The Chemical Educator

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 205–209

The History of Saltpeter Production with a Bit of Pyrotechnics and Lavoisier

Chemistry and History

DOI: 10.1007/s008970000401a

Cite this article as:
Wisniak, J. Chem. Educator (2000) 5: 205. doi:10.1007/s008970000401a


The early development of saltpeter (potassium nitrate) production is intimately related to the invention of pyrotechnics and gunpowder. The evolution of the industry in France was closely tied to the political events that took place during the period before and after the French Revolution. Lavoisier transformed it from a losing operation to a successful enterprise and in so doing set the beginning of industrial chemistry as we know it today. The DuPont Company was founded as a result of these activities.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael