Oswald Fergus

Client

Edward Oswald Fergus (1861–1946) became a Licentiate in Dental Surgery of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 1884. 1 He spent a postgraduate year in the United States at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating as Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1892, before returning to practice in Glasgow, first at 27 Blythswood Square, then from 1898 to 1920 at 12 Clairmont Gardens. In 1894, at the Annual General Meeting of the British Dental Association, he demonstrated his pioneering invention, the 'dental phantom', a mechanical simulation of the human mouth for training student dentists. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1906.

Fergus attended meetings of the Glasgow Conservative Association and the Natural History Society of Glasgow. 2 He published a volume of verse – Light and Shade – which gives further clues to his tastes and leisure interests: it includes poems written for recitation at meetings of the Western Angling Club, and a satire entitled 'Impressions on Impressionism', ridiculing a modern artist who favours Whistlerian nocturnes over Ruskinian truth to nature. 3

Notes:

1: D. Mason, J. Beaton, 'The Fergus Family and the Scottish Royal Colleges', Scottish Medical Journal, 54.2, May 2009, pp. 48–51.

2: Glasgow Herald, 9 December 1897, p. 7; 28 October 1898, p. 9; 4 September 1899, p. 6.

3: Oswald Fergus, Light and Shade, Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons, 1907.