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Wallace Calvin Abbott

Born: 12-Oct-1857
Birthplace: Bridgewater, VT
Died: 4-Jul-1921
Location of death: Chicago, IL
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, IL

Gender: Male
Religion: Methodist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Doctor, Business
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Abbott Laboratories

In the 1880s, Chicago physician Wallace Calvin Abbott prescribed such commonly-used painkillers as codeine, morphine, quinine, and strychnine, all liquid alkaloid extracts which were susceptible to spoilage. He was one of the first American physicians to adopt a new technique, developed by a Belgian surgeon, Adolphe Burggraeve, to distill alkaloids -- the parts of medicinal plants that have therapeutic effect -- into a solid form. Working in his kitchen, Abbott measured his drugs into small pills he called "dosimetric granules", providing a more accurate dosage and a more effective, long-lasting drug than other medicines available at the time. He also sold Dr. Abbott's Tooth Ache Drops.

As demand for Abbott's remedies grew, he rented a small factory in 1888, and in 1900 incorporated his Abbott Alkaloidal Company. During World War I, when pharmaceuticals from Germany were not available in America, US companies were authorized to manufacture trademarked German drugs, and Abbott's business boomed. Largely inactive in his company's profound growth, Abbott preferred to practice medicine, and made house calls on his bicycle. He also served as editor of the medical journal The Alkaloidal Clinic, later renamed and still published as the American Journal of Clinical Medicine.

Abbott died in 1925 a very wealthy man. His company, now known as Abbott Laboratories, is one of the world's largest pharmaceutical conglomerates, best known for the sedative Nembutal, sodium pentathol ("truth serum"), and the artificial sweetener cyclamate (Sucaryl), which was banned in the US in 1969 as a carcinogen.

Father: Luther Abbott (farmer, b: 1825, d. 1904)
Mother: Wealthy Barrows Abbott (b: 1834)
Sister: Lucy Abbott (Abbott Alkaloidal executive)
Wife: Clara Ingraham Abbott (one daughter)
Daughter: Eleanor Abbott

    University: St. Johnsbury College
    University: Dartmouth College
    Medical School: MD, University of Michigan (1885)

    Abbott Laboratories Founder and President (1888-1905)

Author of books:
A Brief Therapeutics of Some of the Principle Alkaloidal Medicaments: With Suggestions for Clinical Application (1901)
Text-Book of Alkaloidal Therapeutics (1905)


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