In 1986, Stewart Rubenstein and David and Sally Evans, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, introduced the first chemical graphics program ChemDraw. Today, it has become the dominant vehicle for drawing chemical structures in the organic chemistry community.
In the 1980s, drawing chemical graphics was a labor-intensive task that was generally done by an on-campus or departmental graphic arts facility. When Apple introduced the Macintosch in January 1984, Stewart Rubenstein and David and Sally Evans thought that the MacDraw program was a good basis for developing a program for the creation of chemical structures at a reasonable cost.
Within several weeks Stewart Rubenstein, then a PhD student, had developed a rudimentary program. He fine-tuned this after many discussions with David and Sally Evans.
In July 1985, David Evans presented the ongoing development of the ChemDraw program at a Gordon Conference on Reactions and Processes. His research group was involved in the beta test and in 1986/1987 the first of five PhD theses were written with the aid of ChemDraw (CD).
The development of the companion three-dimensional structure drawing program, Chem3D, was begun in the latter months of 1985 by Michael Rubenstein, Stewart’s younger brother.