Created in 1931 by Maurice Treener for the Dr. Miles Medicine Company, the product was designed to be an antacid that had effervescent qualities to it. It’s also been marketed to relief headaches, inflammation, and even fevers because of the aspirin that is included with the medicine. Another invention, a Plus version that is designed to help with colds and the flu, is also on the market. The Alka-Mints, however, an antacid with no aspirin, lived for only three years.
It is owned by Bayer Schering Pharma today. This 150 year old company has contributed a number of inventions to the world over the years. Here is a look at their work.
Bayer aspirin is something that is known the world over and it has been sold by the company since 1899. It still contributes over $1 billion in annual sales, despite the drug being such a staple. Not bad for a company that originally started because there was a need for dyed goods in the local area.
Working for the Central Scientific Laboratory, a Bayer chemist by the name of Hermann Schnell discovered that polycarbonates could be synthesized. This became the foundations of Makrolon about 5 years later, which was a transparent and versatile plastic. By 1963, the plastic was being used to create lightweight plates, dishes, and bowls that were shatterproof.
3. The 1967 K67
To prove how versatile plastic could be, in 1967 Bayer invented a sports car that was 100% plastic. Only the engine, gearbox, and wheels were made from metal components – an overall remarkable achievement, even if the automobile didn’t go into full production.
4. Audio CDs
Although the CD isn’t an invention of Bayer, they did modify their Makrolon to be used as the base material for all optical storage media. It is still used today in compact discs. Without the hard transparent plastics, the optical reader wouldn’t be able to access the data as clearly and it wouldn’t be as protected for storage purposes either.
Bayer is also responsible for the first anti-bacterial drug that hit the commercial market. It came from a series of sulfa drugs and was first synthesized in 1932 because it was found to be effective against some specific infections. The 1939 Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded because of the development of this drug and remarkably it came about because of Bayer’s initial start in the field of dyes.
6. Zyklon B
In 1925, the German government merged with other chemical firms to become a conglomerate company called IG Farben. It’s the dark era for Bayer, but the invention of this pesticide is among their achievements, although many wouldn’t call it as such. This pesticide is what was used in many of the gas chambers that were installed during the Holocaust. It was based on cyanide and one of the inventors was executed because of knowingly selling it to use on humans.
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