Drive east from Frankfurt, upstream along the valley of the River Main, and in 25 kilometres or so you will reach Hanau, where once the brothers Grimm lived and collected the folklore which we now know as the famous Tales. Here too, in 1856, Wilhelm Carl Heraeus, a chemist and pharmacist, proprietor of the pharmacy which had carried the family name for many generations, succeeded in producing temperatures approaching 2000°C from an oxy‐hydrogen flame, temperatures sufficiently high to achieve the melting point of platinum and to allow him to melt substantial quantities of this metal for the first time. Hanau was then a centre for the jewellery manufacturing industry (and remains so today) so the smelting of platinum and other precious metals had an immediate commercial relevance.
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