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victorian review • Volume 34 Number 1 22 cultures. At first glance, Snow’s faith in inhalers and Simpson’s penchant for a hanky may seem idiosyncratic. But embedded in the anaesthetic inhaler is the way in which Snow and his followers knew the body and its systems. Snow’s design and use of inhalers stemmed from thinking about the body as a collection of organs and systems with universal and predictable functions. He quantified anaesthetics within this framework. Simpson’s preference for a handkerchief drew on older ideas of bodily individuality: Simpson relied on the patient’s response to anaesthesia, rather than quantifying the dose. The popularity of Simpson’s method, and later, Skinner’s mask, suggests that old views of the body continued to shape practice throughout theVictorian period. The nuances of medical knowledge and practice are thus revealed through the artifacts of anaesthesia. Works Cited Duncum, Barbara. The Development of Inhalational Anaesthesia. London: Royal Society of Medicine, 1994. Hooper,William.“Inhalation of Oxygen for the Resuscitation of Etherized Patients.” Pharmaceutical Journal (April 1847): 508–9. Miller, James. Surgical Experience of Chloroform. Edinburgh: Sutherland & Knox, 1848. Robinson, James. On the Inhalation of the Vapour of Ether. Preface by Richard H. Ellis. Eastbourne: BailliereTindall, 1983. Simpson, JamesYoung. Account of a New Anaesthetic Agent as a Substitute for Sulphuric Ether in Surgery and Midwifery. Edinburgh: Sutherland & Knox, 1847. Skinner,Thomas.“Letter.” British Medical Journal I(1873): 353. Snow, John. On the Inhalation of Ether in Surgical Operations. London: Churchill, 1847. Snow, Stephanie J. Operations Without Pain:The Practice and Science of Anaesthesia in Victorian Britain. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Squire, Peter.“Apparatus for Inhaling theVapour of Ether.” Transactions of the Pharmaceutical Society 13 January 1847: 350–59. • Andrometer Mich a el Tav el Cla r ke • For a device that was used only briefly, the andrometer had a surprising impact, powerfully shaping Americans’ conceptions of their position in the world and influencing the way the body was understood and represented throughoutVictorian culture. The andrometer began not as the measurement device pictured here but as a self-improvement scheme. In 1774 Sir William Jones proposed in a private letter that one could plan and assess one’s accomplishments by devising “a mathematical scale of achievements proper to man, divided in quinquen- 23 Victorian Things: Clarke nial periods over the life span” (qtd. in Rogers 17). He called his scale the “andrometer.” It is unclear whether the Edinburgh tailor who devised the first version of the instrument pictured here, a man named Macdonald, was aware of Jones’s original scheme, and so it may be a stretch of historical reasoning to claim that Jones’s project inspired Macdonald’s invention. Given the consistent way Victorians regarded visible bodily traits as signs of inner character, however, it is tantalizing to hypothesize that a painstaking technique for measuring the success and accomplishments of a person might have been converted into a meticulous device for measuring bodily dimensions. Whether or not he was aware of Jones’s previous use of the term, Macdonald built his andrometer in the early nineteenth century after accepting a large clothing contract with the military and finding he needed a quick method for measuring soldiers for made-to-order clothing. Macdonald’s device measured stature, neck width, shoulder width, waist size, leg length, and height to knee. Little use was made of the instrument after its job was complete; it was donated to the museum of Edinburgh University, where it was exhibited to military officers and medical students (Ballingall 35–36). The andrometer pictured here was modelled on Macdonald’s device and constructed during the U.S. CivilWar, after the Union defeat at the first battle of Bull Run. It was part of a government plan to conduct anthropometric studies of CivilWar soldiers for the purpose of improving the efficiency of federal The Andrometer. Illustration from B.A. Gould’s Investigations in the Military and Anthropological Statistics of American Soldiers (1869): 235. victorian review • Volume 34 Number 1 24 troops. One might justifiably ask how physical measurements of soldiers might improve military efficiency.This was not a question, however, that preoccupied the commission carrying out the task.They were concerned instead with collecting...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 22-28
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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