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GUTHRIE, Samuel [1782-1848] -- American chemist, inventor (firearm percussion pill), physician

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He studied medicine and directed his research to practical chemistry. He was married and settled in Chenango county, N.Y., removing in 1817 to Sacket Harbor, N.Y. He was the inventor of percussion pills, an appliance that superseded the flint lock in firearms and [was] the forerunner of the percussion cap. He was permanently crippled and nearly lost his life in prosecuting his investigation of percussion material. In 1830 he invented the process by which potato starch could be rapidly converted into molasses. He was the original discoverer in America of a "spirituous solution of chloric ether," the chloroform of Damas. His product was exhibited to Professor Silliman of Yale in 1831, who repeated the process by which it was produced a year before it was made public by Soubeiran and three years before Dumas published his results and named the product chloroform. The Medico-chirurgical society of Edinburgh appointed a committee to investigate the claims of the respective claimants to the right of discovery and the committee awarded to Dr. Guthrie the merit of having in 1832 first published an account of its therapeutic effects as a diffusible stimulant. He died in Sacket Harbor, N.Y., Oct. 19, 1848. BDNA  -30-
 

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  • Son: GUTHRIE, Alfred [1805-1882] American engineer

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