then in 1847, the Scottish obstetrician James Simpson was the first to demonstrate the anaesthetic properties of chloroform on humans. As Simpson was an obstetrician presumably he hoped to ease the pain of childbirth.

 

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