Sulfur, through its major derivative, sulfuric acid is among the most used and important raw materials in industry today. It is a critical part of every sector of the worlds economies and is regarded as one of the best indices of a nations industrial development. In fact, sulfuric acid is the most produced chemical in the United States. This book is a scientific history of sulfur, tracking the technologies, applications, and the industry itself from ancient markets to the current global economy.
Each chapter is devoted to either a method of production or a set of applications as they intertwined during different stages of industrial and technological developments. Particular attention is given to Herman Frasch, inventor of the "Frasch Process," which enabled America to go from 100% import of sulfur to the worlds largest exporter in less than a decade.
The sulfur industry is also an excellent case study of entrepreneurship and relationship with inventors. It reveals the characteristics of entrepreneurs and inventors and approaches required to formulate goals. Most importantly, it shows how to succeed in new ventures. Rockefeller might have been a failure if Frasch had not rescued him from his bad investment in oil. Since sulfur must be removed from oil and natural gas before they can be used as energy sources, Frasch turned certain failure into wild success through his technological expertise and determination.
Although scientific and technical in nature, this book is written so that anyone without a strong chemistry background will enjoy reading it. The interested audience goes far beyond the boundaries of sulfur applications and the oil industry and should be foundin every technical, university, and public library.