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A Knock-Out in London

By Linda Tancs

What’s a collector to do with a motley assortment of historic anesthetic apparatus? Why, donate it, of course. That’s what Charles King did in England when he donated his collection to the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) in 1953. That conveyance formed the basis for the development of the Anaesthesia Museum, part of the Anaesthesia Heritage Centre in London. The earliest object in their collections is a resuscitation set from 1774. A unique resource for research into the history of anesthesia, the museum also contains Morton’s demonstration of ether inhalation in 1846 as well as modern anesthetic machines. As part of their World War I commemorations, the AAGBI has compiled an extensive oral history from interviews with anesthetists who served in wars from Vietnam to more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Open Monday to Friday, admission to the facility on Portland Place is free.

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