The History Of Ozone

A Dutch chemist called Van Marum was probably the first person to detect ozone gas sensorially. In the description of his experiments, he mentioned the notion of a characteristic smell around his electrifier. However, the discovery of ozone was only just mentioned by name decades later, in a writing of Schönbein that dates back to 1840. This discovery was presented to the University of München.

Schönbein had noticed the same characteristic smell during his experiments that Van Marum had tried to identify earlier. He called this gas “ozone,” which is distracted from ozein, the Greek word for scent. Generally, the discovery of ozone is ascribed to Schönbein. Moreover, Schönbein is mentioned as the first person to research the reaction mechanisms of ozone and organic matter. After 1840, many studies on the disinfection mechanism of ozone followed. The first ozone generator was manufactured in Berlin by Von Siemens. This manufacturer also wrote a book about ozone application in water. This caused a number of pilot projects to take place, during which the disinfection mechanism of ozone was researched.

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Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, and mechanical engineer best known for his contributions to the design of the modern AC electrical supply system. Tesla started working in telephone and electrical fields before immigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison. He soon struck out on his own with financial backers, setting up laboratories/companies to develop a range of electrical devices. His patented alternating current and transformer were licensed by George Westinghouse, who also hired Tesla as a consultant to help develop an alternating current system. Tesla is also known for his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs which included patented devices and theoretical work used in the invention of communication, for his X-ray experiments, and for his ill-fated attempt at intercontinental wireless transmission in his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project.

Wardenclyffe Tower

Historically, modern ozone applications find much of its impetus with Tesla (although this was not the focus of his endeavors.) Tesla developed ozone generators primarily used for medical applications. The corona versions of the ozone generator were too prone to failure, so Tesla redesigned the later systems using a glass tube with noble gases. To carry the electrostatic charge, he used inert gases in glass rods. This produced a cold plasma field that energized oxygen into ozone and resulted in a generator that proved impervious to burnout. The unit used ambient air, and produced a small amount of ozone as it was waved over a recumbent patient, who breathed it in.

Tesla farmed out the production of these generators to a Canadian company. There are still some of these units from the 1920s which have been kept in use and are still working as air purifiers today, 80 years later. When you hear of "Cold Plasma Ozone", this is the method that is used instead of the corona discharge method. Cold plasma produces less volume which is acceptable in therapeutic applications. Cold plasma is generally accomplished with UV lights. In High-Shock treatments of buildings, the quick delivery of high volumes of ozone must from the newer corona discharge generators.

Tesla felt that this invention was of such importance to human health that he did not patent it instead, he donated it freely to all of mankind. Unfortunately, this meant that eventually the idea was lost, because there was no recorded patent to look up. The health benefits of ozone are still alive and active today but considered alternative therapies that have never been endorsed by the medical community.

You will routinely hear about the "Health Warnings" of ozone. Experiments have shown that long-term exposure (rather than the short-term ozone therapies), can inflame the lungs and potentially cause heart concerns. Many debate these findings - the lab rats used did develop the recorded problems, but they recovered nicely. The rats were repeatedly exposed to ozone without similar problems, and the extraordinary levels of ozone did not kill the rats.

Did you know that the FDA has approved ozone to be used in food processing operations? Ozone has been officially declared to be Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) in the food industry. This doesn't mean it is used carelessly, but it is more broadly used than many might think.