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'An Account of the Extraordinary Medicinal Fluid called Æther' by Matthew Turner, England, 1761

This sixteen-page booklet describes the properties of ether and gives a brief history of its discovery. The largest part of the work outlines its use as a treatment for a number of illnesses, including headaches, gout, epilepsy and rheumatism. Ether was applied either externally to the body part which hurt (using a rag or cloth) or taken internally by swallowing or placing it in the nostrils. For severe pains both treatments were recommended. From 1842, ether was used as an anaesthetic in surgery and dentistry. The pamphlet was written by Matthew Turner, a surgeon and chemist from Liverpool, in 1761. Turner also sold ether and gave information on how his products could be identified easily, even including details of his coat of arms.

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    Glossary: booklet

    Small book consisting of a few sheets that are glued, stitched or stapled together between thin card or paper covers.

    Glossary: epilepsy

    A disorder of brain function characterized by seizures that occur suddenly. The seizures can be triggered by fast flashing lights, especially strobe lighting.

    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: ether

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

    Glossary: rheumatism

    A disorder where aches and pains affect the muscles and joints.

    Glossary: gout

    A disease with painful inflammation of the joints caused by deposits of uric acid salts. It results in acute arthritis and chronic destruction of the joints.