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Dr Ludwig Mond (March 7, 1839 – December 11, 1909), was a German-born chemist and industrialist who took British nationality.

Education and career

Ludwig Mond was born into a Jewish family in Kasselmarker, Germany. His parents were Meyer Bär (Moritz) Mond and Henrietta Levinsohn. After attending schools in his home town, he studied chemistry at the University of Marburgmarker under Hermann Kolbe and at the University of Heidelbergmarker under Robert Bunsen but he never gained a degree. He then worked in factories in Germany and the Netherlandsmarker before coming to England to work at the factory of John Hutchinson & Co in Widnesmarker in 1862. He worked in Utrecht for the firm of P. Smits & de Wolf from 1864 to 1867 and then returned to Widnes. Here he formed a partnership with John Hutchinson and developed a method to recover sulphur from the by-products of the Leblanc process, which was used to manufacture soda.

In 1872 Mond got in touch with the Belgian industrialist Ernest Solvay who was developing a better process to manufacture soda, the ammonia-soda or Solvay process. The following year he went into partnership with the industrialist John Brunner to work on bringing the process to commercial viability. They established the business of Brunner Mond & Company, building a factory at Winningtonmarker, Northwichmarker. Mond solved some of the problems in the process that had made mass production difficult, and by 1880 he had turned it into a commercially sound process. Within 20 years the business had become the largest producer of soda in the world.

Mond continued to research new chemical processes. He discovered nickel carbonyl, a previously unknown compound, which could be easily decomposed to produce pure nickel from its ores through the Mond process. He founded the Mond Nickel Company to exploit this. Ores from nickel mines in Canadamarker were given preliminary enrichment there and then shipped to Mond's works at Clydachmarker, near Swanseamarker, Walesmarker for final purification.

Honours and benefactions

Mond supported scientific societies and, with Henry Roscoe, helped to expand the small Lancashire Chemical Society into the nationwide Society of Chemical Industry of which he was elected president in 1888. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1891. Abroad, he was elected to membership of the German Chemical Society, the Società Reale of Naples, and the Prussian Akademie der Wissenschaften. He received honorary doctorates from the universities of Padua, Heidelberg, Manchestermarker and Oxfordmarker and was awarded the grand cordon of the Order of the Crown of Italy.

He was a benefactor to a number of scientific organisations including the Royal Society, the Italian Accademia dei Lincei and the Royal Institution of Great Britainmarker. In his will he left bequests to the town of Kassel and to a number of Jewish charities. In his later years he had built up a collection of old master paintings and he left the greater proportion of these to the National Gallery, Londonmarker. His wife left a large collection of materials relating to German literature to King's College, Londonmarker.

Family and personal

In October 1866 Mond married his cousin Frida Löwenthal (1847-1923) in her native town of Cologne. They soon moved to England and had two sons, Robert and Alfred. In 1880 he took British nationality. While he was establishing his business the family lived at Winnington and in 1884 they moved to London. From the early 1890s on, he spent most of his winters in Romemarker at his home there. This home, the Palazzo Zuccari, was first leased and then (1904) bought in the name of his wife's friend Henriette Hertz, who developed it into a study centre for the history of art now called Bibliotheca Hertzianamarker. He died in his London home, 'The Poplars', Avenue Road, near Regent's Parkmarker. Although he had never practiced any religion he was buried with Jewish rites at St Pancras cemeterymarker where his sons erected a mausoleum. His estate was valued at £1 million.

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