Chloro-Methyl, Or Bichloride Of Methylene, a substance produced by exposing to sunshine, in a glass globe, chlorine and gaseous chloride of methyl. The products of the decomposition, which consist, in addition to the ehloro-methvl, chiefly of chloroform, are collected in bottles, artificially cooled and connected with the generating globe. The chloride of methyl may be made for the purpose by heating together one part of wood spirit, two parts of common salt, and three of sulphuric acid, and collecting the gas over water. The chloride of methyl possesses anaesthetic properties, but is less manageable than the bichloride, which is the subject of this article. The latter is a colorless liquid, of an odor analogous to that of chloroform, of specific gravity 1.344 and boiling point 88°. Its formula is C2H2Cl2. It mixes readily with absolute ether, and the mixture volatilizes evenly and equally. When inhaled it produces, according to Dr. B. W. Richardson, insensibility without previous excitement, and the insensibility when produced continues longer without an additional administration than that caused by other anaesthetics.
It may be made to destroy life, but after death muscular irritability remains longer than with some other anaesthetics, and consequently the chances of a restoration of the vital functions are greater. The bichloride of methylene has been somewhat employed as a surgical anaesthetic by Dr. Richardson, who first brought it into notice for this purpose, and by others. It seems to be more agreeable than ether, but unfortunately does not share with ether the superiority over chloroform of being less dangerous to life.