Diethyl ether was first used as anesthetic during a surgery by the physician Crawford W. Long on March 30, 1842. Later, on 16 October 1846, William Morton publicly demonstrated ether anesthesia. Diethyl ether is a colorless, sweet smelling and highly volatile flammable liquid. It is administered as a vapor, and acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, causing unconsciousness. It was widely used as an anesthetic agent, but because of its high flammability and post-anesthetic side effects, replaced with halogenated ethers.
– Painting: “The First Operation with Ether” by Robert Cutler Hinckley