So the Georgians had laughing gas parties...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I watch game shows quite often, generally because the completely random things they ask the contestants from time to time give me ideas for things to look into. Today I happened to hear a question regarding the early use of nitrous oxide, so I looked into it...and found this.

Namely, in the 1790s, aristocrats started using nitrous oxide recreationally at parties. They referred to these as 'laughing gas parties' and basically all gathered in rooms and breathed in the gas until they reached a euphoric state. It sounds an awful lot like getting high with your friends, only with less harmful drugs and more gases that work as anesthetics. I can't speak from experience on either front since the only drugs I've ever taken at the dentist are modern anesthesia and Novocain and the only recreational drug I've ever used doesn't really count since it's the caffeine in my soda (although I am trying to curb my addiction, which is a story for another time), but I think it's a fitting analogy.

I did a little research on these 'laughing gas parties' because it sounded like something Nigel would stumble onto in his research and have to experiment with because he's Nigel, and here's what I found:

By the 1860s, nitrous oxide was being used as anesthesia for dentistry, but until then it was relatively uncommon and hard to come by, so these parties were generally reserved for the wealthier set. That being said, Nigel has access to both scientific research and money, so he'd be able to grab some for himself easily to see if it both kills pain and makes people euphoric and giddy. Which means he needs test subjects. Which means the domestic staff should run very, very far away because he tends to experiment on them.

And then there's his deadpanning big brother - Basil's involvement in this could be pretty darn interesting. I'll be filing this one away to see what I can do with it at a later time...