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William Fletcher 1905

William Fletcher
William Fletcher
Born11 October 1872
Died18 September 1938 | Age 65

William Fletcher was born in 1872 in Leicestershire, England.
He was the first scientist to determine, that if special factors (vitamins) were removed from food, disease occurred.


Fletcher entered Caius College, Cambridge, in 1890, obtained a scholarship to St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, from which he qualified in 1896. He held a resident appointment at the Metropolitan Hospital, and then spent several years in general practice in Coventry before entering the Malayan Medical Service in 1903.


The Missing Nutrients
1907 report on Berberi
1907 report on Berberi

Doctor Fletcher was researching the causes of the disease Beriberi when he discovered that eating unpolished rice prevented Beriberi and eating polished rice did not. William Fletcher believed that there were special nutrients contained in the husk of the rice.

However, it wasn't until 1912 that Polish scientist Cashmir Funk named those special nutrients "vitamines" after "vita" meaning life and "amine" from the vitamin thiamine. Later on the word was shortened to "vitamin."


Even Earlier in 1753
James Lind
James Lind

James Lind (1716 in Edinburgh – 1794 in Gosport) was the pioneer of naval hygiene in the Royal Navy. The number of sailors that died from mal-nutrition was a serious problem. While at sea in May 1747 he conducted what is regarded as the first ever clinical trial, he proved that citrus fruits could cure scurvy but he could not conclude why, but on an unofficial level sailors knew consuming fruits kept them healthy. Lind published his work in 1753 in his Treatise on the Scurvy.
This is why USA-nians call us Limeys (Limes) and maybe why Australians call us Pomes (Pomegranates). But Lind had made the link between vitamins and health almost 200 years before Fletcher.

Royal College of Physicians
The emblem of Rule Britannia Correct: 1905
In History
  • 21 September 1936.
    This month 87 years ago the world lost Frank Hornby
  • 01 September 1976.
    This month 47 years ago the world lost Percy Shaw
  • 10 September 1960.
    This month 63 years ago the world lost Harold Gillies
  • 01 September 1806.
    This month 217 years ago the world lost Edward Nairne
  • 21 September 1836.
    This month 187 years ago the world lost John Stafford Smith
  • 01 September 1846.
    This month 177 years ago the world lost Edwin Beard Budding
  • 25 September 1936.
    On this day 87 years ago William Horlick
  • Christmas Cracker. 200 years ago 18/10/1823 Tom Smith was born
  • 17 September 1877.
    This month 146 years ago the world lost William Henry Fox Talbot
  • 18 September 1938.
    This month 85 years ago the world lost William Fletcher
  • Marshall Amplification. 100 years ago 29/7/1923 Jim Marshall was born
  • 10 September 1938.
    This month 85 years ago the world lost Charles Cruft
  • 18 September 1967.
    This month 56 years ago the world lost John Cockcroft
  • 16 September 1890.
    This month 133 years ago the world lost Louis Le Prince
  • 50 years ago in 1973 The first stable LCD is announced to the world.
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