The Biography Summary of Ernest Volwiler

August 31, 2018 238 views

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Ernest Volwiler – Short Biography

Ernest Volwiler was a staff chemist at the Abbot Laboratories. He became famous when he and Donalee L. Tabern discovered Pentothal in 1936. This discovery revolutionized modern medicine.

At first, they were looking for a substance that could produce unconsciousness when incorporated directly into a person’s bloodstream.

After 3 years of research, they found the substance they were looking for. The orientation was smooth, with no muscle twitching, and has no effects on the psyche. Pentothal can be used for a minor operation or for longer major operations.

Ernest Volwiller – Serving Abbot Laboratories from the Ground Up

Ernest Volwiler was born in Hamilton, Ohio. He got his bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Ohio. He also got his master’s degree and a doctorate degree in chemistry at the University of Illinois.

He was working at the Abbot Laboratories as a staff chemist pioneering in the anesthetic pharmacology field. He and his colleagues were able to discover a substance that revolutionized modern medicine in the field of anesthetics.

Ernest Volwiler was also instrumental in the financial success of Abbot Laboratories when he helped the company in the commercialization of sulfa drugs and penicillin during the Second World War.

In 1930, Ernest Volwiler became director of research of Abbot Laboratories; he then became Vice President in 1933. Thirteen years later, Ernest Volwiler was again promoted to Executive Vice President and by 1950 he became the President. In 1958 he became chairman of the board and in 1959, he became the chairman of the board of Abbot Laboratories International. During his tenure as CEO, Abbott Laboratories was able to produce significant financial returns.

The Ernest Volwiler Quick Bio

Full Name: Ernest H. Volwiler

Birth Date: August 22, 1893

Birth Place: Hamilton, Ohio

Company: Abbot Laboratories

Industry: Pharmacology

Key Success Traits: industrious worker, generous philanthropist, determined dreamer


Ernest Volwiler was active in the community. It’s often said that his caring nature towards other people was one of the driving forces that pushed him in the discovery of Pentothal.

Ernest Volwiler was included in the National Inventors Hall of Fame for the works he has done on Pentothal.

He received honorary degrees from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, Northwestern University, Southwestern at Memphis, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Knox College, Coe College, and also Lake Forest College.

He has also received a gold medal from the American Institute of Chemists and was awarded the Priestley Medal by the American Chemical Society in 1958.

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