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Hydraulic dental chair, Europe, 1891-1910

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The first hydraulic dental chair was invented in 1877 by American dentist Basil Manly Wilkerson (1842-1910). The chair was easier to adjust than the older wooden ones that worked using a hand-cranked mechanism. With a padded linoleum seat and head rest, the chair was also more comfortable than previous designs. As a specialised piece of furniture it is representative of the emergence of dentistry as a separate profession. The quality of the chair further suggests that there was a wealthy clientele willing to pay for dental services.

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