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.
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, and went on to develop a successful business line of ultraviolet sunlamps.
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, PhD 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 FDA later discovered clinical testing irregularities in the use of LYCD, and it was removed from the formulation sold in the US. 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.
Sperti later renamed the Institutum as the St. Thomas Institute for Advanced Studies. It closed in 1988 when he became ill.
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- 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.
- "The History of Sperti". Sperti Sunlamps. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- Bode, Patricia (February 1972). "I Have Fun". Cincinnati Magazine. Vol. 5 no. 5. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- Rieselman, Deborah. "Secrets of Sperti Ointment revealed: The Whole Story". University of Cincinnati Magazine. University of Cincinnati. Retrieved August 26, 2014.