Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Creosote (Creasote or Kreasote). This name was first applied in 1832 to a colourless liquid with a penetrating odour obtained by the distillation of the tar from beech wood. The name was also afterwards given to the carbolic acid obtained from coal tar, the two substances being supposed to be identical. "Creosote" is now generally applied as a generic term to those products of distillation of wood tar, coal tar, shale oil, etc., which consist largely of carbolic acid or compounds chemically analogous to it. Wood-tar creosote consists chiefly of guiacol (C7H8O2) and creosol (C8H10O2). It boils at about 205° to 220°, and acts as an antiseptic, its name being derived from its power of preserving meat from putrefaction (creas, meat; sozo, I save). Coal-tar creosote is a very important substance commercially, and is very largely used for "creosoting" timber, softening pitch, illumination, fuel, and as an antiseptic. It varies in composition, but generally consists chiefly of carbolic acid, creosol, scylenol (C8H10O), with dissolved solid hydrocarbons and basic substances. There are three pharmacopoeial preparations of this drug, Mistura, Argentium, and Vapor Creasoti. The ointment is used in certain forms of skin disease. The vapour is used as a deodorant and disinfectant in cases where the breath is foul, in combination with iodine, ether, and chloroform. The vapour of creosote has been largely employed of late years in the antiseptic treatment of phthisis. Administered internally, creosote is employed to check vomiting. Locally applied, a drop of creosote is sometimes of service in alleviating the pain of toothache.