Sulphur is a non metallic element (about 0.06% of the earth's crust 20 km deep) in a pure crystalline form. Sulphur is said to have been used by caveman to cleanse his blood, also using its characteristic yellow as coloring for its cave painting and due to its combustibility used it for a variety of purposes.

Then widely used in temples rites by Priests (blue flame in darkness when burning) leading to purification. With human being ability arising, ancient realised sulphur bleaching properties for cotton and linen Egyptians first and then Greek and Romans used sulphur from its combustion to purify their houses and established it as fumigant.

Chinese inventors of gunpowder used sulphur as main ingredient and this was still actual just before our 19th century's industrial evolution as was noticed during the French "corsaire" period the famous Jean Bart exploit coming to Dunkerque harbour with five arm-gunned gallions/crew prisoners gained on the enemy, one of them full of 300 t sulphur in lumps destinated to munition manufacturing.

The birth of chemistry, during the eighteen century boost sulphur industrial use and the recognition of sulphuric acid as a key mineral acid. In December 1894, the genious Herman Frasch (1851-1914) invented the hot-water sulphur mining process allowing to melt the yellow crystals of sulphur out of the limestone, in pumping down superheated water (sulphur becomes liquid above 119°C) and then pumping the molten mineral to the surface.

Six years later, the Frasch process allowed sulphur deposits of the Texas and Louisiana to provide a new source of high-purity (99.5%) elemental sulphur and the golden age of U.S. sulphur industry ranking first as world producer by 1914, well above Sicily.

Just after world war two, U.S. expertise in Frasch process allowed a considerable development of sulphur mining in Mexico (Jaltipan mine) and soon after the Poles also developped a very important mining sulphur extraction, both open pit and Frasch process at Machów (south of Poland along Vistula) Grzybów and Osiek.

Today, sulphur remains one of the basic material of industrial production, mainly converted to sulphuric acid, this workhorse of chemistry is a major component in the manufacture of fertilizer and hundreds of other applications : agriculture, chemicals, detergents, feed additives, synthetic resins, carbon bisulphide, iron and steel, ground and refined, petroleum, rayon and film, pulp, pigments, leather extraction, magnesium etc…

Main source of sulphur to day are the hydrogen sulphide H2S found in petroleum refinery products, coke-oven gases and sour natural gas.