Charles Hatchett

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


Hatchett was born, raised, and lived in London. On 24 March 1787, he married Elizabeth Collick at St Martin's-in-the-Fields, with issue including:

  1. John Charles Hatchett (bapt 27 January 1788 St Martin's-in-the-Fields)
  2. Anna Hatchett, who married William Brande

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

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]

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."


His daughter, Anna Frederica Hatchett, married the chemist William Thomas Brande.[7]


  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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. ...'<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Charles Hatchett (1802). "Eigenschaften und chemisches Verhalten des von Charles Hatchett entdeckten neuen Metalls, Columbium". Annalen der Physik. 11 (5): 120–122. Bibcode:1802AnP....11..120H. doi:10.1002/andp.18020110507. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Gerhold, Dorian (1997). Villas and Mansions of Roehampton and Putney Heath. Wandsworth Historical Society. pp. 31–33. ISBN 0 905121 05 8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

External links