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Inventors
borndied
1814, Dec 281900, Aug 31
n English entrepreneur and agricultural scientist. He founded an experimental farm at his home at Rothamsted Manor that eventually became the Rothamsted Experimental Station, where he developed a superphosphate that would mark the beginnings of the chemical fertilizer industry. Even before leaving Oxford in 1832, Lawes had begun to interest himself in growing various medicinal plants on the Rothamsted estates, which he inherited from his father upon his death in 1822. Around 1837, he began to experiment on the effects of various manures on plants growing in pots, and a year or two later the experiments were extended to crops in the field in order to free farmers from relying on animals to produce fertilizer. In 1839, an ostrich belonging to him escaped Rothamsted and caused a bit of property damage, although the only person it hurt was the first one to try and capture it. In 1842, he patented a manure formed by treating phosphates with sulphuric acid, and thus initiated the artificial manure industry
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