George Sperti

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George Speri Sperti (January 17, 1900, Covington, Kentucky – April 29, 1991, Cincinnati, Ohio) was an Italian-American inventor who invented Preparation H hemorrhoid medication. He also invented the Sperti Ultraviolet Lamp, Aspercreme for pain relief, and KVa Power Meter.[1][2]

Sperti graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1923. Shortly afterwards he was named Director of the Research Laboratory. His invention of an ultraviolet lamp to irradiate milk to add Vitamin D without changing the flavor was sold to General Foods for US$300,000. Sperti donated the entire amount to the University to continue basic research,[2] and went on to develop a successful business line of ultraviolet sunlamps.[3][4]

He also invented the first practical technique for freeze-drying orange juice concentrate. He donated most of the money he received from 127 patents to the University of Cincinnati and the Institutum Divi Thomae, which he co-founded in 1935 in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, with the purpose of researching cancer. A cell derivative believed to stimulate healthy cell growth was discovered at the school by Stanley L. Baker, Ph.D., and was originally tested on burn victims. The accidental application of it resulted in a huge market as Preparation H. The primary active ingredient in his invention was a compound containing a live yeast cell derivative (LYCD), which Sperti named Bio-Dyne. The Food and Drug Administration later discovered clinical testing irregularities in the use of LYCD, and it was removed from the formulation sold in the United States. There are stories that the original Preparation H was used to treat burns. The Canadian and European versions of Preparation H still contain the ingredient.[5]

In 1936 Pope Pius XI made him a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He received the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity in 1956.[6]

His sister, Mildred, was his assistant until she died in 1987.[7] Neither sibling ever married and they lived together.[8]

Sperti later renamed the Institutum as the St. Thomas Institute for Advanced Studies. It closed in 1988 when he became ill and the institute had financial difficulties.[9][2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mendel Medal Presentation Program: Dr. George Speri Sperti". Villanova University. May 16, 1943. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Narvaez, Alfonso A. (May 1, 1991). "George Speri Sperti Is Dead at 91; Invented Several Patent Medicines". The New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  3. ^ "The History of Sperti". Sperti Inc. Retrieved August 10, 2022.
  4. ^ Bode, Patricia (February 1972). "I Have Fun". Cincinnati Magazine. Vol. 5, no. 5. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  5. ^ Rieselman, Deborah. "Secrets of Sperti Ointment revealed: The Whole Story". University of Cincinnati Magazine. University of Cincinnati. Archived from the original on 26 November 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  6. ^ "Italian Nation is to Honor Dr. Sperti with "star" and Testimonial July 16". ProQuest. Cincinnati Enquirer. July 5, 1956.
  7. ^ "Obituaries". Cincinnati Enquirer. 23 September 1987.
  8. ^ Hornbaker, Alice (10 November 1984). "The Sperti Spirit". Cincinnati Enquirer.
  9. ^ "The Milkman Cometh - Cincinnati Magazine". 2022-06-16. Archived from the original on 16 June 2022. Retrieved 2022-08-15.