Charles Stent (1807–1885) between innovation and business: a dentist’s role in the history of dentistry and surgery

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Emanuele Armocida
Francesco M Galassi

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Abstract

Charles Stent (1807–1885) is remembered for the origin of the word “stent”, now widely used in the surgical practice. The real contribution that Charles Stent actually gave to the progress of medicine, mainly of dentistry, is due to his invention of a compound for dental impression called “Stent’s composition”. This study means to examine the history and the scientific and commercial impact of Stent’s composition. To this aim, judicial reports from the early 20th century, very unusual sources for researches in this area, were used. The trademark possession rights of this product were examined in a court of law and the action is still used today as a reference in Anglo-Saxon case law. After a careful reanalysis of the documents, it can be seen that Charles Stent’s invention brought about an important technological contribution to dentistry, achieving immediate success among dentists. Many industries began to produce devices similar to Stent’s composition. However, the first company that realized the utility of the new compound for dental impressions and bought the trademark from Stent’s heirs was Claudius Ash & Son.

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