History of Hydrogen

Explore some of the History of Hydrogen by learning what past and present people have been discovering.

A brief Past History

It appears that the first discovery of hydrogen gas can be attributed to Swiss Alchemist Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus in 1520, around the 16th century.  He first described a gaseous substance arising as iron was dissolved in sulfuric acid. He described this substance as "an air which bursts forth like the wind".

Van Helmot observed this gas to be some type of air.  It appears he confused hydrogen with other types of gases like methane and carbon dioxide.

In 1766, hydrogen was detected in England in 1766 by H. or Henry Cavendish as a new gas.  He demonstrated by using an acid action on iron, zinc or tin that an inflammable air could be produced.  That is, the gas produced was capable of being set on fire.  A person named A. L. Lavoisier in 1783 named this stuff "hydrogen".

In 1783, Jacques Charles invented the first hydrogen balloon.

Up until 1783, most notable experimenters of hydrogen used the term inflammable air to describe this gas as to hydrocarbons, hydrogen sulphite, carbon monoxide and other combustible gases including a guy named Priestley.

The word hydrogen comes from the Greek word for "water forming."

A Brief Present History of Hydrogen:

Watch a Video of Iceland's Hydrogen Economy!

Watch a video of Boeing making aviation history by flying it's hydrogen fuel cell airplane with the only exhaust being water and heat.

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is the largest user of liquid hydrogen in the world.  They are famous for the safe handling of hydrogen.  Founded in 1958, NASA is in the USA and has added huge contributions to the history of hydrogen.

Read more about the properties, uses and sources of Hydrogen Element.

Below is a list of people that have contributed specifically to hydrogen and water-fuel technologies.

● Alex Schiffer
● Alexander von Humboldt
● Andrew Batty
● Andriah Puharich
● Antoine LaVoisier
● Archie Blue
● Bill and Tom Lang
● Bill Williams
● Bob Boyce
● Carl Cella
● Charles H. Garrett
● Charles Nelson Pogue
● Charles T. Weber
● Chuck Henderson
● Daniel D. Dingel
● Daniel Hoffman
● Dennis Lee
● Denny Klein
● Dr. Ruggero Santilli
● Drunvalo Melchizedek
● Eletrik
● Francisco Pacheco
● Frank Robert
● George Wiseman
● Hector Pierre Vaes
● Henry "Dad" Garrett
● Henry Cavendish
● Henry M. Paine
● Herman P. Anderson
● Ilya Velbov
● Isaac de Rivas
● James A. Robey
● Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir
● Jean-Louis Naudin
● Jerry W. Decker
● Jim Cornell
● “Joe”
● John Ernst Worrell Keely
● Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac
● Juan Carlos Aguero
● Jules Verne
● Ken Rasmussen
● Kim, Sang Nam
● LateNite Leroy
● Leroy Pea
● Lou (Louis) LaPointe
● Luther Wattles
● Michael A. Peavey
● Michael Faraday
● Nakamatsu Yoshiro
● Nikola Tesla
● Ozzie Freedom
● Paracelsus
● Patrick J. Kelly
● Paul Pantone
● Paul Zigouras
● Rev. William Cecil
● Robert Zweig
● Rodger Billings
● Ron Barker
● Rudolf A. Erren
● Rudolph W. Gunnerman
● Sam Leslie Leach
● Stanley Meyer
● Steven Horvarth
● Walter E. Wyles
● William A. Rhodes
● William Nicholson
● Yull Brown

Source for most of the people on this list - Water4Gas Ozzie Freedom - You can learn more by visiting his site

If you know of anyone else that should be added to this list, please let me know.  Also, please tell me what they are noted for, so we can share it here with others to enhance our knowledge on how to make hydrogen.  As time permits, I will be researching each person and writing what they have contributed to the history of hydrogen.

Return from History of Hydrogen to Making Hydrogen Glossary

Do you have questions?

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.



Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Making Hydrogen Newsletter.

What's your Favorite Way of Making Hydrogen?

At the end of the day, Making-Hydrogen.com is about how to create hydrogen from solar power to bacteria! What is the coolest way you have discovered in making hydrogen?

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

 submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Mg + HCl 
I'm in Year 11 and we recently did an experiment to create our chosen gas, mine being Hydrogen. We used 4 molar Hydro-Chloric Acid (HCl) and half a gram …

Click here to write your own.