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From the Archives of the Archives
May 1, 2008

A look at the past . . .

Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(5):724. doi:10.1001/archopht.126.5.724

Colonel Henry Smith died in his old home and birthplace, Clogher, Tyrone County, Ireland, on Feb. 28, 1848 [1948]. . . . Dr. Smith served thirty years in Punjab. . . . He was a general, as well as an ophthalmic, surgeon. At his operations, in a small theater, the bazaar population would frequently be gazing in at the window. Over the tables a stoneware jar filler with dilute red mercuric iodide (1:3,000) hung from the roof, from which a small rubber tubing could supply a continuous stream to the field of operation. Smith was a true follower of Lister, and his operations were successful. It was his habit also to smoke a cigar through the operation. “If I have to lay down my cheroot, Harvey,” he said, “it is a bad operation; and if my cheroot goes out, it is a damned bad operation.” No doubt the curiosity of sightseers turned many such jesting remarks into actualhappenings.

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