|MadSci Network: Science History|
Scheele was an adherant of the phlogiston theory, and never realized that chlorine was a chemical element. He obtained it by treating manganese dioxide with hydrochloric acid (or "marine acid," since it was obtained by distilling sulfuric acid in the presence of sea salt), and regarded it as "marine acid minus phlogiston." He was almost right, since he thought hydrogen was phlogiston; "marine acid minus hydrogen" is pretty much what chlorine is. My information is from pp. 185ff of J.R. Partington's "A Short History of Chemistry" (Dover). Check your local libraries for a copy; considerably more information on early work with chlorine is there. (I might add that part of your problem might stem from your reliance on web searching; there's a tremendous amount of information which is NOT available online!) Dan Berger MadSci Administrator
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