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Two ‘Amplon’ bottles of cyclopropane gas, New York, United States, 1940-1955

‘Amplon’ is a trade name for liquid cyclopropane gas. The gas was first synthesised in 1885 in the United States and was in use as an anaesthetic from 1930 onwards. After piercing the tops, the gas was connected to and inhaled through a face mask. Made by E R Squibb & Sons in New York, cyclopropane was used especially for chest surgery. The gas’s main drawback was that it was inflammable and so it was replaced by non-flammable gases in the late 1950s.

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    Glossary: gas cylinder

    A cylinder in which pressurized gas is stored

    Glossary: anaesthetic

    An agent that causes insensitivity to pain. Applied to either the whole body (general anaesthetic) or a particular area or region (local anaesthetic).