- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Carl Spengler

Born  1860
Died  1937

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Swiss physician, born June 30, 1860, Davos; died 1937.

Biography of Carl Spengler

Carl Spengler was born in Davos, the son of Alexander Spengler (1827-1901). He attended the universities of Tübingen, Basel, Heidelberg, Kiel, and Zurich, obtaining his doctorate at the latter in 1886.

He spent his period as assistant from 1886 to 1889 at the Strassburg surgical clinic under Georg Albert Lücke (1829-1894), from 1889 to 1892 he worked with his father in Davos on the treatment of tuberculosis. In this period he published several treatises on tuberculosis that caught the attention of Robert Koch (1843-1910), who invited him to become a collaborator in his institute in Berlin. Here he also worked with the Nobel Prize winners Emil von Behring (1854-19179 and Shibasaburo Kitasato (1852-1931).

During the years 1892 to 1894 Koch and Spengler collaborated on the best method of using tuberculin therapeutically – one of Koch’s few scientific errors. Spengler, like others, was unhappy with the efficiency of tuberculin and introduced other forms of immunotherapy - of equally or even more dubious efficacy. Spengler believed he had identified immune antibodies in red cells, which has never been verified. Besides tuberculosis his research concerned syphilis, Spanish flu, and cancer.

Carl Spengler later succeeded his father as director of this sanatorium, one of the best in Davos.

Spengler was an ardent sportsman who sought to bring together athletes from the nations that had been enemies during World War I. In 1923 he established the Spengler Cup, an international ice hockey tournament that still takes place every year in Davos.

Shortly before his death in 1937, Spengler transferred the right to produce his drugs to Paul A. Meckel, a collaborator who later founded the Meckel company, now Meckel-Spenglersan GmbH.


  • Chirurgische und klimatische Behandlung der Lungenschwindsucht und einiger ihrer Complicationen. Bremen, 1891.
  • Therapeutische und diagnostische Resultate der Tuberkulinbehandlung bei 41 Lungenkranken. Davos, 1892.
  • Über Tuberkulinbehandlung. Davos, 1897.
  • Zur Diagnose geschlossener Lungentuberkulose, der Sekundärinfektion, tuberkulöser und syphilitischer Phthise. Davos, 1900.
  • Klassenstadienenteilung der Lungentuberkulose und Phthise und über Tuberkulinbehandlung. Festschrift für Robert Koch, Jena, 1903.
  • Tuberkulinbehandlung im Hochgebirge. Davos, 1904.
  • Zur Aetiologie der Lungenphthise. Jena, 1911.
  • Untersuchung der syphilitisch-tuberkulösen Sputums durch Färbung und Tierexperiment. Jena, 1911.
  • Züchtung des Syphilis-Erregers aus Sputum und beliebigem anderem syphilitischem Infektionsmaterial. Jena, 1911.
  • Tuberkulose-Aetiologie. Jena, 1911.
  • Der Bakterien- und Infektionsdualismus der Tuberkulose im Ultramikroskop.
    Jena, 1911.
  • Tuberkulose-Immunisierung und Tuberkulose-Immunblut (I.-K.). Jena, 1911.
  • Tuberkulose-Immunblut-(1.-K.-)Herstellung und Testierung und Eigenschaften des 1-K. Jena, 1917. His works on tuberculosis and syphilis were collected and published by his pupils in Davos 1911.

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