Charles Hatchett

Charles Hatchett
Born (1765-01-02)2 January 1765
Died 10 March 1847(1847-03-10) (aged 82)
Chelsea, London
Institutions British Museum
Known for Discovery of niobium

Charles Hatchett FRS FRSE (2 January 1765 – 10 March 1847[1]) was an English chemist who discovered the element niobium.[2]


Hatchett was born in Long Acre, London the son of John Hatchett, a coach-builder.

In 1800 he founded a chemical works at Chiswick in London.

In 1801 while working for the British Museum in London, Hatchett analyzed a piece of columbite in the museum's collection. Columbite turned out to be a very complex mineral, and Hachett discovered that it contained a "new earth" which implied the existence of a new element. Hatchett called this new element columbium (Cb) in honour of Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of America.[3] On 26 November of that year he announced his discovery before the Royal Society.[4][5] The element was later rediscovered and renamed niobium (its current name).

Later in life, Hatchett quit his job as a chemist to work full-time in his family's coach fabrication business.

Mount Clare, front view

He lived at Mount Clare, Roehampton from 1807-19.[6]

Hatchett died at Bellevue House in Chelsea, London,[7] and is buried at St Laurence's Church, Upton, Slough, the same church where William Herschel is interred.



Since 1979, the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining ("IOM3") (London) has given the Charles Hatchett Award yearly to a noted metallurgist. The award is given to the "author of the best paper on the science and technology of niobium and its alloys."


On 24 March 1787, he married Elizabeth Collick at St Martin's-in-the-Fields. Their children included:

  1. John Charles Hatchett (bapt 27 January 1788 St Martin's-in-the-Fields)
  2. His daughter, Anna Frederica Hatchett, married the chemist William Thomas Brande.[8]


  1. GRO Register of Deaths: MAR 1847 III 40 CHELSEA - Charles Hatchett, age unknown
  2. William P. Griffith and Peter J. T. Morris (2003). "Charles Hatchett FRS (1765-1847), Chemist and Discoverer of Niobium". Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London. 57 (3): 299. doi:10.1098/rsnr.2003.0216. JSTOR 3557720.
  3. Jameson, Robert (1805). "System of Mineralogy, Vol. II.". Edinburgh: Bell and Bradfute (et al.). p. 582. Retrieved 15 February 2015. ... Mr Hatchett found it to contain a metal, which, from its properties, could not be referred to any hitherto known; hence he was of opinion that it should be considered as a new genus, to which he gave the name Columbium, in honour of the discoverer of America. ...'
  4. Charles Hatchett (1802). "An Analysis of a Mineral Substance from North America, Containing a Metal Hitherto Unknown". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 92: 49–66. doi:10.1098/rstl.1802.0005. JSTOR 107114.
  5. Charles Hatchett (1802). "Eigenschaften und chemisches Verhalten des von Charles Hatchett entdeckten neuen Metalls, Columbium" [Properties and chemical behavior of the new metal, columbium, (that was) discovered by Charles Hatchett]. Annalen der Physik. 11 (5): 120–122. Bibcode:1802AnP....11..120H. doi:10.1002/andp.18020110507.
  6. Gerhold, Dorian (1997). Villas and Mansions of Roehampton and Putney Heath. Wandsworth Historical Society. pp. 31–33. ISBN 0 905121 05 8.

Further reading

External links

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