The Corydon Palmer Dental Society was established on March 10, 1913, when the Youngstown Dental Society called a meeting of dentists in Columbiana, Trumbull and Mahoning counties to organize a component of the Ohio State Dental Society.
It was agreed that the society’s name would honor one of the leading pioneers in dentistry, a Trumbull County native, Dr. Corydon Spencer Palmer.
Dr. Palmer was born in Vernon on January 12, 1820. At age 16, he became apprenticed to a silversmith in Warren; during the four years of his apprenticeship he also studied dentistry by “picking up” knowledge from other dentists. In 1839, he opened his first office, in Warren; he was 19 years old.
He soon became known for his inventiveness in the field of dental instruments. He became a member of the board of trustees and a teacher of operative dentistry in the Ohio College of Dental Surgery, which conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery. He was active in organized dentistry, including the Ohio State Dental Society, the Mississippi Valley Association of Dental Surgeons, and the American Dental Association.
In 1843 he traveled to New York to become an engraver, but instead joined Dr. John Burdell in the practice of dentistry. Utilizing his twin skills, he invented the first complete set of instruments for the manipulation of cohesive gold foil. The story is told about him that he once malleted a string of gold beads for a relative using pure gold foil; a jeweler who examined the beads said they were an expert work of art.
His firsts in the profession were many: he invented clamps to use in applying the rubber dam in difficult cases; he taught his own method of putting crowns on roots and building up contours; he pioneered the use of carbolic acid to soothe sensitive cavities before filling and the use of tin foil for inexpensive fillings.
After his return to Warren, patients came from as far as New York to be treated by him; the most prominent were the Vanderbilt family, who traveled in their special car on the Erie Railroad or sent a special car to carry him and his equipment to New York.
An ardent abolitionist, Dr. Palmer was admired for his dedication, inventiveness, artistic ability, genius and extreme modesty.
He died at the age of 97 on February 17, 1917, at the home of his son, Dr. Delos Palmer, in New York, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Warren. The dental society that bears his name continues to dedicate itself to meeting the standards he set.