JOSEPH PRIESTLEY (1733-1804)

1774 – England

portrait of JOSEPH PRIESTLY (1733-1804) ©

JOSEPH PRIESTLY

‘Priestly stumbled upon oxygen in 1774 while heating mercury oxide and discovered that it greatly enhanced the burning of a candle’s flame’

Priestly did not realise the true impact of his findings and it was left to ANTOINE LAVOISIER whom he told of his findings in 1775 to establish the central place oxygen has in the fields of chemistry and biology.

Priestly named the gas ‘dephlogisticated air’, in keeping with the accepted theory that all flammable substances contained the elusive substance ‘phlogiston‘ which was central to the combustion process and was released (and lost) during it.

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4 thoughts on “JOSEPH PRIESTLEY (1733-1804)

  1. Pingback: KARL WILHELM SCHEELE (1742- 86) | A History of Science

  2. Pingback: ROBERT BOYLE (1627- 91) | A History of Science

  3. Pingback: ALCHEMY | A History of Science

  4. Pingback: ANTOINE LAVOISIER (1743- 94) | A History of Science

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