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

Science Museum, London

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Credit: Henry Hill Hickman's satin waistcoat, Europe, 1820-1830. Credit: Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


About this work

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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). maker: Unknown maker Place made: Europe



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