Industrial soda is produced by Nicolas Leblanc | Van Ruysdael

industrial soda is produced by Nicolas Leblanc (1775)

Potash or soda is among the main components of glass. Natural soda was won in Egypt and Spain, but it was rare and therefore costly. Consequently, in Europe the use of potash was preferred – but, as vast amounts of wood were needed to obtain it, primeval forests were felled at great speed.

Nicolas Leblanc developed a method for creating soda from table salt, which was put in production in 1791. However, this process, too, was far from environmentally sound, and fortunately it was improved by Ernest Solvay in 1865.