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"P" is for Pratt, Nathaniel Alpheus (1834-1906)

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Pratt, Nathaniel Alpheus (1834-1906). Chemist, engineer, inventor. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Pratt, a native Georgian was named assistant chief of the Confederate States Nitre and Mining Bureau at Augusta. He was responsible for securing domestic supplies of raw materials for the manufacturing of gunpowder. He moved to Charleston after the war. In his wartime search for minerals, he realized that the rocky nodules he had discovered around Charleston Neck were phosphate of lime. After analysis, this rock was determined to be of the highest grade—and found throughout the Ashley River basin. Backed by northern capital, Pratt organized the Charleston Mining and Manufacturing Company in 1867. Nathaniel Alpheus Pratt received three patents for improvements in treating phosphates of lime, phosphoric rocks, and the manufacture of fertilizers with lime.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.