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On the 10th December, 1844, American dentist Horace Wells attended an exhibition of the inhaling of nitrous oxide, at Union Hall, Hartford Connecticut. The use of nitrous oxide or laughing gas by 1844, was already firmly established as a form of entertainment, but not yet medical. The gas’ analgesic potential had been previously noted by the British chemist and inventor Humphrey Davy in the late 18th century, however during his lifetime its use was not one of medical treatments, but the phenomenon of  "laughing gas parties". In 1799, Davy inhaled nitrous oxide and amazed by the effects of laughter it had upon him, named the gas as such. “Laughing gas parties" henceforth became a 19th century craze, with the poets Robert Southey, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, attending Davy’s events.


Impressed by the exhibition's demonstration of nitrous oxide, Wells foresaw its use as more than a form of entertainment, and the next day conducted a trial on himself, where he inhaled the gas, and had a colleague pull one of his teeth, claiming that he had felt no pain. 


This artwork is a reproduction of the announcement of the exhibition, alongside orginal artwork inspired by the macabre history of medical anesthesia . The artwork is also avaliable on a wooden plague. See seperate listing.

Laughing Gas Exhibition

  • Print
    Recreation of titlepage with added historical elements. Printed on handmade paper resembling the look and feel of paper from the period the work was produced (8.5" x 11"), or textured watercolour paper (5"x7"). Printed with archival inks, and packaged in protective sheet and cardboard backing.


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