In 1884, Rowland William Bailey, an Illinois native, earned his D.D.S. from the University of Michigan. By 1888, he had moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he established a dental practice. To strike up business, he distributed a backplate (left) that advertised “Vitalized Air for Painless Extraction” and came with an attached container. Peering into the pouch (upper right) suggests what its underside (lower right) confirms. This was a wall-mounted match safe, with a rough base that was used to strike matches. Such hanging match holders were foolish furnishings for dental offices using flammable anesthetics. Vitalized Air—nitrous oxide mixed with alcohol and chloroform—was certainly combustible. In newspaper advertisements, the daring Dr. Bailey also claimed that his anesthetized treatments, by promoting “a clean mouth” and “healthy digestion,” would keep cholera away. (Copyright © the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, Schaumburg, Illinois.)

In 1884, Rowland William Bailey, an Illinois native, earned his D.D.S. from the University of Michigan. By 1888, he had moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he established a dental practice. To strike up business, he distributed a backplate (left) that advertised “Vitalized Air for Painless Extraction” and came with an attached container. Peering into the pouch (upper right) suggests what its underside (lower right) confirms. This was a wall-mounted match safe, with a rough base that was used to strike matches. Such hanging match holders were foolish furnishings for dental offices using flammable anesthetics. Vitalized Air—nitrous oxide mixed with alcohol and chloroform—was certainly combustible. In newspaper advertisements, the daring Dr. Bailey also claimed that his anesthetized treatments, by promoting “a clean mouth” and “healthy digestion,” would keep cholera away. (Copyright © the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, Schaumburg, Illinois.)

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Jane S. Moon, M.D., University of California, Los Angeles, and George S. Bause, M.D., M.P.H., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.