Humanities › History & Culture The Discovery of Oxygen and Joseph Priestley Share Flipboard Email Print James Sharples / Getty Images History & Culture Inventions Famous Inventors Famous Inventions Patents & Trademarks Invention Timelines Computers & The Internet American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Mary Bellis Inventions Expert Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. She is known for her independent films and documentaries, including one about Alexander Graham Bell. our editorial process Mary Bellis Updated February 01, 2019 As a clergyman, Joseph Priestley was considered an unorthodox philosopher, he supported the French Revolution and his unpopular views caused his home and chapel in Leeds, England, being burned in 1791. Priestley moved to Pennsylvania in 1794. Joseph Priestley was a friend of Benjamin Franklin, who like Franklin was experimenting with electricity before turning his full attention to chemistry in the 1770s. Joseph Priestley - Co-Discovery of Oxygen Priestley was the first chemist to prove that oxygen was essential to combustion and along with Swede Carl Scheele is credited with the discovery of oxygen by isolating oxygen in its gaseous state. Priestley named the gas "dephlogisticated air", later renamed oxygen by Antoine Lavoisier. Joseph Priestley also discovered hydrochloric acid, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide. Soda Water In 1767, the first drinkable man-made glass of carbonated water (soda water) was invented by Joseph Priestley. Joseph Priestley published a paper called Directions for Impregnating Water with Fixed Air (1772), which explained how to make soda water. However, Priestley did not exploit the business potential of any soda water products. The Eraser April 15, 1770, Joseph Priestley recorded his discovery of Indian gum's ability to rub out or erase lead pencil marks. He wrote, "I have seen a substance excellently adapted to the purpose of wiping from paper the mark of black lead pencil." These were the first erasers which Priestley called a "rubber".