The discovery of aspirin : a reappraisal

Sneader, Walter (2000) The discovery of aspirin : a reappraisal. BMJ, 321 (7276). pp. 1591-1594. ISSN 0959-8138

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    Abstract

    The discovery of aspirin is customarily said to have resulted from Felix Hoffmann's rheumatic father encouraging his son to produce a medicine devoid of the unpleasant effects of sodium salicylate. Hoffmann, a chemist in the pharmaceutical laboratory of the German dye manufacturer Friedrich Bayer & Co in Elberfeld, consulted the chemical literature and came across the synthesis of acetylsalicylic acid and then prepared the first sample of pure acetylsalicylic acid on 10 August 1897. This was marketed in 1899 under the registered trademark of Aspirin. This account of the discovery first appeared in 1934 as a footnote in a history of chemical engineering written by Albrecht Schmidt, a chemist who had recently retired from IG Farbenindustrie—the organisation into which F Bayer & Co had been incorporated in 1925.