World History 1865 Part 2

About the history of the world in 1865, the first train robbery, Whymper climbs the Matterhorn, Lister promotes antiseptic surgery.



May 5 The first train robbery occurred at North Bend, O., when a St. Louis-to-Cincinnati locomotive overturned and was looted.

July 14 Edward Whymper, 25, English illustrator turned mountain climber, scaled the Matterhorn, the hitherto unconquered peak of the Central Alps. The Whymper party spent an hour eating, drinking, and resting on the summit, 14,782 ft. above the Swiss village of Zermatt. While there, Whymper lopped off the very top of the Matterhorn, a chunk of mica which he brought back as a souvenir. The descent turned into a disaster, however, when a snapped rope plunged four of the seven men to their deaths. Whymper returned unharmed.

Aug. Scottish surgeon Joseph Lister took the first steps to introduce antiseptic surgery. In the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow, 11-year-old James Greenlee lay with a compound fracture of the left leg. Upon examination, Dr. Lister found a gaping wound an inch wide and several inches deep. Convinced that Pasteur had been correct in blaming bacteria for infection, Lister applied carbolic acid, which a few years before had been introduced as a disinfectant in the treatment of sewage. He then placed a splint about the leg and let the boy rest. Unlike previous compound fractures, this one healed in a record six weeks and without the usual pus and swelling of the surface wound. Restricting his antiseptic treatment to compound fractures at first, he refined his technique until finally he extended the procedure to surgery in 1867. He first removed a deep-seated tumor in the armpit of a man. Later that year he performed cancer surgery on his sister without complications. Despite initial hostility from skeptical doctors, who ridiculed him for boiling surgical instruments and sneered at his passion for cleanliness as "needless housekeeping," Lister's technique drastically reduced the number of postoperative fatalities from blood poisoning, gangrene, and similar infections, and so earned him grudging respect among his peers. He also invented the absorbable ligature and drainage tubes still used in surgery today.

Oct. 9 The first successful underground oil pipeline was laid along the 5 mi. between Oil Creek and Pithole, Pa.

Dec. 18 The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude "except as punishment for a crime."

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