London, South Kensington
23 April 2008
SNOW, John (1813-1858). On the inhalation of the vapour of ether. [Offprint from the London Medical Gazette, new series 4 (1847)]. London: Wilson and Ogilvy, . 12° (203 x 129 mm). 5 leaves (of 6, lacks the final blank). 2 large wood engravings on p.6 (all inner margins torn and repaired with archival tape, a few other short repaired marginal tears, headlines shaved on pp.4, 9 and 10). Modern plain wrappers; morocco-backed folding case. Provenance: THE NORMAN COPY (book-label).
FIRST EDITION, EXTREMELY RARE OFFPRINT ISSUE OF SNOW'S FIRST DESCRIPTION OF HIS ETHER INHALER. The son of a Yorkshire farmer, John Snow was apprenticed to a surgeon at the age of 14. Although he was received as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, the only course open to him after receiving his medical doctorate from the University of London was to enter general practice. He became a devoted physician, primarily serving the London working poor. Snow's early research concerned the physiology of respiration, which 'placed him in a favorable position when ether was introduced as an anesthetic in 1846... Snow at once began experimenting with the substance and invented an apparatus for its administration, based on physiological principles. He demonstrated its use at St. George's Hospital with so much smoothness and success that he was invited to work with Liston [the first surgeon to employ ether, during a leg amputation in December 1846], and later with most of the well-known surgeons of London. Rapidly Snow became the premier anesthetist of the country' (DSB). The present article contains his first printed description and illustration of his regulating apparatus, which he modified soon after. Garrison-Morton 5658 (note); Norman 1965.
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