He found the bacterium during microscopical examination of a pus sample removed form the leg of a young man in his private laboratory which he built behind his house in Aberdeen.
Ogston hypothesized that acute abscesses were caused by micrococci. After injecting pus from acute abscesses into guinea pigs and mice, he demonstrated that new abscesses formed, followed by signs of septicemia. He was able to stain the cocci using methylaniline which allowed him to study the different types of cocci in reference to their growth forms.
In 1882 Ogston described the cocci, which he named Staphylococcus, as being ‘individual spheres in masses looked like bunch of grapes’.
In 1884 Anton J. Rosenbach (1842-1923), a German surgeon, isolated two pigmented varieties in pure culture, and provided the first taxonomic description of the new genus, dividing it into a ‘golden’ species (Staphylococcus pyogenes var. aureus) and ‘white’ species (S. pyogenes var. albus).
The later species is now named S. epidermidis.
Discovery of Staphylococcus aureus