WLM ID: akof | Catalog Record
Around 1804, the German chemist, Friedrich Wilhelm Sertürner (1783-1841) isolated this alkaloid from opium, and later named it after the Roman god of dreams, Morpheus. Large scale production was begun in 1827, by the German pharmaceutical company later known as Merck. It was originally marketed both as a pain reliever and as a treatment for opium and alcohol addiction; but by the late 19th Century, it was known to be even more addictive than these. In the U. S. A., morphine remained widely available without a prescription until 1914, when Federal law made it a controlled substance. This 19th Century bottle held morphine acetate, a preparation that decomposed quickly; storage in dark rather than clear glass slowed this process.