Reference numberAP/32/14/1
TitleUnpublished letter, 'Sur la transformation gazeuse de l'eau, ay moyen de la pile dans seux compartiments' [On the gaseous transformation of water, by means of two separate compartments] from Daniel Paret to the President of the Royal Society
CreatorParet; Daniel
Date28 August 1849
DescriptionParet shares his theories and details of experiments relating to the transformation of water into gas. Paret states that it is the generally received opinion that water is a compound of oxygen and hydrogen. He then describes an experiment which proves, not that water is a compound, but really a simple element, the generator of oxygen and hydrogen, since, without being decomposed, a volume of water being given, it may be entirely transformed at will, either into oxygen or into hydrogen. Thus, he considers, it is no longer a decomposition of pre-existing elements which is effected, but really a gaseous transformation into two 'sub-elements' which are formed at the expense of the water, by the transposition of its combined or coercitive electricity which places itself in excess in the water which becomes oxygen, at the expense of another volume which becomes hydrogen. After describing the experiments which he considers support his doctrine, Paret concludes by observing that these experiments prove, first, that contrary to the indefensible theory, a compound electric fluid which is decomposed and recomposed, there is a true transfer of fluid in the current, which besides would be sufficiently evident by its motive power; second, that the electric fluid is really the coercitive agent of cohesion; third, that water is not a compound, is not an oxide, but truly a first element, the generator of oxygen and of hydrogen; and, fourth, it reveals a power unknown until now, and that very likely many other bodies are in the same case as water. Includes two diagrams of Paret's experiment in the text.

Subject: Chemistry

Received 3 September 1849. Read 24 January 1850. Communicated by Thomas Bell.

Written by Paret in Grenoble [France].

Whilst the Royal Society declined to publish this paper in full, an abstract of the paper was published in volume 5 of Abstracts of the Papers Printed in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London [later Proceedings of the Royal Society] as 'On the gaseous transformation of water, by means of a pile in two separate compartments having no other electric communication between them besides conducting wires of copper, and giving, in the one oxygen alone, and hydrogen alone in the other'.
Physical descriptionInk on paper
Access statusClosed
Access conditionsNot available to view, off site for conservation. Please refer to digital surrogate on Science in the Making.
Related materialDOI: 10.1098/rspl.1843.0215
Fellows associated with this archive
NA7505Bell; Thomas (1792 - 1880)1792 - 1880
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