The label etched on to this clear glass-stoppered bottle tells us it once held liquid chloroform. Chloroform was first used in the United Kingdom as an anaesthetic in 1847 by Scottish obstetrician James Young Simpson. It gradually began to replace ether, which could cause vomiting and lung problems. However, this trend was reversed when the potentially fatal toxicity of chloroform became apparent. Vapours of chloroform were inhaled from a face mask or a chloroform-soaked sponge in an inhaler.
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Glossary: shop round
An agent that causes insensitivity to pain. Applied to either the whole body (general anaesthetic) or a particular area or region (local anaesthetic).
A device for breathing in a drug in order to deliver it to the airways or lungs.
A liquid formerly used as a general anaesthetic although no longer used for this purpose as it causes liver damage and affects the heart rate. It is now used in low concentration to treat flatulence.
A volatile liquid (resulting from the action of sulphuric acid upon alcohol) formerly used as an anaesthetic. Ether was usually inhaled.