Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Pneumatic Institute

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An institute to provide medical care using gases and their curative powers (chemical or "pneumatic" medicine), of Dowry Square in Hotwells, Bristol

1793 Thomas Beddoes sent James Sadler to London to set up the Pneumatic Institute although this did not happen. Beddoes moved to Bristol and set up as a physician.

Erasmus Darwin had experimented with the use of air and gases to alleviate infections and cancers in patients.

1798 Humphry Davy wrote to Thomas Beddoes about his experiments on nitrous oxide and subsequently was recruited to become Beddoes's assistant in Bristol.

1799 Thomas Beddoes established the Pneumatic Institute in Clifton for clinically testing Darwin's ideas.

1801 Davy left Bristol to move to the Royal Institution in London

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Dr Thomas Beddoes and James Watt: preparatory work 1794-96 for the Bristol Pneumatic Institute, by D A Stansfield and R G Stansfield, Med Hist. 1986 July; 30(3): 276–302.