© 2015

The Synthetic Nitrogen Industry in World War I

Its Emergence and Expansion

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Molecular Science book series (BRIEFSMOLECULAR)

Also part of the SpringerBriefs in History of Chemistry book sub series (BRIESFHISTCHEM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Anthony S. Travis
    Pages 1-15
  3. Anthony S. Travis
    Pages 73-83
  4. Anthony S. Travis
    Pages 111-143
  5. Anthony S. Travis
    Pages 145-151
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 153-163

About this book


This concise brief describes how the demands of World War I, often referred to as the Chemists’ War, led to the rapid emergence of a new key industry based on fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. Then, as now, nitrogen products, including nitric acid, and nitrates, were essential for both fertilizers and in the manufacture of modern explosives. During the first decade of the twentieth century, this stimulated research into and application of novel processes. This book illustrates how from late 1914 the relations and developments in the first modern military-industrial complex enabled the great capital expenditures and technological advances that accelerated massive expansion, particularly of the BASF Haber-Bosch high-pressure process, that determined the direction of the post-war chemical industry. 


Adolph Frank BASF Carl Bosch Cyanamide Fritz Haber High Pressure Chemistry Nikodem Caro Nitric Acid Synthetic Ammonia

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Sidney M. Edelstein Center for the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and MedicineThe Hebrew University of JerusalemSafra Campus, JerusalemIsrael

About the authors

Anthony S. Travis, PhD, is deputy director of Sidney M. Edelstein Center for the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published extensively on the history of chemical technology in the 19th and 20th centuries. Currently he is undertaking research into the life of the British chemist Raphael Meldola, a close friend of Heinrich Caro and other leading German chemists, as well as of Charles Darwin. He is recipient of the American Chemical Society's History of Chemistry Division 2007 Edelstein Award in the history of chemistry.

Bibliographic information