Sheffield in Colbert County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Nitrate Plant No. 1
During World War 1, construction of the first ammonia synthesis plant in the U.S. began on this location in October 1917. With plans acquired by American and British espionage, construction of U.S. Nitrate Plant No. 1 took only a few months (crash-basis, wartime-footing), with hopes to produce explosive materials to help win the war. While this "experimental plant" did not reach full operational capacity before the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, it laid the major scientific, technological, and engineering groundwork for future fertilizer production in the U.S. The plant was permanently closed in January 1919 and eventually sold to and repurposed by Reynolds Aluminum.
The Haber Process
The process converts atmospheric nitrogen to ammonia by a reaction with hydrogen using a metal catalyst under high temperatures and pressures. The inventor, Fritz Haber, won a Nobel Prize for proving-up this process and implementing it first in Germany.
Blue Gas/Syn Gas Unit
Ammonia and Power Units
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Science & Medicine • War, World I. A significant historical month for this entry is October 1917.
Location. 34° 45.383′ N, 87° 42.653′ W. Marker is in Sheffield, Alabama, in Colbert County. Marker is on West 20th Avenue west of Treatment Plant Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sheffield AL 35660, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Nitrate Plant No. 1 (here, next to this marker); Furnace Hill (approx. ¼ mile away); President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (approx. 0.7 miles away); In Memory of Our Comrades of Sheffield (approx. 0.7 miles away); Winston Cemetery (approx. 0.7 miles away); Percy Sledge/Producer Quin Ivy (approx. ¾ mile away); History of Sheffield (approx. ¾ mile away); Village One (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sheffield.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 16, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 16, 2021, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 302 times since then and 169 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 16, 2021, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.