Ethylene (C2H4) was first generated by Ingenhauss in 1779 and its anesthetic property was demonstrated in laboratory animals by Luessem in 1885, but it remained for Luckhardt and Carter1 to carry out conclusive experimentation on the physiologic properties of ethylene gas and to report 106 cases in April 1923, the first group in which surgical operations were performed under ethylene anesthesia on the human subject, at the Presbyterian Hospital, Chicago. Thus ethylene has been in use as a general surgical anesthetic for only sixteen years.
In August 1924 the senior author2 instituted the use of ethylene as an anesthetic agent in the Robert Packer Hospital because neither ether nor nitrous oxide, previously used, has been entirely satisfactory as the usual anesthetic for general surgical cases. In this clinic no routine anesthetic is used, but an attempt is made to choose the ideal one for the
GUTHRIE D, WOODHOUSE KW. SAFETY FACTORS IN ETHYLENE ANESTHESIA. JAMA. 1940;114(19):1846-1850. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810190008003