George Stahl, a German chemist, first
isolated ethanoic acid, from vinegar in 1700. Vinegar is produced
by the air oxidation of ethanol. The concentrated acid is often
referred to as 'glacial acetic acid' because it freezes solid
just below room temperature.
Production was originally by air oxidation
of ethanol (common alcohol) to produce 'vin aigre' (literally
"sour wine") or vinegar, a weak aqueous solution of
ethanoic acid. Wine vinegar for cooking is still produced using
Up to the 1970s, ethanoic acid was produced
industrially by the direct oxidation of naptha or butane, and
this process is still in operation in some countries. It produces
a wide range of by-products, useful in small quantities. Click
here for more.