When Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) is remembered today, it’s usually for his 1774 discovery, in England, of oxygen. Few know he was a noted theologian, political progressive, and prolific author whose scientific contributions include the development of the modern timeline, the carbonation process, the identification of carbon monoxide and other gases, early experiments in electricity and an early understanding of the inter-relationship of plants and animals mediated by gases: oxygen and carbon dioxide and the role of sunlight in photosynthesis.
He counted Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and James Watt among his friends. Yet Priestley was also a controversial figure whose views were so odious to some of his countrymen that his house, Fair Hill in Birmingham, was burned in a riot in 1791, and he and his family fled to London and then left England in 1794. Priestley spent the last ten years of his life in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, where he continued his work in science, religion, and education. But even in this democratic republic his liberal ideas were frequently received with intolerance, and the peace that he so ardently desired was often elusive.
Joseph Priestley House and laboratory is an historic site that preserves and interprets the contributions and significance to American history of Joseph Priestley. As a National Historic Landmark and National Historic Chemical Landmark, the site features Priestley’s manor house with its laboratory. In the nearby Pond Building can be found the Joseph Priestley Timeline, a series of panels that present accomplishments during different periods of his life.
Posted August 26th, 2014
The annual meeting of the Friends of Joseph Priestley House is
September 23, 2015 at Townside Too, 253 Front Street, Northumberland, PA
The social hour begins at 6:00 pm with wine and appetizers available as people arrive.
The dinner follows at 6:30 pm. The meal is $20 per person with reservation requested.
A short meeting follows the dinner. The evening program presents singer songwriter Van Wagner with songs and stories of early life in the Susquehanna Valley.
To register for the dinner:
• call the Priestley House at 570-473-9474 on weekend afternoons from 1 to 4 pm, or at other times and leave a message with your name, address and the number of people in your party,
• by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
• or online by filling out the registration form
You may pay by mail or at the door by check or cash.
If you wish to pay by mail please write checks to: Friends of Joseph Priestley House. And send to: The Friends of Joseph Priestley House, PO Box 346, Lewisburg, PA 17837.
Posted June 16th, 2014
Discoveries of Joseph Priestley: videos on Carbon Monoxide and Ammonia
The Friends of Joseph Priestley House have released videos of Priestley’s discoveries. The videos include: a review of his discovery a demonstration of the discovery process in a modern laboratory a discussion of the hazards and uses of the gas.
Viewers of the videos are asked to complete a brief survey
Carbon monoxide discovery here http://www.josephpriestleyhouse.org/learn/discoveries-of-joseph-priestley-carbon-monoxide/
Ammonia discovery here. http://www.josephpriestleyhouse.org/learn/discoveries-of-joseph-priestley-ammonia/
Partial funding for the carbon monoxide discovery video was provided by the Susquehanna Valley Local Section through an American Chemical Society Local Section Innovative Program Grant (January 2013 round). Partial funding for the Ammonia discovery video was from a Merck Cherokee Neighbor of Choice grant. These videos are used in the museum to explain Priestley’s achievements to visitors.