A French surgeon and chemist who developed the process of making baking soda (sodium carbonate) from table salt (sodium chloride) in 1790. Named after him, this process has become one of the most important industrial chemical processes of the 19th century. In the Leblanc process, the salt was treated with sulfuric acid to give salt cake (sodium sulfate). It was then roasted with limestone or chalk and charcoal to make black ash, mostly sodium carbonate and calcium sulfide. Sodium carbonate was dissolved in water and crystallized. The Leblanc process was simple, cheap and easy, but with the interruption of the French Revolution, it had little benefit. He died of suicide in 1806.
Died 6 Dec 1981 at age 71 (born 31 Oct 1910)