Solvay, Ernest

BORN 16 Apr 1838, Rebecq-Rognon, Brabant wallon - DIED 26 May 1922, Brussel: Ixelles
GRAVE LOCATION Brussel: Ixelles Cimetière (pelouse W)

Ernest Solvay fell ill from pleurisy and this prevented him from entering university, but he received a good private scientific training. He worked in his uncle's chemical factor from the age of 21. In 1861 he developed the ammonia-soda process to produce soda ash from brine and limestone, thus improving the existing Leblanc process.

He founded his own company Solvay & Cie and in 1863 he opened his first factory at Couillet (now part of Charleroi). He perfected his process and in 1872 he patented it. In a short time, Solvay plants were opened in the UK, the US, Germany and Austria.

His patents made him very wealthy and he used his money for philanthropic purposes. In 1894 he created the Institut des Sciences Sociales at the Free University of Brussels and in 1903 he founded the Solvay Business School. In 1911 he started the Solvay conferences in physics, that counted Max Planck, Ernest Rutherford and Albert Einstein among its participants.

He was a member of the Belgian Senate for the Liberal Party and he received th title of Minister of State late in life. He died in 1922 in Brussels.

Related persons
• has grave monument designed by Horta, Victor


The grave of Ernest Solvay at the Ixelles Cimetière, Brussels.
Picture by Androom (28 Apr 2007)


Cimitière d'Ixelles, Cercle D'Histoire Locale D'Ixelles, 1990
Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909
Ernest Solvay — Wikipédia

Somma, Bonaventura

Published: 27 Sep 2020
Last update: 14 Oct 2023