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George Rieveschl

George Rieveschl
DiedSeptember 27, 2007(2007-09-27) (aged 91)
Alma materUniversity of Cincinnati
OccupationChemical Engineer
Known forInventing the popular antihistamine diphenhydramine

George Rieveschl (January 9, 1916[1] – September 27, 2007) was an American chemist and professor. He was the inventor of the popular antihistamine diphenhydramine (Benadryl), which he first made during a search for synthetic alternatives to scopolamine.[2]

Early life and education

Born in Arlington Heights, Ohio, Rieveschl was the son of George and Alma Hoffling Rieveschl. He attended the Ohio Mechanics Institute before earning bachelors, masters, and PhD degrees at the University of Cincinnati (UC).[3]


After receiving his PhD in 1940, Rieveschl returned to the University of Cincinnati where he served as a professor of chemical engineering, and later a professor of materials science. At the university he led a research program working on antihistamines. In 1943, one of his students, Fred Huber, synthesized diphenhydramine. Rieveschl worked with Parke-Davis to test the compound, and the company licensed the patent from him. In 1947 Parke-Davis hired him as their Director of Research. While he was there, he led the development of a similar drug, orphenadrine.[4]

Rieveschl remained active in the Cincinnati-area science and arts community until his death at age 91 from pneumonia. He had contributed an estimated $10 million to his alma mater, according to a UC spokeswoman.[3]

The main life sciences building on the campus of the University of Cincinnati is named for Rieveschl.


  1. ^ "George Rieveschl". Ohio History Central. Retrieved October 4, 2007.
  2. ^ Ritchie, James (September 27, 2007). "UC prof, Benadryl inventor dies". Cincinnati Business Courier. Retrieved October 4, 2007.
  3. ^ a b Hevesi, Dennis (September 29, 2007). "George Rieveschl, 91, Allergy Reliever, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  4. ^ Sneader, Walter (23 June 2005). Drug Discovery: A History. John Wiley & Sons. p. 405. ISBN 978-0-471-89979-2.