Otto Nikolaus Witt

Witt, Otto Nikolaus


Born Mar. 31, 1853, in St. Petersburg; died Mar. 23, 1915, in Charlottenburg, near Berlin. German organic chemist. Son of the Russianized German I. N. Witt, a teacher of chemistry at the St. Petersburg Institute of Practical Technology.

Witt graduated from Zurich Polytechnic University in 1875 and worked at chemical factories in England, Switzerland, and Germany. In 1885 he became a privatdocent and, in 1891, a professor of applied chemistry at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin. Witt developed a theory of the relationship betwen the color and structure of organic compounds as well as a theory of dyes and dyeing. He was the first to obtain chrysoidine and tropeolin. He studied and introduced into industry a series of azo dyes and developed a method of diazotizing difficultly diazotizable amines. In 1884, Witt discovered the indophenols, prepared their leuco compounds, and proposed methods of sulfonating alphanaphthylamine.


Chemische Homologie und Isomerie in ihrem Einfluss auf Erfindungen aus dem Gebiete der organischen Chemie. Berlin, 1889.
Chemische Technologic der Gespinnstfasem, ihre Geschichte, Gewinnung, Verarbeiting and Veredlung, vols. 1-2. Braunschweig, 1910-16. (With L. Lehmann.)


Nölting, E. “O. N. Witt.” Berichte der Deutschen chemischen Gesellschaft, 1916, vol. 2, pp. 1751-1832.