In 1776 Joseph Priestley, a British chemist, discovered the gas nitrous oxide. Another British chemist, Humphry Davy, proposed nitrous oxide as a means for pain-free surgery, but his views were dismissed by other physicians of the day. In the next century, Horace Wells, a Connecticut dentist, began to experiment with nitrous oxide, and in 1845 attempted to demonstrate its anesthetic qualities to a public audience. However, the patient woke before the operation was over and began to scream in pain. Because of this spectacle, it took another 20 years before nitrous oxide again gained attention. By 1870, nitrous oxide was a commonplace dental anesthetic.
Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Ambiguity - Ambiguity to Anticolonialism in Middle East - Ottoman Empire And The Mandate SystemAnesthesia - History Of Anesthesia, Nitrous Oxide, Chloroform, Emergence Of Anesthesiology, Types Of Anesthesia, Theory Of The Mechanism Of Anesthesia - Ether