Snow Inhaler, Mark II
WLM ID: aikn | Catalog Record
John Snow (1813-1858) was an English physician who is recognized for pioneering work in anesthesiology as well as epidemiology. He was the first physician to specialize in anesthesia, and his studies of both ether and chloroform are considered classics. He is credited with advancing the use of anesthesia for labor pain when many professionals and laymen strongly opposed it. In fact, he administered chloroform to Queen Victoria for the births of two of her children, Prince Leopold and Princess Beatrice. The Queen pronounced the effects "delightful", and her approval made obstetrical anesthesia suddenly fashionable.
Richard H. Ellis, an English anesthesiologist, has studied Snow's works and classified Snow's inhaler designs into four categories, called 'marks'. Each of these has distinctive features. This inhaler falls into the category that Ellis called 'Mark II'. This design includes a warm water bath to make vaporization more efficient, and a regulating stopcock to control the amount of vapor being administered. Only two examples of this inhaler survive today.
Generally, Snow is better known today for having identified the cause of cholera. In fact, his investigative skills in epidemiology were so far ahead of his peers that his theory for the cause of cholera was not accepted until eight years after his death.