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On Fire: Advertising the Burning Success of the Colton Dental Association

  • Nicholas L. Pesa
    Affiliations
    Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
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  • George S. Bause
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: 5247 Wilson Mills Rd, No. 282, Cleveland, OH 44143-3016, USA. Tel.: +1 440 725 0785; fax: +1 888 734 6342.
    Affiliations
    Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

    Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, 2124 Cornell Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

    American Society of Anesthesiologists, Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, 1061 American Lane, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4973, USA
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      Purchased from a Vermont vendor by the senior author, this trade card advertises a Vermonter's nitrous oxide dental use of nitrous oxide for anesthesia. The obverse or front of this ca.1880 card features a young boy kneeling on the ground carefully tending a small campfire. His hat is crumpled and his pants tattered, perhaps reflecting his humble resources. It looks to be a winter's evening as the tree behind him is barren of leaves and ice has formed on the branches above him. Behind the puffs of smoke from his fire, there are a few stars twinkling in the night sky. Two birds sit on the ground opposite the boy, warming themselves by the campfire while another bird is mid-flight and looks to be joining the warm and inviting party. There is a sense of benevolence emanating from the boy as he tends the fire not just for himself, but for the benefit of his small guests. This theme of sharing is reinforced when the viewer recognizes that despite the boy's own meager attire, he is still taking the time to help creatures around him. (See Figure).
      Fig. 1
      FigureThe obverse of an advertising trade card for the Manhattan-based Colton Dental Association, which specialized in administering nitrous oxide anesthesia for dental extractions. Depicting a behatted boy warming himself and three birds alongside a campfire, this ca.1880 card notes on its reverse that children “can take the Gas…as well as adults.”
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      References

      1. Provincial Med Surg J. 1848; 12: 305-306
        • Smith GB
        • Hirsch NP
        Gardner Quincy Colton: pioneer of nitrous oxide anesthesia.
        Anesth Analg. 1991; 72: 382-391