New Mode of Preparing a Spirituous Solution of Chloric Ether in American Journal of Science and the Arts, 21, 1832
New Haven: Converse, 1832. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION OF A LANDMARK PAPER present in both the famous Dr. Haskell F. Norman Library and the Landmarks of Science and Medicine from the Library of Andras Gedeon, both collections handled by Christie’s.
In this paper, Guthrie presents one of three independent discoveries of Chloroform that were, ironically, all discovered at about the same time. Guthrie’s discovery was particularly important as it was literally first and because the method he employed it his was the closest to the modern method. Samuel Guthrie was a 19th century physician and chemist who discovered the anaesthetic chloroform (tri-chloromethane) in 1831, by distilling chloride of lime with alcohol in a copper barrel, using it as a mild anesthetic in amputation surgeries.
"When first made, it was known as "Guthrie's Sweet Whiskey." In Guthrie's communication [paper offered here] it will be seen that he was unaware that his preparation was a new substance. His purpose was to find an inexpensive method for the manufacture of 'chloric ether'” (Faulconer & Keys, Foundations of Anesthesiology, Vol. I, p. 442). Guthrie wrote: “During the last six months a great number of persons have drunk of the solution of chloric ether not only freely, but frequently to the point of intoxication.” This substance was variously known as the 'Dutch liquid', 'chloride of hydrocarbon' and 'chloride of olefiant gas'. It was almost certainly dichlorethane, a substance which has many of the properties of chloroform” (ibid).
ALSO includes landmark paper on North American spiders by Nicholas Marcellus Hentz and a paper on the geological age of reptiles by Gideon Mantell.
REFERENCES: Norman 959. Garrison Morton 1850 and 5648. Landmarks of Science and Medicine from the Library of Andras Gedeon, 23 April 2008, Christie’s London, 194. Item #212
CONDITION & DETAILS: New Haven: Converse. Complete volume. 8vo. (8.5 x 5.5 inches, 213 x 138mm). 3 unrelated plates (a fourth, a portrait of Eli Whitney is missing). Bound in black buckram, gilt-lettered at the spine. Ex-libris with marks at spine neatly blacked. Small ex-libris stamp on the first few pages. Tightly, solidly, and cleanly bound. Lightly toned interior, clean throughout. Very good condition.