Ernest H. Volwiler

From Ohio History Central

Ernest H. Volwiler invented Pentothal, an anesthetic used in surgery.

Volwiler was born on August 22, 1893, in Hamilton, Ohio. He graduated from Miami University with a bachelor's degree. Volwiler then earned a Masters degree and a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Illinois. Upon graduating with his doctoral degree, Volwiler accepted a position with Abbott Laboratories, near Chicago, Illinois.

At Abbott Laboratories, Volwiler first served as a chemist. By the time that Volwiler retired from this company, he had become its chief executive. His greatest contribution to medicine was the development of Pentothal. Pentothal is also sometimes used in interrogations, because, when applied to a person, it tends to make the subject more truthful. Because of this discovery, Volwiler was eventually inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio.

Volwiler remained at Abbott Laboratories for his entire career. He died on October 3, 1992.