Joseph Lister And The Birth Of The Cleanroom

Joseph Lister

Joseph Lister

Today, cleanrooms are used across many industries, ranging from computer chip technology to the food industry. However, the logically and actual begining of the clearoom was in that vital area of medicine. The birth of the cleanroom was, like most of us, in the hospital. And the man responsible for the delivery was Joseph Lister.

Joseph Lister was the son of Joseph Jackson Lister the famed innovator of the compound microscope. John Lister experimented with the use of carbolic acid as an antiseptic after reading a paper by French chemist, Louis Pasteur, on the fermentation process occurring by micro-organisms. Lister’s experimented deduced that the carbolic acid solution could be swabbed on an injury would reduce the risk of gangrene occurring. Lister developed his theories further recommending that surgeons wear gloves and all surgical instruments be was in his carbolic acid solutions before use.  

Lister took a surgical position at King’s College Hospital in London and implemented his sterile environment using his research and effectively creating the world’s first cleanroom. His ‘cleanroom’ was sprayed with carbolic acid solution to help rid the surgery of micro-organisms. The actual spray system probably had little effect on the airborne bacteria level, howinever, his many other innovations have changed medicine for much the better and began the journey of the cleanroom.

Lister was immortalised in 1879 when an antiseptic company named it’s mouthwash product after him. Listerine still occupies bathroom shelf space around the world to this day.

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