Wood's metal was first developed in 1860 for dentistry.
This was a difficult find. The most commonly linked sites only ascribe Wood's metal to "B. Wood" and then went into the metal's properties and uses. I had to go to a Google book search to get the history.
First I found in a March 1904 edition of "Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology", where George E. Shambaugh, M.D. described "Wood's Metal Casts of the Ear" for anatomical study. He said, "Wax was used by Bezold in making corrosion casts of the ear. Wood's metal has been used in recent years and makes much better casts, as it is more durable and the casts can be handled without so much danger of injuring them."
Going back further, "The American Journal of Science", Vol. XIII, in 1902, mentioned Wood's metal being used in plastic compression experimentation.
Then came paydirt. A March, 1865 edition of "The Dental Quarterly" (Vol. 4, No. 1, "Fifty cents per annum"!) contained a book notice. It said, "The "DENTAL CIRCULAR AND EXAMINER," is the title of a new Quarterly, edited by B. Wood, M. D., Dentist, of Albany, N. Y. Dr. Wood has had some experience in journalism, and no doubt will make the "Circular and Examiner" both interesting and instructive. The first number appears to be devoted almost wholly to Wood's Metal, but when certain things are taken into consideration, this may be excusable. "
In the quarterly issues of "The Dental Circular and Examiner" (Vol. I, 1865), Wood's metal was advertised in the guise of dental profession news. The inventor being the editor, this was hardly journalistic objectivity's 'crowning' moment. However, Wood does provide a history of his invention and some notices of discovery from the scientific journals at the time. "Dr. B. Wood's Plastic Metallic Filling", has a patent date of March 20, 1860, with improvements patented on Sept. 4, 1864. Wood says, "The Plastic Metallic Filling is designed for making perfect and durable plugs, as a substitute for gold where economy is an object, and for inferior material where the teeth can be saved, and not for temporarily stopping up those which are diseased and worthless." A blurb from the "New York World, (Scientific American, Nur. 17, 1860.)" says, "Dr. B. Wood of Nashville, has discovered a valuable alloy which fuses at 150° Fahr — a lower temperature than the fusing point of any metal previously known." (Advertisement is also made in the journal for patented steel "plugger" instruments and an "Examiner" annual subscription of $1.)
Wood apparently died soon after and there were no more editions. In the "Dominion Dental Journal" (Vol. VIII, 1896), I found this: "What is Wood's metal? The late Dr. B. Wood, of Albany, N.Y., experimented for a long time, hoping to get a filling that would supersede amalgam. The formula was given in the August number of the JOURNAL. I used it for a time, and in some cases with great satisfaction. There is a very small percentage of shrinkage owing to the low temperature at which it can be fused. For small lower crown cavities it is excellent. The profession did not take kindly to it, and it fell into desuetude, though it can be obtained at some of the dental depots yet." It's a good thing the dental profession dropped Wood's metal, since it contains both lead and cadmium, which have proven to be toxic.
In most periodicals, Wood's first name was typically abbreviated to "B.", so I curiously looked up the patent record (# 00027590) on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office site. "Metallic Composition for Fusible Alloy and Other Purposes", granted March 20, 1860, was filed by "Barnabas Wood, of Nashville, Tennessee".
· 1 decade ago