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Argyrol is the trade name for an antiseptic containing compounded solutions of mild silver protein, each varying in strength. Argyrol is synonymous with the chemical Mild Silver Protein (MSP). It was manufactured in the chemical industry at a pharmaceutical grade, using denatured pharmaceutical-grade protein—for ophthalmic application—and elemental silver. This combination produces the silver protein molecule. Widely publicized for its value to resolve gonorrhea infections, it prevents gonorrheal blindness and other pathogenic infections in the eyes of newborn infants.[1] Albert C. Barnes developed and commercialised Argyrol as a prevention technology for use on mucous membranes to resolve localized infections.


Argyrol was first made commercially available in 1901 by the Barnes and Hille Chemists Company. It has remained a registered trademark since Barnes's USPTO registration was first issued in 1902.[2] In 1903, Medical News reported that Barnes had read a paper at the Tri-State Medical Society, in which he said Argyrol could be used to treat conjunctivitis, ophthalmia neonatorum, gonorrheal ophthalmia, otitis media, genitourinary infections and inflammations, and urethritis.[3] In April 1907, Barnes bought out Hille and organized the A.C. Barnes Company to continue the manufacture and global sales of Argyrol from three headquarters located in the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. Argyrol was never patented because Barnes planned to promote it exclusively through his trademark of Argyrol, as the colloidal silver protein for antiseptic use to mucous membranes.[4]

By World War II, Argyrol post-exposure male hygiene was mandatory in the U.S. and Allied Military VD Prevention Technology for sexual hygiene. With the advent of antibiotics, prevention was out distanced by the promise of cure by simple injection. After that, Argyrol Anti-Infective was prescribed less often because Argyrol’s 10% Stabilized Solution was available without a prescription, while compounded solutions of mild silver protein, at any requested strength, were available by prescription. Argyrol was an important treatment for ophthalmic infections, and, at least until 1943, was preferred over silver nitrate for treating infections at other sites as well.[5] Used for a range of conditions in human and veterinary medicine, the drug brought in enormous profits. With the money, Barnes accumulated a large collection of art, mainly French Impressionist works, which today form the holdings of the Barnes Foundation, an educational art institution established by his will. The paintings were valued in March 2010 at $25 billion.[6][7]

Argyrol was manufactured by A.C. Barnes Company until the Zonite Products Corporation acquired the firm in 1929.[5] Argyrol products were compounded by pharmacists at various concentrations and dispensed to the public in pharmacy-labelled bottles. It was also sold in A.C. Barnes Company packaging in solutions of various strengths. A succession of pharmaceutical entities acquired Argyrol over the decades, avidly protecting their right to use the trademark Argyrol as reflected in the public record at the USPTO. The trademark was guarded by Barnes to ensure the quality and protect the reputation of the drug that resulted in a particular protection under law in jurisprudence, as well as to enable the Zonite Products Corporation rightfully to caution their Argyrol buyers to beware of purchasing imitations of Argyrol which contained substances illegally substituted by druggists for competitive compounds that resembled Argyrol.[8]

The silver protein molecule in Argyrol has been in use for over 100 years to date, with ample clinical data supporting the benefits and versatility of the silver protein molecule in medicine without the detriment of drug resistance. Although Argyrol is used as a synonym for the chemical descriptions silver vitelline and mild silver protein, Barnes insisted Argyrol was different. A silver-gelatin colloid, made by the reaction of silver nitrate, sodium hydroxide, and gelatin, in which a complex colloidal aggregate is formed, Barnes could rightfully assert Argyrol differed in its chemical assay, for instance, as it was claimed to contain over 30% silver. When compounded in varying strengths, nevertheless, Argyrol is silver protein identified as to its molecular construct. Argyrol is an over-the-counter internationally recognized anti-infection drug, regulatory-compliant immediate to manufacture and distribution in every jurisdiction for antiseptic use in medicine specifically due to global drug regulatory administrative adjudication initiated by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States to mandate New Drug Applications for silver drugs. Argyrol has been used continuously in commercial medicine since the date of Argyrol inception by Barnes and Hille.[9]

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  1. ^ "The Ogre of Merion". Time magazine. June 27, 1960. Archived from the original on October 8, 2010. Retrieved March 19, 2010. He and a brilliant young German student, Hermann Hille, worked out the formula for Argyrol, a mild silver protein solution for which doctors had many uses—to treat gonorrhoea, including gonorrheal blindness, relieve severe nasal congestion.... In 1928, with superb timing, Barnes sold out Argyrol for an estimated $4,000,000.
  2. ^ "Trade-Marks Labels Issue of November 18th". Druggists' While Employed with Mulford & Co. (Which Later Became Merck & Co.), American Physician Dr. Albert Coombs Barnes Recruited German Chemist Dr. Hermann Hille. Together, They Returned to the United States and Left Mulford & Co. To Launch Argyrol. Circular and Chemical Gazette (1866-1906). 47 (1): 22. 1 January 1903.
  3. ^ "Medical Progress: Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat". Medical News. 82 (4): 172. 24 January 1903.
  4. ^ Schack, William (1963) [copyright 1960, Sagamore Press]. Art and Argyrol (Revised ed.). New York City: A. S. Barnes and Company. pp. 48, 49, 54. The original company was a partnership of Dr Albert C. Barnes, a physician, and Dr. Herman Hille, a chemist, who developed the process of manufacturing it at the urging of Barnes.
  5. ^ a b Edouard, Lindsay (September 2011). "Antisepsis with Argyrol, Acrimony and Advocacy for African Art". African Journal of Reproductive Health. 15 (3): 9–14. PMID 22574488. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  6. ^ "The Art of Stealing from the Rich and Dead". Vanity Fair. March 2, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  7. ^ Arthur Williams (December 1, 2000). "Alfred Barnes, Argyrol and Art". Pharmaceutical Journal. London and Chicago: Pharmaceutical Press. 265 No 7128 (December 23/30, 2000 Christmas miscellany): 933–934. Archived from the original on April 20, 2009.
  8. ^ Broad Street Gossip, The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 1929, p. 2.
  9. ^ Schack, William (1963) [1960]. Art and Argyrol (Revised ed.). New York City: A. S. Barnes and Company. pp. 47–49. This description is based on information given to the author by Dr. Hermann Hille, the original chemist partner of Dr. Albert Barnes in the Barnes and Hille, Chemists company that first sold Argyrol in 1902 from a plant at 24 North 40th St., Philadelphia, PA

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