Elizabeth Fulhame 

fl. 1794


Elizabeth Fulhame was a British, specifically Scottish, chemist perhaps best known for her 1794 work An Essay on Combustion. The book details her experiments on oxidation-reduction reactions and catalysis. As the title implies it also concerned theories on combustion. The book is seen by some as a precursor to the work of Jöns Jakob Berzelius. That stated she focused more on water as a catalyst rather than heavy metals. It was translated into German in 1795 by Augustin Gottfried Ludwig Lentin as Versuche über die Wiederherstellung der Metalle durch Wasserstoffgas ...

Her work was known in its time, as a description of it was written by Coindet, but aroused little interest. An exception being Irish chemist William Higgins who claimed that she had stolen his ideas. He also made similar claims against John Dalton. That stated Higgins softened his criticism of her and Benjamin Thompson held her work on the reduction of gold salts in esteem.

In the 1790s, Fulhame also made some early observations on the use of light sensitive chemicals (silver salts) on fabric, which predate Thomas Wedgwood's more famous photogram trials of 1801. Fulhame did not, however, attempt to make "images" or representational shadow prints the way Wedgwood did, and there is no evidence she attempted any camera obscura experiments.

Little is known of her outside of the work except that her husband was a doctor named Thomas. Also that in 1810 she was made an honorary member of the Philadelphia Chemical Society.

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