“Nitrous air” (a mixture of nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and nitrous oxide) was first described by James Mayou, a 17th-century medical practitioner from Bath. The actual discovery of nitrous oxide is attributed to Joseph Priestly in 1772. Since its early use, nitrous oxide has passed through periods of greater and lesser popularity. However, its use for minor surgical procedures as a sole anesthetic agent as well as an adjunct to more potent inhalation agents continues to the present time.