AKA Samuel Guthrie, Jr.
Birthplace: Brimfield, MA
Location of death: Sackett's Harbor, NY
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, West Hill Cemetery, Sackett's Harbor, NY
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Doctor, Chemist, Inventor
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Discovered chloroform
Military service: US Army (War of 1812)
Samuel Guthrie was a 19th century physician and chemist who discovered the anaesthetic chloroform (tri-chloromethane) in 1831, by distilling chloride of lime with alcohol in a copper barrel, using it as a mild anesthetic in amputation surgeries. The same chemical compound was discovered independently by a French scientist, Eugène Soubeiran, in October 1831, and by the German chemist Justus Liebig in November 1831, but Guthrie wrote of his findings in the summer of the same year, so he is generally acknowledged as the discoverer.
He studied at College of Physicians and Surgeons (now Columbia University). In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Guthrie was a successful businessman, best known in his time for manufacturing chloric ether, vinegar, and priming powder for firearms which made flintlock muskets obsolete. He also invented a process for converting potato starch into molasses.
Father: Samuel Guthrie (physician, b. 23-May-1756, d. 23-Aug-1808)
Mother: Sarah Guthrie
Brother: James Guthrie (farmer, b. 19-Aug-1784)
Mother: Anna Guthrie (stepmother)
Brother: Rufus Guthrie (half-brother, physician)
Brother: Alfred Guthrie (half-brother, physician)
Wife: Sibyl Sexton Guthrie (m. 1804, d. 10-Feb-1840, two sons, two daughters)
Son: Alfred Guthrie (engineer, b. 31-Mar-1805, d. 17-Aug-1882)
Son: Edwin Guthrie (soldier, b. 11-Dec-1806, d. 20-Jul-1847 Mexican-American War)
Daughter: Harriet Guthrie Chamberlain (abolitionist, b. 1810, d. 3-Sep-1864)
Daughter: Cynthia Guthrie Burt (b. 2-Jun-1823, d. 23-Jul-1884)
Medical School: MD, Columbia University
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