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Seizing Opportunity

They were an unlikely group to embark on such an enterprise: a banker; a purveyor of wood and coal; a bookkeeper; a lawyer; and a miner, the only one of the five with any practical knowledge of chemistry.

Their ambitious plan was to convert the brine available in abundance from the nearby salt ponds of San Francisco Bay into sodium hypochlorite bleach, using a sophisticated and technologically demanding process of electrolysis. They called their new undertaking the Electro-Alkaline Company.