Have any of your come across pieces that look like this. They are found throughout the area—from Elbe to Ohop.
These are pieces of the Nitgrogen plant that was once functioning in LaGrande. When the nitrogen plant was taken down, many used the pieces for foundation. I got my piece from Sally (Asplund) McKay, from the foundation of the Asplund farm barn.
Donald Johnstone says, “Several years ago I showed one of these round things to a friend who had an interest in historical chemistry.
His best guess was that this was part of the condensing cycle for the ammonia. The ammonia would have been in a gaseous state and it had to be cooled to a liquid for the next phase. He said that the ammonia would be corrosive to most forms of metal piping, thus the use of a ceramic.
The La Grand site was one of the earliest demonstrations of the financial and industrial success of “fixing” nitrogen found in the air into a useable compound.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1918 was awarded to Fritz Haber“for the synthesis of ammonia from its elements”.This process was very important to Germany in the World Wars, in that it permitted the local production of explosives and ammunition without the need for the importation of raw materials by ocean freight.”
Photos of nitrogen plant pieces courtesy of Elmer Potts.