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History of Ozone

Ozone has been studied for centuries, and its history is rich and extense! Scroll down and learn more about the gas!

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

1785 - The Dutch chemist, Van Marum noticed a strange odor near his electrostatic machine.

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 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.

1801 - Cruickshank’s observed the same odor during experiments into the electrolysis of water.

1840 - The 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.

However, the first time ozone was mentioned by name, it dates back to May 1840, in an essay of 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 SchönbeinSchönbein 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”.

1856 - Thomas Andrews showed that ozone was formed only by oxygen.

1857 - Werner Von Siemens designed an ozone generator, now known as the “Siemens Type” ozone generator.

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 formed 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.

1865 - Jacques-Louis Soret discovers the chemical formula for ozone. A prototype ozonometer was built by John Smyth.

Jacques-Louis Soret (1827-1890) described the structure of ozone as a three-atom modification of oxygen. In 1865 he proved that the formula of ozone was O3 by indirect measurements of its density. In the structure of ozone, the bond length of 127.8 pm is intermediate between a single bond (bond length 148 pm) and a double bond (bond length 110 pm).

1867 - Schönbein confirmed the ozone formula discovered by Jacques-Louis Soret.

1870 - C. Lender reports the first instance of ozone being used therapeutically, in Germany.

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.

In 1873,  Cornelius Benjamin Fox (1839-1922) discovered the ability of ozone for eliminating microorganisms.

For him, there is perhaps no subject more attractive than that of Ozone. (Cornelius Benjamin Fox, “Ozone and Antozone” -1873).

1873 - C. B. Fox related the use of ozone in the elimination of microorganisms.

1879 - Dr. John H. Kellogg published his book “DIPHTHERIA: Its Causes, Prevention and Proper Treatment”

In 1879 Dr. John H. Kellogg (1852-1943) mentions evidence of ozone being used as a disinfectant on his book “DIPHTHERIA: Its Causes, Prevention and Proper Treatment”.

This 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, “Ozone”, explaining in detail the use of ozone for therapeutic purposes.

In 1886, Baron Auguste de Méritens (1834-1898), a French electrical engineer, realizes ozone’s ability to disinfect polluted water which was later recognized in Europe.

1889 - Marius Paul Otto began studying ozone at La Sorbonne University, in Paris.

1893 - Ousbaden, in Holland, get the world’s first water treatment plant using ozone. Ozone is also used for the first time in Algae control.

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.

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‘.

1896 - Nikola Tesla patents his first ozone generator.

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 1898, Dr. Thauerkauf 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 (1872-1945), the originator and founder of Naturopathy, starts practicing in New York, and wrote many articles and books on ozone.

1900 - The Tesla Ozone company, “Tesla Ozone Co.”, is established and starts selling ozone generators to doctors for medical use.

1902 - Ozonated water was described as a successful treatment for several diseases.

In 1902, Dr. J. H. Clarke (1853-1931), a homeopathic doctor and writer in London, made a description 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”.

In the same year, Siemens and Halske  established the first full scale water treatment plant with ozone in German and Dr. Charles Linder of Spokane, in Washington, was written up in an article, in a local paper, which stated that he had injected ozone as a part of his standard medical practice.

1903 - Niagara Falls, in USA, get the first U.S. drinking water installation ozone treated.

1904 - “The Medical Uses of Hydrozoneand Glyzozone", by Charles Marchand, get the US Sergeon General’s stamp

“The Medical Uses of Hydrozone (ozonated water) and Glyzozone (ozonated olive oil)” by Charles Marchand, a New York chemist, in its 19th edition get the US Sergeon General’s stamp of approval on it, this book is in the Library of Congress.

In 1906, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) was formed and every therapy in existence before this time is grandfathered under US law — permitted because of its pre-existence.

In Nice, France, during 1906, the first ozone water treatment plant was 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’.

1909 - Germany starts using ozone as a food preservative for meat cold storage.

1911 - A Working Manual of High Frequency Currents was published by Dr. Noble Eberhart

Dr. Noble Eberhart (1870-1939), the head of the Department of Physiologic Therapeutics at Loyola University, publishes “A Working Manual of High Frequency Currents”. Dr. Eberhart, in Chapter 9, describe in detail the use of ozone to treat tuberculosis, anaemia, chlorosis, tinnitus, whooping cough, asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, insomnia, pneumonia, diabetes, gout and syphilis.

Dr. Noble Eberhart was a pioneer in the use of X-ray, author on several medical subjects and created the first university teaching center dedicated among other things to ozone therapy.

In1912, Dr. H.C. Bennett published Electro-Therapeutic Guide and described the use of Ozol, ozone breathed after running through eucalyptus, pine or thyme oils.

1913 - The Eastern Association for Oxygen Therapy was formed by Dr. Eugene Blass and his German associates.

1914 - During the World War I (1914-1918) ozone was used to treat wounds, trench foot, gangrene and the effects of poison gas.

In the years prior to World War I, there was an increase in the use of ozone installations in various countries.

During the first world war (1914-18) doctors familiar with O3‘s antibacterial properties, and with few other medical resources available to them applied it topically to infected wounds and discovered O3 not only remedied infection, but also had hemodynamic and anti-inflammatory properties.

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.

1915 - Dr. Albert Wolff uses ozone to treat colon cancer, cervical cancer and decubitis ulcers, in Berlin.

1916 - 49 ozone installations are in use throughout Europe (26 of which in France).

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.

Alexander Vosmaer (1866-1944) reported observations by treatment engineers of color removal and iron and manganese oxidation following ozonation.

1920 - Dr. 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.

In 1933, in Gane, researchs was performed on the effect of ozone on banana ripening.

Between 1934-1938 Aubourg and Lacoste,  French physicians, use ozone insufflation.

1930 - A Swiss dentist Dr. E.A. Fisch was using ozone in dentistry, and he wrote many papers about it.

In 1933, the American Medical Association, headed up by M. Fishbein, set out to eliminate all medical treatments that were competitive to drug therapy.

This was the beginning of the suppression of ozone therapy in the US that continues to this day, except in fourteen US states, where doctors are protected by state laws.

In 1935, E. A. Fisch (1899– 1966), a Swiss dentist, had the idea to use ozone in his practice and, he treated Dr. Erwin Payr (1871–1946) a surgeon who had a painful gangrenous pulpit. Dr. E. Payr was so enthusiastic of the ozone effect that he start to use it in his surgical practice with great advantage.

1935 - M. Sourdeau published a paper on Ozone in Therapy in France.

1936 - Ozone is used to depurate shellfish, in France.

In 1936, Dr. P. Aubourg, a French physician, 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.

Dr. P. Aubourg was the first to publish a paper in 1936 on infusion of ozone rectally in the treatment of chronic colitis and fistulae.

1939 - Ozone is used in storing fruits to prevent yeast and mold growth.

1940 - Ozone’s first use in the US to purify the swimming pool at US Naval Academy.

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.

In the 1940’s autohemotherapy (administration of a small quantity of the patient’s ozonated blood) began.

Dr. Hans Wolff wrote the book Medical Ozone, in Germany, in 1940.

1942 - Ozone is used for the storage of eggs and cheese, in the US.

1943 - Ozone is used during the Second World war

During the Second World war, Dr. Robert Mayer treated the FBI prisoners of war in the Ellis Island. Dr. R. Mayer, pediatrician, subsequently learned of medical ozone from one of the German prisoners and has since been applying ozone to patients in the United States for over 45 years  and has safely and effectively given ozone therapy to over 12 thousand people, most of them children.

1948 - Dr. William Turska begins using an ozone generator of his own design, in Oregon.

Dr. Turska writes the article “Oxidation”, in 1951, he pioneers the injection of ozone into the portal vein, thereby reaching the liver.

In 1953, Dr. Hans Wolff, a German doctor, uses ozone in his practice, wrote the book “Medical Ozone” and trained many doctors in ozone therapy.

An ozone generator, patented by Dr. J. Hansler in 1957, 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.

1965 - Ozone 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.

1970 - For the first time in France, ozone is used for algae control.

EPA Logo

In 1973, the IOA (International Ozone Association) was formed to provide the ozone industry with a central data base of ideas, technical documents, and communication and in 1976 the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approves the use of ozone as an antimicrobial oxidant in the US.

In 1977 the number of ozone installations that were in use worldwide had increased to 1043 ozone installations, more than half were located in France.

1990 - Cubans make successfully treatments with ozone to glaucoma, conjunctivitis and retinitis pigmentosa.

1979 - Dr. George Freibott treated the first AIDS patient with ozone.

1980 - Dr. Horst Kief reported AIDS as successfully treated with ozone.

In the 1980’s Dr. Renate Viebahn, after provided a technical overview of ozones biological action, wrote the text “The Medical Use of Ozone” in which she describes innumerable local and system applications of ozone therapy.

In 1982, the 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).

In 1984, the Olympics officially begins using ozone to sanitize pool water.

In 1987, after 7 years of pilot testing, a 600MGD (Million Gallons per Day) ozonation plant is installed in Los Angeles.

1992- The Russians reported the use of ozone in a brine bath to treat burns.

The Russians reveal surprising results for their techniques in treating burn victims with ozone bubbled in brine.

In 1994, Plasmafire Intl sponsored an ozone symposium in Vancouver, with 160 participants and, as a direct result, ozone therapy was recognized as a modality and accepted by the BC Naturopathic Association, with more than 50 naturopaths treating patients with ozone therapy.

In 1995 FDA renewal the GRAS status for the use of ozone in bottled water.

In 1996, Australia and Japan approved the use of ozone for food.

EPRS (Energy Research Institute), organizes a expert panel, in 1997, where it states that ozone is a GRAS for direct contact with food, without FDA objection. The 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, in 1998.

2001 - Ozone is approved by the FDA as a secondary direct food additive, antimicrobial agent.

FDA issues industrial recommendations and recommendations on the use of ozone to process apple juice and cider in the removal of pathogens, in 2004.

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.

2010 - ISCO3 Madrid Declaration on Ozone Therapy.

ISCO3 Logo

ISCO3 (International Scientific Committee on Ozone) wrote, in 2010, the Madrid Declaration which serves as a standard for ozone therapy.

This Declaration was revised in 2015 and contains references and instructions for every kind of ozone application currently used in the scientific ozone community.

2018 - Solution Ozone was founded in Portugal.

Solution Ozone,  a commercial brand registered and created by Gerozone, Lda, in 2018, at the University of Algarve, in Portugal, constituted with the objective of a startup dedicated to the research, development and production of ozone equipments and with the goal of reducing the use of chemicals in the daily life.

In 2020 started its commercial activities in Loulé and, at the beginning of 2021, due to the need to expand according to your facilities, takes a new step, building its factory and commercial facilities in a more central and area of easier access, in Moita, Setúbal district, only 20 minutes from Lisbon.

2019 - The COVID-19 pandemic (SAR-CoV-2) has spread worldwide.

Systemic ozone therapy can be “potentially” useful in SARS-CoV-2.

Ozone has four proven biological properties that could allow its use as an alternative therapy in the different phases of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Ozone could inactivate the virus by direct (O3) or indirect oxidation (ROS and LOPs) and could stimulate the cellular and humoral immune systems, being useful in the early COVID-19 infection phase (states 1 and 2a).

With no cure yet available, prevention and disinfection care are the only measures available to everyone.