History of Ozone

Ozone has been studied for centuries, and its history is rich and extense!

If you are interested in Ozone, make sure you scroll down and learn more about the gas!

ozone history história ozono

Several chemists have been studying Ozone throughout the centuries, Tesla included!

The following session briefly tells the history of Ozone.

Brief Overview of Ozone History

Probably, the first person to detect the ozone, through the smell, was the Dutch chemist Martinus Van Marum (1750-1837). The description of his experiments mentioned the notion of a characteristic smell around his electrifier. In Solution Ozone History of Ozone Van Marum Martinus 1826 Image 1785 he “discovers” a light blue gas, with the help of an English instrument maker John Cuthbertson (1743-1821). The latter was hired to construct a giant double plate-glass frictional electrostatic generator.

Marum certainly noted, “the odor of electrical matter,” determined that air or oxygen, subjected to an electrical discharge, tarnished mercury, but he did not identify the gas as an allotrope of oxygen.

However, the first time ozone was mentioned by name, it dates back to May 1840, in an essay Solution Ozone History of Ozone Christian Friedrich Schönbein Imageof the German chemist  Christian Friedrich Schönbein (1799-1868), consequently, This discovery was presented to the University of München. Similarly, Schönbein had noticed the same characteristic scent during his experiments, which Van Marum had measured and tried to identify before. He called this “ozone” gas, due to the Greek word for perfume – which is “Ozein”.

Therefore, the discovery of ozone is usually attributed to Schönbein. Schönbein is still known as the first person to research the mechanisms of ozone and, organic matter reaction. Read “The History of Ozone – The Schönbein Period, 1839-1868”.

After 1840, many studies on the mechanism of disinfection of ozone were elaborated. But it was not until almost twenty years later that the new substance was revealed to be a triatomic allotrope of oxygen: in 1856 Thomas Andrews showed that ozone was forSolution Ozone History of Ozone Ernst Werner von Siemens 1885 Imagemed only by oxygen, and in 1863 Soret established the relationship between oxygen and ozone by finding that three volumes of oxygen produce two volumes of ozone. The first ozone generator was manufactured in Berlin, by the German inventor Ernst Werner von Siemens (1816 – 1892), that also wrote a book on the application of ozone in water, which gave rise to a series of pilot projects, during which the ozone disinfection mechanism was researched.

In 1857 Werner von Siemens built the first superior induction tube with which Kleinmann made the first attempt to destroy microorganisms and also performed the first gas insufflations in animals and humans.

In 1870, the German physician Lender published the first study about the practical biological effects related to ozone in the disinfection of water and its antimicrobial properties, which revolutionized medicine during this period, more than half a century before the appearance of penicillin.

The first technical-scale application of ozone took place in Oudshoorn, Netherlands, in 1893, and this ozone installation was thoroughly studied by the French scientist. The first facility for the disinfection and purification of water for human consumption and waste was created.Solution Ozone History of Ozone Marius-Paul Otto Image

The French chemist Marius-Paul Otto (1870 – 1939) was received in 1897 as doctor of sciences at the French University  of Sorbonne for his thesis entitled Research on ozone. It was in 1907, in Nice, that Marius-Paul Otto created the “Compagnie Générale de l’Ozone”, now “Company of Water and Ozone”, the first company using ozone for the sterilization of water. Since than, ozone was applied in Nice continuously, causing Nice to be called the ‘place of birth of ozone for drinking water treatment‘.

Solution Ozone History of Ozone Dr. John Harvey Kellogg Image

In 1873,  Cornelius Benjamin Fox discovered the ability of ozone for eliminating microorganisms. There is evidence of its use as a disinfectant since 1881, according to that mentioned by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (1852 – 1943) in his book on diphtheria. The discovery crossed the ocean to North America and in 1885, the Florida Medical Association published the first textbook on medical applications of ozone, written in 1885 by Dr. Charles J. Kenworth.

Solution Ozone History of Ozone Nikola Tesla Image

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), was issued a patent for a corona discharge ozone generator using charged metal plates to act on ambient air, and in 1900 founded Nikola Tesla “Tesla Ozone Co.”, manufacturer of generators for medical use.

In 1911, Dr. Noble Eberhart, from the Department of Physiology at Loyola Chicago University, claims that he used ozone to treat tuberculosis, anemia, pertussis, asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, gout and syphilis. He created the first university teaching center dedicated among other things to ozone therapy.

In the years prior to World War I, there was an increase in the use of ozone installations in various countries. The first application of gaseous ozone was performed during World War I for treating German soldiers affected by gaseous gangrene due to Clostridium anaerobic infections very sensitive to ozone.

Around 1916, 49 ozone installations were in use throughout Europe, 26 of which were located in France. However, this increase faltered soon afterward as a consequence to the research of toxic gases, which evidently lead to the development of chlorine, that appeared to be a suitable alternative to ozone, as it did not have the shortcomings in management, such as low applicative guarantee and low yield of ozone generation. Ozone production did not reach its prior level until after World War II.

Solution Ozone History of Ozone Dr. P. Aubourg ImageIn 1936, Dr. P. Aubourg was the first to propose the insufflations of gaseous Oxygen/Ozone in the rectum to treat chronic colitis, anal fistulae, by using a metal cannula. This approach is very empirical and unprecise and today it is mostly used by Cuban physicians.

Solution Ozone History of Ozone Dr. E. A. Fisch Image

In 1937, E. A. Fisch (1899– 1966), a Swiss dentist, had the idea to use ozone in his practice and, he treated Dr. E. Payr (1871–1946) a surgeon who had a painful gangrenous pulpit. Dr. Payr was so enthusiastic of the ozone effect that he start to use it in his surgical practice with great advantage.

In 1940, the number of ozone installations that were in use worldwide had only grown to 119. In 1977 this number, had increased to 1043 ozone installations. More than half of the installations were located in France.

Today, chlorine is still preferred over ozone for water disinfection. However, over the last few decades the application of ozone applications did start to increase again, once this was caused by the discovery of trihalomethanes (THM) as a harmful disinfection byproduct of chlorine disinfection, in 1973. So, scientists started looking for alternative disinfectants.

Another problem was an increase in disturbing, difficultly removable organic micro-pollutants in surface waters. These compounds appeared to be oxidized by ozone faster than by chlorine and chlorine compounds.

Furthermore, ozone turned out to deactivate even those microorganisms that develop resistance to disinfectants, such as Cryptosporidium.




1785The Dutch chemist, Van Muram noticed a strange odor  near his electrostatic machine.
1801Cruickshank’s observed the same odor during experiments into the electrolysis of water.
1840The substance that gave off this odor is officially discovered and named ozone (from the Greek word “ozein” to smell), by a German scientist called Christian Friedrich Schönbein.
1857Werner Von Siemens designed an ozone generator, now known as the “Siemens Type” ozone generator.
1865Jacques-Louis Soret discovers the chemical formula for ozone. A prototype ozonometer was built by John Smyth.
1867Schönbein confirmed the ozone formula discovered by Jacques-Louis Soret.
1870C. Lender reports the first instance of ozone being used therapeutically, in Germany.
1879Dr. Kellogg mentions evidence of ozone being used as a disinfectant on his book “DIPHTHERIA: Its Causes, Prevention and Proper Treatment”.
1885“Ozone” by Dr. Charles J. Kenworth, is published by the Florida Medical Association explaining in detail the use of ozone for therapeutic purposes.
1886Meritens realizes ozone’s ability to disinfect polluted water which was later recognized in Europe.
1893Ousbaden, in Holland, get the world’s first water treatment plant using ozone. Ozone is also used for the first time in Algae control.
1896Nikola Tesla patents his first ozone generator.
1897Marius-Paul Otto, First ozone company – “Compagnie Generale de l’Ozone”, in Nice.
1898Thauerkauf and Luth starts the Institute for Oxygen Therapy in Berlin. They test ozone on animals and produce Homozon by bonding ozone to magnesium. A German doctor called Dr. Benedict Lust,  the originator and founder of Naturopathy, starts practicing in New York, and wrote many articles and books on ozone.
1900The Tesla Ozone company, “Tesla Ozone Co.”,   is established and starts selling ozone generators to doctors for medical use.
1902Description of the success of using ozonated water in anaemia, cancer, diabetes, influenza, morphine poisoning, canker sores, strychnine poisoning and whooping cough treatments in “A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica” by J. H. Clarke (London). Siemens and Halske  established the first full scale water treatment plant with ozone in German.
1903Niagara Falls, USA, get the first U.S. drinking water installation ozone treated.
1906In Nice, France, the first ozone water treatment plant is installed which continued to utilize ozone for many years to come, giving rise to the title ‘place of birth of ozone for drinking water treatment’.
1909Germany starts using ozone as a food preservative for meat cold storage.
1911Dr. Noble Eberhart, the head of the Department of Physiologic Therapeutics at Loyola University, publishes “A Working Manual of High Frequency Currents”. Eberhart uses ozone to treat tuberculosis, anaemia, chlorosis, tinnitus, whooping cough, asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, insomnia, pneumonia, diabetes, gout and syphilis.
1913The Eastern Association for Oxygen Therapy was formed by Dr. Blass and his German associates.
1914During the World War I (1914-1918) ozone was used to treat wounds, trench foot, gangrene and the effects of poison gas.
1915Dr. Albert Wolff uses ozone to treat colon cancer, cervical cancer and decubitis ulcers, in Berlin.
191649 ozone installations are in use throughout Europe (26 of which in France).
1920Dr. Charles Neiswanger, President of the Chicago Hospital College of Medicine, publishes “Electro Therapeutical Practice.” where the chapter 32 was entitled “Ozone as a Therapeutic Agent.”
1929“Ozone and Its Therapeutic Action” is published in the US describing how to treat 114 different diseases successfully with ozone. The authors were the heads of all the leading American hospitals.
1932Ozone was used in dentistry by Dr Edwin A. Fisch, a Swiss dentist.
1933Research was performed on the effect of ozone on banana ripening, in Gane.
1934Between 1934-1938 Aubourg and Lacoste,  French physicians, use ozone insufflation.
1936Ozone is used to depurate shellfish, in France.
1939Ozone is used in storing fruits to prevent yeast and mold growth.
1940Ozone’s first use in the US to purify the swimming pool at US Naval Academy.
1942Ozone is used for the storage of eggs and cheese, in the US.
1948Dr. William Turska begins using an ozone generator of his own design, in Oregon.
1951Dr. Turska writes the article “Oxidation”, he pioneers the injection of ozone into the portal vein, thereby reaching the liver.
1953Dr. Hans Wolff, a German doctor, uses ozone in his practice,  wrote the book “Medical Ozone” and trained many doctors in ozone therapy.
1957An ozone generator, patented by Dr. J. Hansler, was the basis of the German expansion of ozone therapy for many years. In Germany, ozone is also used for the oxidation of iron and manganese in drinking water.
1965Ozone was used for color control in surface water in Ireland and the United Kingdom (including Scotland), the first ozone report to be used to control the color of the substance. Swiss research leads to the use of ozone to oxidize micro-pollutants and pesticides.
1970For the first time in France, ozone is used for algae control.
1973IOA (International Ozone Association) was formed to provide the ozone industry with a central data base of ideas, technical documents, and communication.
1976EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approves the use of ozone as an antimicrobial oxidant in the US.
1979Dr. George Freibott treated the first AIDS patient with ozone.
1980Dr. Horst Kief reported AIDS as successfully treated with ozone.
1982The FDA (Food and Drug Administration), in the US, grants GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) status for ozone use in bottled water, as requested by the IBWA (International Bottled Water Association).
1984The Olympics officially begins using ozone to sanitize pool water.
1987After 7 years of pilot testing, a 600MGD (Million Gallons per Day) ozonation plant is installed in Los Angeles.
1990Cubans make successfully treatments with ozone to glaucoma, conjunctivitis and retinitis pigmentosa.
1992The Russians reveal surprising results for their techniques in treating burn victims with ozone bubbled in brine.
1995Renewal by the FDA of the GRAS status for the use of ozone in bottled water.
1996Approval in Australia and Japan for use of ozone for food.
1997EPRS (Energy Research Institute), organizes a expert panel, where it states that ozone is a GRAS for direct contact with food, without FDA objection.
1998The US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), in conjunction with the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1991, confirms that ozone is effective in removing hazardous pathogens and chlorine resistant Cryptosporidium from water.
2001Ozone is approved by the FDA as a secondary direct food additive, antimicrobial agent.
2004FDA issues industrial recommendations and recommendations on the use of ozone to process apple juice and cider in the removal of pathogens.
2010ISCO3 Madrid Declaration on Ozone Therapy.
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