Ludwig Mond (1839-1909)
Ludiwg Mond was a German-born British chemist whose inventions and discoveries enabled several huge advances in industrial chemistry. His chemical knowledge of the needs of the times resulted in the creation of industries that are still in operations today.
"It may with truth be said that Ludwig Mond was one of the few pioneers who set out to base his industrial work on modern scientific concepts and to use engineering practices of the highest possible standards. The whole of British chemical industry, indeed, chemical industry the world over, has been stimulated and inspired by the example of accurate understanding of the physical and chemical conditions which was the basis of his technological work."
Sir A. Fleck, Chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd.
Ludwig Mond was born in Kassel, Germany in 1839. He began studying in 1855 at the University of Marburg under Professor Hermann Kolbe and then at the University of Heidelburg under Robert Bunsen. He never completed a degree and immigrated to England in 1862.
Early on in his career he discovered a method of recovering sulphur from alkali waste and acquired experience in chemical manufacturing of products such as soda, ammonia and acetic acid.
During this time, Mond visited Belgium to see Ernest Solvay at his works in Couillet near Charleroi where Solvay had success in working the ammonia-soda process for the conversion of salt into carbonate of soda. Mond returned to England and remarked that he thought Solvay was at the beginning of a big success, and saying that he greatly admired Solvay’s apparatus, his ability as an engineer and his great mental power.
In 1872, Mond and his partner John Tomlinson Brunner located to Winnington Hall on the River Weaver, a tributary of the Mersey. In the hands of Ludwig Mond, the Solvay process was perfected. It took seven years of successive inventions until 1880 Mond was able to call the soda-ammonia process a commercial success. Cheap soap meant cheap soap for the world and this had a great influence on human health and hygiene.