Horace Wells discovers the aesthetic effects of nitrous oxide gas. When his friends suggested that he patent his discovery, he replied, “No. Let it be as free as the air we breathe”.


Wells’ former dental student and practice partner, William T.G. Morton demonstrated ether anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital and obtained a patent for Letheon (ether). Morton would later offer Wells the “ether franchise” for New York. The Hartford Medical Society was founded, with the image of Horace Wells on its seal.


The Connecticut State legislature declares Horace Wells, the “Discoverer of Anesthesia”.


Wells is acknowledged as the Discoverer of Anesthesia by the Parisian Medical Society.


The Connecticut State Dental Association includes an image of Wells in their seal.


The American Medical Association acknowledges Wells as the discoverer of anesthesia. (The AMA will validate this again in 1944).


A statue of Horace Wells was erected in Bushnell Park in Hartford, as the park’s first monument. This effort was spearheaded by the Hartford dentist James McManus and two physicians Henry P. Stearns and Ebenezer Kingsbury Hunt. The City of Hartford and State of Connecticut each contributed $5000 for the Wells Statue and Connecticut dentists funded the statue’s granite base.


The Horace Wells Club was founded in 1894 to honor and celebrate the 50thAnniversary of the Discovery of Anesthesia by Wells in Hartford on December 11,1844.  As part of the celebration, the Horace Wells Club and the Connecticut State Dental Association dedicated a Wells bronze tablet by the sculpture Enoch Woods at the location of Wells’ discovery on Main Street, across from the Old State House in Hartford. The driving force behind honoring Wells and formation of the Horace Wells Club was James McManus, D.D.S. The celebration of the founding of the Horace Wells Club included numerous dignitaries, among them, Professor Gardner Q. Colton, who was present when Wells discovered anesthesia in 1844. Horace Wells' son Charles, an honorary member of the Connecticut State Dental Association, was also in attendance.


The Hartford Dental Society includes an image of Horace Wells in their seal.


The Horace Wells Club presented a pew to the Trinity College Chapel to memorialize Horace Wells.  A profile bust of Wells is carved between pairs of dental silhouettes, “Horace” and “Wells” beneath and his years of life above, from “1815” to “1848.” Wells’ portrait faces a carved figure of Saint Apollonia, the martyred patron saint of dentistry. A carving of Asklepios (Aesculapius), the ancient Greek god of medicine, tops this end of the pew.


In the late 1930’s the Horace Wells Club initiated and, with the American Dental Association,  began to coordinate the worldwide centennial commemoration of Wells’ discovery of anesthesia. The celebration took place on December 11, 1944 just days before the WWII Battle of the Bulge began in Europe. Dr. Frederic T. Murless, who had been at the 50th anniversary in 1894, was made secretary/treasurer of the centennial committee. The Committee also included Drs. Eugene Clifford (Chair), W. Harry Archer, William J. Gies, and other nationally known dentists.  Later, the American Dental Association published “Horace Wells Dentist, Father of Surgical Anesthesia: Proceedings of Centenary Commemoration of Wells’ Discovery in 1844”.


The Club presented its first “Horace Wells Award” to leaders and organizations in both medical and dental anesthesia. In 2021 the Wells Award was presented to the American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists for their twenty-seven year effort to have dental anesthesia become an American Dental Association recognized specialty, one hundred and seventy-five years after Wells discovered anesthesia.


The Horace Wells Trust was established with funding from E. Clayton Gengras and his father Alfred Gengras,  a Hartford dentist and President of the Horace Wells Club. Originally, the Trust funded scholarships for students and interns “working in some field of anesthesia”. In more recent years, the Trust has funded scholarship for dental students from Connecticut.


The Horace Wells Trust funded the restoration of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Horace Wells window in Center Church in Hartford in the early 1990s.The window had been a gift from Charles Wells, in tribute to his parents, Horace and Elizabeth.


The Wells Club and Dr. Leonard Menczer organized the Wells’ Sesquicentennial Celebration (150th) in Hartford, with the American Dental Association, Connecticut State Dental Association, and the Hartford Dental Society.


In both 2000 and 2017 the Horace Wells Club coordinated major restorations of the Wells Statue in Bushnell Park in Hartford. For more than twenty years the Horace Wells Trust has funded periodic cleaning of the Wells statue.

The Horace Wells Club coordinated the 2004 restoration of the Horace Wells Memorial in Hartford’s Cedar Hill Cemetery. The Horace Wells Trust has funded an endowment for the ongoing maintenance of the memorial.

In 2019 the Club celebrated the 175th Anniversary of Horace Wells Discovery of Anesthesia.

Horace Wells Club membership is currently limited to forty members and meets the first Saturday in December to honor Horace Wells and the discovery of anesthesia.