The following is taken from "Ilion 1852-1952." We thank the Mayor and other officials of Ilion for granting us permission to provide this information to our visitors.

Dentists in Ilion

There is no record of a dentist being located in Ilion a hundred years ago, but three years later we know there was at least one. George W. Bungay who had come to Ilion at the request of the Remingtons to start a local newspaper. He is probably the only Ilion dentist ever able to print his "business card" in his own paper. How he divided his time between two such different professions can only be guessed at but his literary fame was the more spectacular. A few of his poems are still included in anthologies of American poetry.

By 1865 Ilion boasted several dentists: Dr. Babcock who provided "artificial teeth on rubber front, price $8 to $20", Dr. Thomas Haskell,"Surgical and Mechanical Dentist" who administered Nitrous Oxide Gas; Dr. William Reynolds who advertised "Teeth extracted without pain"; and W. D. Stillman.

About 1870 Dr. C. Cutler Smith opened an office and became "Ilion's most popular dentist." He practiced here for 27 years until his death. He also served his profession as president of the State Dental Society in 1884. He developed a tooth paste of his own and sold it "in silvered tubes like artist's pigments." Dr. Smith had various assistants who worked with him: Dr. Fred Joy, Dr. Brownell and, finally, Dr. Richard B. Redway who continued in the same location after Dr. Smith's death. Dr. Redway was a prominent person in the life of his home village as a church and civic leader.

Dr. J. A. Schmidt, son of John V. Schmidt, had an office in Ilion for five years until he left to enter medical college to become an M. D.

In the 90's came Dr Olmstead who, for a time, also sold pianos and Dr. James Kittams whose office was in the Ggrimes and Pelton Block, First and Morgan Streets. We are told that Dr. Kittam's ability was so outstanding and his personality so magnetic that without doubt, he had the largest clientele of any professional man in this vicinity. Even with an appointment, a wait of possibly three hours was the rule. He is remembered affectionately by many Ilionites of today.

Others who have practiced here include Dr. William Lewis, Dr. Louis Diss, Dr. Kendrick Osgood and Dr. Francis and Dr. Durant who left to serve his country in World War II.

But the dentist whose name will be before the public longest is Dr. William H. Elliot who came to Ilion 1858-1865 (dates differ) and had an office in the Bank Block. It is his avocation for which he continues to be famous. In connection with his dental office he had a laboratory and "a little shop." The little shop was "full of machines, tools, models, engines, retorts, books, etc." and here he perfected a total of over one hundred thirty inventions and improvements. Harris' Dictionary of Dental Science gave him credit for thirty in connection with dental instruments and machinery. These were not patented as this is contrary to the laws of the profession. Over one hundred inventions were patented, some sixty being on various kinds of sporting and military guns, pistols and the like. Some of these were manufactured by Remington Armory, some by Colt Armory. He is listed as one of the more important Remington inventors. His interest must have been general for we find mention of a patent on an improvement to roller skates. His first patent was taken out in 1833 and was signed by President Andrew Jackson.

This dental history is sponsored by:
Dr. James J. Marine, 37 West Main Street
Dr. James S. Anderson, 18 Otsego Street.

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Created 6/7/02
Copyright © 2002 Paul McLaughlin/ Judy Breedlove/ Martha S. Magill
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