Ernest H. Volwiler

Chemist, Inventor

1893 – 1992


Who was Ernest H. Volwiler?

Ernest Henry Volwiler spent his entire career at Abbott Laboratories working his way from staff chemist to CEO.

A Hamilton, Ohio native, Volwiler received a bachelor's degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1914 and a Masters degree and Ph. D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois, working under Prof. Roger Adams. He was a pioneer in the field of anesthetic pharmacology, assisting in the development of two breakthrough drugs, Nembutal and Pentothal. In addition to his achievements as a scientist, Volwiler was instrumental in helping Abbott to achieve commercial success for its pharmaceutical products including the commercialization of penicillin and sulfa drugs during World War II. Abbott Laboratories produced significant financial returns during his tenure as CEO.

Volwiler was an active community leader and philanthropist serving, among others, on the boards of Lake Forest College and the Phi Kappa Tau Foundation. He made major philanthropic gifts to his alma maters Miami University and the University of Illinois as well as to Lake Forest College. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his work on Pentothal.

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Aug 22, 1893
Also known as
  • Ernest Volwiler
  • United States of America
  • Miami University
Lived in
  • Hamilton
Oct 3, 1992

on July 23, 2013


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