Name Index


An essay concerning the cause of the endemial colic in Devonshire (2nd edition)

London: Printed by W Bulmer & Co for Messrs Payne & Foss, Pall Mall (1814), 68 pp.


George Baker

Prepared by Michael Steer

Devon colic was a condition that afflicted people in Devon during parts of the 17th and 18th centuries before it was discovered to be lead poisoning. The first written account of the colic comes from 1655. Symptoms began with severe abdominal pains and the condition was occasionally fatal. The condition was commonly attributed to the acidity of the beverage. The precise cause was not discovered until the 1760s when Dr George Baker presented the hypothesis that poisoning from lead in cider was to blame. He observed that the symptoms of the colic were similar to those of lead poisoning. He pointed out that lead was used in the cider making process both as a component of the cider presses and in the form of lead shot which was used to clean them. He also conducted chemical tests to demonstrate the presence of lead in Devon apple juice. The publication of his results met with some hostile reaction from cider manufacturers, keen to defend their product. Once Baker's conclusions became accepted and the elimination of lead from the cider presses was undertaken, the colic epidemic declined. By 1818, Baker's son reported that it was "hardly known to exist" in Devon. The essay was first read in the Theatre of the College of Physicians at London in 1767. This rare and much sought-after book was produced digitally by Google from a copy in the University of California Library collection and can be downloaded from HathiTrust. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.
Andrew, Dr of Exeter 27-8
Baker, Dr George Dedication
Bamfylde, Sir Richard Warwick Bt Dedication
Bontius, Jacobus 24
Bouvart, Monsieur 14
Boyle 54
Brunnerus 23, 52-3
Celsus 3, 55
Citois, Francis 9, 26, 62
Cockelius 52, 66
Douzam, Monsieur 62
Drawitzius 54
Faber 55
Gaubius, Professor 51
Haen, Mr de 59, 61
Havers, Dr 11
Heide, Antonius de 56
Hillary, Dr 20
Huxham, Dr 6, 8-10, 13, 15-6, 57, 61
Malouin, Mr 61
Matthias, Petrus 56
Musgrave, Dr William 5-8
Mynsicht 55
Neuumann 39
Paracelsus 55
Parker, John Esq Dedication
Richelieu, Cardinal Duc de 9
Saunders, Dr 40
Seerup 53, 56
Sennertus 54
Tronchin, Monsieur 15-7
Van Helmont 54
Vicarius 52
Wall, Dr 29, 36
Wepfer 54
Wilson, Mr James 63
Zeller 20, 22, 65
Zwinger, Theodorus 54