Who Discovered Titanium?

October 27, 2008 | By | Reply More

Reverend William Gregor

An amateur geologist and rector of Creed in Cornwall, England, is credited as the discoverer of Titanium in 1791.

Educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he won academic honors in classics and mathematics and also became deeply interested in chemistry and mineralogy.

He carried out a series of experiments on some sand originating from nearby Manaccan in Cornwall and when melted with an alkali he noted the residue had a metallic sheen that was non magnetic.

From this and the other unique properties of the residue he came to the conclusion that it contained a new metal and although he was unable to separate it he named it manaccanite after the area in which it was found.

Martin Klaproth

In 1795 the German chemist also carried out experiments on the Titanium bearing minerals rutile and ilmenite and was also unable to separate the metal they contained due to the strong chemical bonds.

The strength of the chemical bonds prompted Klaproth to name the new metal ‘Titanium’ after the Titans, a race of powerful deities in Greek Mythology.

Klaproth, who came to fame as the discoverer of Uranium, heard of Gregors work and acknowledged him as the inventor but suggested that Titanium was a more descriptive name for the metal.

Matthew A Hunter

He was born in New Zealand in 1878 where he gained 1st class honors at Auckland University College

Hunter first isolated pure Titanium in 1910

He was awarded a Doctor of Science degree at University College London and further honors at other European universities

His search for a fellow student with whom he had fallen in love led him to the USA where he remained until his death in 1961.

His importance to the US military during the Second World War and afterwards through his work in metallurgical projects has been recognized.

William Kroll 1889-1973

Born in Luxembourg and moved to the USA as the Nazi Party rose to power in Europe.

He was employed by the US Bureau of Mines where he also used the same process to producing Zirconium, a principal ingredient in the building of the worlds first atomic submarine. He patented the expensive and complex Kroll process for extracting pure Titanium in 1938

In 1946 commercial production commenced with the backing of the U.S. Bureau of Mines.


A new extraction process known as the FFC Cambridge Process has been developed that may replace the Kroll process.

It is hoped that Titanium will become a less expensive material and will be able to replace aluminium and specialist steels used in the manufacture of many products when produced by the FFC Cambridge process.

FFC Cambridge Process patents were first filed in 1998.

As a bonus the process is also expected to lower the production cost of other metallic materials and even to produce new materials that that are unable to be produced by existing technologies.

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