• William McCartney


Perhaps the first treatise on odours is that of Theophrastus who wrote his Concerning Odours in the second or third century B.C. He maintains that odours “are due to mixture for anything which is uncompounded has no smell, just as it has no taste”. Everything, plant, animal or inanimate object that has an odour has one peculiar to itself. Often we cannot perceive the odour since our sense of smell is inferior to that of all other animals and they can smell things which appear odourless to us. Theophrastus also points out the kinship between taste and smell. These senses, he says, facilitate the enjoyment of each other and he claims that two odours may combine to form one. He remarks on the fact that some substances retain their odours indefinitely or at least for very long periods and he discusses olfactory exhaustion, the adsorption of odorous substances, the classification of odours and many other interesting points.


Chemical Sens Odorous Molecule Paradise Lost Odorous Substance Olfactory Cleft 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • William McCartney
    • 1
  1. 1.Kingston-upon-ThamesGreat Britain

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