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This simple anaesthetic kit would have been intended for use by the German Army during the First World War. Liquid anaesthetics such as ether would be dropped on to the cotton though the funnel and inhaled by the patient before surgery. The cotton cover is stretched over a folding nickel-plated Schimmelbusch mask. The mask was designed by Curt Schimmelbusch (1860-1895), a German pathologist and surgeon. The kit is kept in a cotton bag labelled "Betäubungsgerät" – which translates from the German as “stunning equipment”.

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    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).

    Glossary: inhaler

    A device for breathing in a drug in order to deliver it to the airways or lungs.

    Glossary: ether

    A volatile liquid (resulting from the action of sulphuric acid upon alcohol) formerly used as an anaesthetic. Ether was usually inhaled.