August 2015 Business History: Dr. Samuel Guthrie

A medical pioneer

Dr. Samuel Guthrie, a surgeon during the War of 1812, discovered chloroform, a popular 19th century anesthetic, in 1831. His house is pictured at left and below, a portrait of the doctor. Photo from Watertown Daily Times archives.

Dr. Samuel Guthrie, a surgeon during the War of 1812, discovered chloroform, a popular 19th century anesthetic, in 1831. His house is pictured at left and below, a portrait of the doctor. Photo from Watertown Daily Times archives.

Sackets’ Dr. Samuel Guthrie discovered chloroform

By Lenka Walldroff, NNY Business

Maybe it’s something in the water? That’s one possible explanation for the long list of entrepreneurs and inventors who have called Jefferson County home. Safety pins, bed springs, tile drains, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (better known as the S.P.C.A.), and the concept of the five and dime were all invented or created within Jefferson County’s borders. Tyler Coverlets are native to the county as are percussion caps and a mechanism for their ignition which made flintlock muskets obsolete. But perhaps one of the best known inventions is that of chloroform. [Read more…]