Ethylene glycol is a compound that was first discovered by a French chemist named Charles Adolphe Wurtz in 1859. Charles Wurtz treated ethylene iodide with silver acetate. Later the result from the experiment (ethylene diacetate) was reacted with potassium hydroxide. The result was named ethylene glycol as it was midway to ethyl alcohol and glycerin. However, he was not able to find a proper usage of the compound.
In early 20th century the compound was discovered as a coolant and applicable to be used in explosions. During the World War I(1914-1918), the compound was synthesised from ethylene chloride. It was created at a small scale. In Germany it was used to replace glycerol in particular explosions. Prior to this period, no commercial application for the compound was found.
After the World War, the compound entered the commercial manufacturing world. In 1925, first large scale manufacturing of ethylene glycol commenced at South Charleston, Virginia, U.S.A by Carbide and Carbon Chemicals Company. Today the company is known as Union Carbide Corporation. Near 1930, the compound was commonly used in dynamites as it was inexpensive and easily accessible. In 1935, the company opened a new manufacturing plant that manufactured ethylene glycol using a different process. In 1957, the profitable days of Carbide and Carbon Chemicals Company ended as process of ethylene glycol was offered for licences.
Ethylene Glycol brought changes to the vehicle industry. It made changes to the technical model of airplanes and cars. It low freezing point and high boiling point made it ideal for it to be used in engine of the vehicles. Today, we have came up with many usage for the compound in our daily lives. The technology and information on chemicals have made our lives easier.