October 8: Hiram Nichols Wadsworth (1896)

Dr. H.N. Wadsworth submitted the first patent for a toothbrush in the United States (number 18,653) on November 7, 1857. Hiram Nichols Wadsworth was born in Burlington, Vermont, in February 1819. Wadsworth was one of a family of six children, who were early left to the care of a widowed mother, and it was always a matter of great satisfaction to him in his later years to state that the entire six children had grown to years of maturity, and had done credit to the care and teaching of the mother. He commenced the study of dentistry with Dr. Elliott of Plattsburg and subsequently attended lectures at the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery (the first dental school in the world), where he graduated with the class of 1853.

Dr. Wadsworth married his first wife, Sophia, at Epiphany and settled in Washington, D.C., where he practiced dentistry continuously for over forty years, until ill health obliged him to retire in 1893. During all that long period he occupied a most prominent place in his profession. Few have enjoyed the patronage of such a distinguished clientele, his patrons being from among the most distinguished circles in civil, military and diplomatic life and it was his good fortune to command not merely their confidence and patronage, but to enjoy their respect and esteem as well. He was kind and affable, social, genial, yet dignified; a polished, courteous gentleman, and a splendid example of the true professional man. His motto throughout all his practice was, “The very best which I can possibly do is none too good for my patients.” He took a deep interest in the welfare and advancement of dentistry, and was instrumental in starting the Washington City Dental Society, one of the first annual addresses ever offered before that body being delivered by him. Two daughters, Emily and Marie, were baptized and confirmed at Epiphany. Funeral services for Dr. Wadsworth are recorded in Epiphany’s register. His interment was at Oak Hill Cemetery.

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