Dr. Ralph and Mrs. Olga Crawford Canadian Dental Collection
Diagnostic & Treatment Artifacts
Silver metal dental anaesthetic inhaler made for Somnoform; consists of round base with wire mesh bottom; two curved pieces of metal cover end; hollow metal tube coming out of base at slight angle; handle from base leads upward; round mask with pointed top to go over mouth and nose is perpendicular…
Silver metal dental anaesthetic inhaler made for Somnoform; consists of round base with wire mesh bottom; two curved pieces of metal cover end; hollow metal tube coming out of base at slight angle; handle from base leads upward; round mask with pointed top to go over mouth and nose is perpendicular to base; knob on side of inhaler controls how much Somnoform, how much air, or what mixture of the two is being inhaled through the mask.
Number Of Parts
Transfer from the Dental Canada Fund; previously housed in the Dentistry Canada Museum (Ottawa)
Engraved on side: "STRATFORD-COOKSON // SOMNOFORM INHALER"; engraved on side: "AIR // 1/4 // 1/2 // 3/4 // SOMNOFORM"; engraved on base: "7813"
Storage Room 0010
On display, Queen's University Department of Medicine third floor, August 20, 2013.
Length 22.7 cm x Width 15.8 cm x Depth 8.9 cm
Metal slightly tarnished
"Dental Materia Medica and Therapeutics", Herman Prinz, 1913, p. 315; "'Somnoform' a New Aid to Surgery.", New York Times, June 4, 1904
Dr Ralph and Mrs Olga Crawford donated their extensive Canadian dental collection to the DCF to create the museum in 1997; further donations were received while Dr Crawford was Curator Emeritus at the Dental Canada Museum until its closure in 2008; this item was donated by Dr. Norman Ironstone from Ottawa, Ontario; Somnoform was a general anaesthetic made from 60 parts ethyl chloride, 35 parts methyl chloride, and 5 parts ethyl bromide; it was invented by Georges Rolland, director of the dental school at Bordeaux, in 1901; the anaesthetic had a very low boiling point, and turned to gas immediately upon contact with air; it had to be used with a special inhaler or, originally, with a piece of cloth with paper and cotton batting inside; one of its virtues was the fact that a patients breathing stopped before their heart stopped beating, so dentists could monitor their patients breathing in case of problems; it was claimed to be better for minor surgery than nitrous oxide because of its longer anaesthetic time, and better to use before ether or chloroform; while the instructions claimed it was the safest of all anaesthetics, a few deaths did occur, and its use was fairly short-lived