Clover's Chloroform Apparatus, 1862
John Snow had suggested that "The most exact way to exhibit chloroform to a patient is to introduce a measured quantity into a bag or balloon of known size and then to fit it up by means of bellows, and allow the patient to inhale from it, the expired air being prevented from returning into the balloon by one of the valves in the facepiece to which it was attached...I did not try it...as the balloon would sometimes have been in the way of the surgeon, and filling the bellows would have occasioned a little trouble." (1) Snow never pursued this idea clinically but, four years after Snow's death, Joseph Clover developed the concept further. Clover's apparatus overcame the problems by having a very large bag which could be hung over the back of the administrator and which was unlikely to need refilling during an operation.
Clover demonstrated this apparatus at the International Exhibition of London in 1862.
Picture : Clover measuring the chloroform before filling the bag with air from the bellows
On the Administration of Chloroform in Dental Operations.
Read before the Odontological Society of Great Britain. March 2nd, 1868
"I have now used this instrument in 1802 cases, not only without any fatal result, but with uniform success in the induction of complete anaesthesia. In many case the patient was known to have emphysema, heart disease, of other affectations supposed to make him a bad subject for chloroform. I am not aware that I have objected to give chloroform in any case since I became possessed of this instrument; believing that if the patient must submit to a painful operation, there is no state of the system in which the careful use of chloroform may not be safely had recourse to." (2)
Prolonged discussion followed this presentation by Clover. Mr Potter was reported as stating that "Mr Clover's was a most ingenious apparatus, but he thought it was too complicated for general use." Dr Kidd was even more disparaging "He was rather a disbeliever in the theory of cardiac syncope, on which Mr Clover's apparatus is based. He believed it was a 'myth' and had thrown back anaesthesia by very many years." But Mr Mummery had the final word about Clover's skill, if not his apparatus "He had operated many times with Mr Clover and Mr Potter, and with those gentlemen never had the slightest passing uneasiness, but he had been frightened out of his wits by people's own doctors." (2)
Picture: Clover demonstrating the administration of chloroform with his apparatus
1. Snow J. On chloroform and other anaesthetics:their action and administration. Benjamin.W.Richardson, editor. London: John Churchill; 1858.
2. Clover JT. On the Administration of Chloroform in Dental Operations. British Journal of Dental Science. 1868;ii:125-41.
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