Adolph Frank discovered uses of potash, invented method to extract the bromine from salt mines.

Adolph Frank – pioneer in artificial fertilizers

Article on Adolph Frank

Biography & Contributions

Adolph Frank was a German chemist, engineer, and businessman born on January 20, 1834 – died on May 30, 1916. He discovered uses of potash as an artificial fertilizer.

He then obtained a position as a chemist with a beet-sugar refinery and used the results of his work there as a basis for his dissertation.

In the late 1860s, Frank played a leading role in the development of Strassfurt potash deposits and their application as an agricultural fertilizer. He remained interested in the problems of German agriculture, especially its chemical aspects, for the rest of his life.

Together with his co-worker Nicodem Caro, Frank invented a process for the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen in 1895. This process, related to modern cyanamid manufacture, attracted interest in industrial circles, and with the backing of Deutsche Bank, Siemens & Halske, and Deutsche Gold und Silber Scheideanstalt the Cyanid Gesellschaft was founded in 1899 to exploit the process. At first the company was not commercially successful.

Facts about Potash

Potash is any of various mined and manufactured salts that contain potassium in water-soluble form. Potash is produced worldwide at amounts exceeding 30 million tonnes per year, mostly for use in fertilizers.

Potash refers to potassium compounds and potassium-bearing materials, the most common being potassium chloride (KCl).

Potash ores are typically rich in potassium chloride (KCl) and sodium chloride (NaCl) and are typically obtained by conventional shaft mining with the extracted ore ground into a powder.

It has been used in bleaching textiles, making glass, and making soap, since about AD 500. Potash was principally obtained by leaching the ashes of land and sea plants. Potash was one of the most important industrial chemicals in Canada. It was refined from the ashes of broadleaved trees and produced primarily in the forested areas of Europe, Russia, and North America.

Potash Fertilizer

Potash is important for agriculture because it improves water retention, yield, nutrient value, taste, color, and texture and disease resistance of food crops. It has wide application to fruit and vegetables, rice, wheat and other grains, sugar, corn, soybeans, palm oil and cotton, all of which benefit from the nutrient’s quality enhancing properties.


[1] © From,

To contact the author mail:

© WOC Article uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. X