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Pierre-Joseph Macquer (1718–1784) was an influential French chemist.

He is known for his Dictionnaire de chymie (1766). He was also involved in practical applications, to medicine and industry, such as the French development of porcelain. He was an opponent of Lavoisier's theories. The scholar Phillipe Macquer was his brother.

In 1752 Macquer showed that the dye Prussian blue could be decomposed into an iron salt and a new acid (which eventually was named by others, after the dye, as Prussic acid, and eventually shown to be hydrogen cyanide).

In his 1749 Elemens de Chymie Theorique, Macquer builds on Geoffroy’s 1718 affinity table, by devoting a whole chapter to the topic of chemical affinity:[1]

All the experiments which have been hitherto carried out, and those which are still being daily performed, concur in proving that between different bodies, whether principles or compounds, there is an agreement, relation, affinity or attraction (if you will have it so), which disposes certain bodies to unite with one another, while with others they are unable to contract any union: it is this effect, whatever be its cause, which will help us to give a reason for all the phenomena furnished by chemistry, and to tie them together.

Macquer was influenced by the works of Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon as well as others.

In 1768, Macquer was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.


  1. ^ Macquer, P. J. (1775). Elements of the Theory and Practice of chymistry, trans. A. Reid, vol. 1. pg. 12. 2 vols., London.

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