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Brandy Decanter

This brandy decanter was used to store chloroform by James Young Simpson during his discovery of the anaesthetic properties of the chemical in 1847. The word "BRANDY" is inscribed on the front of the decanter. Simpson used a particularly foolhardy approach to testing the potential anaesthetic properties of various chemicals. At his Queen Street residence, Simpson and his associates would inhale the fumes given off by different substances and record the effects. After little success, they came to try chloroform on the evening of 8th November 1847. Upon inhaling the vapours, Simpson and his colleagues found themselves "under the mahogany" having all become unconscious! On 10th November, Simpson announced his discovery at a meeting of the Edinburgh Medico-Chirurgical Society, and it was soon being used as an anaesthetic across Europe. You can read more about James Young Simpson’s life and the discovery of chloroform in Morrice McCrae’s book, “Simpson,The Turbulant Life of a Medical Pioneer”, available from the College shop:

Brandy Decanter
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