Chlorine is a widely used element in many facets of human life. For one thing, it is used to make drinking water safe. A lot of the common things we use today are produced with the help of this element. Examples of which are textiles, dyestuffs, medicines, petroleum products, paint, foodstuffs, solvents, and paper. It is also used to manufacture compounds such as chloroform, bromine, and carbon tetrachloride. Carl Wilhelm Scheele is credited for having discovered chlorine.
Like all elements, it has always been around only that we do not recognize it as being there. This element isn’t actually found free in our surrounding natural environment. It is usually found in nature combined with other elements into different types of compounds. If you’re looking for it in the environment you would find it in salt and other minerals like sylvite and carnallite.
Salt, which is a common compound of this element, has been used by man since ancient times. We have evidence in our history that as early as 3000 BC man has been using rock salt. Around 900 AD, an alchemist from Persia named Rhazes was able to synthesize a compound of chlorine which is hydrochloric acid. As early as these said times man has already used it only that he has not yet identified it as an actual element.
Another use for this element occurred in 1200 AD. A compound made with it, which is a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acid was used. The primary use of this compound during those days is to dissolve gold. Chlorine gas is usually produced and released into the air during the process of dissolving gold. The only problem was that those who did so did not recognize the element and did not know it then.
This phenomenon of isolating this element and not recognizing it continued even when the man credited for its discovery produced it in an experiment. Carl Wilhelm Scheele was the first to study and isolate chlorine gas. He is credited for its discovery in 1774. However, he did not recognize it as an actual element. He thought that it was rather a compound of oxygen instead.
It was only until 1810 when this element was identified as such and acknowledged to be part of the periodic table. It was Sir Humphrey Davy who was able to determine that what Carl Wilhelm Scheele actually discovered was an element and not a compound. Chlorine has been around in various forms and only later was man able to identify this rather useful element.