Chloroform was discovered in
July of 1831 by an American chemist named Samuel
Guthrie. He mixed
whiskey with chlorinated lime while trying to find a cheap but effective
pesticide know as Dutch Liquid (C2H4Cl2). Even though the liquid contained
properties of Dutch Liquid, it is believed that Guthrie found liquid Chloroform.
The liquid that Guthrie made was extremely sweet causing people to call it
“Guthrie’s Sweet Whiskey”. Then a few months later Eugène
Soubeiran, a French chemist, and Justus von Liebig, of Germany, also found
forms of chloroform.
Soubeiran produced chloroform by dropping chlorine bleach powder on top
of acetone or ethanol. This caused a generic process of a haloform reaction,
which is when haloform (CHX3) is produced by halogenations of a methyl ketone.
Chloroform, however, was named and chemically described by a French Chemist
Dumas in 1834. That same year Marie-Jean-Pierre
Flourens noted that chloroform could be used as an anesthetic. The first use
of chloroform was used during childbirth by the
Young Simpson in the year 1847. Later chloroform flooded into the surgical
fields replacing ether. However, surgeons and doctors quickly returned to the
use of ether due to the fact that chloroform was found extremely toxic. The use
of Chloroform caused what is called “sudden sniffer’s death” or cardiac
arrhythmia. Cardiac arrhythmia is the speeding up or slowing down of the heart.
These muscle contractions can cause sudden death. They tried to derive other
antistatic from chloroform, such as Trichloroethylene, but these proved to be