Sheldon Friel (1888 – 1970)

Sheldon Friel graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1908. He gained a M.Dent.Sc in 1909 before attending Angle’s School in Connecticut. In 1910 he established a specialist orthodontic practice in Dublin, the first in the UK. In the same year Friel was appointed as Lecturer in Orthodontics at Trinity College Dublin. He was promoted to Doctor of Science in 1928 and in 1941 became the first Professor in Orthodontics in Europe.

Friel contributed much to the advancement of orthodontics. His papers covered a wide range of subjects including muscle testing and training, jaw function and form, the migration of teeth, and occlusion. A particularly important contribution was promoting the use of stainless steel in orthodontics. After witnessing Lucien De Coster’s demonstration of stainless steel at the 1931 International Dental Congress in London, Friel travelled to Belgium to learn more from De Coster. He began using stainless steel bands in 1935 and later spent time developing the use of stainless steel in orthodontics with H. McKeag.

Friel believed that orthodontics should be carried out by specialists, who had acquired a formal education in orthodontics and his views influenced the paper produced by the Special Committee of the BSSO on postgraduate orthodontic training in 1943¹.

Friel was a founding member of the BSSO and became its president in 1924. He held office in many societies in Ireland, the UK and in Europe. He was also awarded many prizes and honours, including the Fellowship of the RCS (England) (1948), the Fellowship of the RCS (Edinburgh) (1951), the Villian Prize (1957) and the Ketcham Award (1960).


¹ Report of the special committee on orthodontic treatment of elementary school children and postgraduate orthodontic teaching (with comments) and undergraduate education in orthodontics. Transactions of the British Society for the Study of Orthodontics 1942-43; 30: 114-133.