Several factors led to this revolution, such as proof that air was not an element but was composed of seven different gases. Chemists such as Henry Cavendish and Joseph Priestley performed important experiments to prove these facts. Lavoisier also translated chemistry's archaic and technical jargon into language more accessible by the largely uneducated masses. This led to increased public interest in learning and practicing chemistry. When describing the task of reinventing chemical nomenclature, Lavoisier states:
We must clean house thoroughly, for they have made use of an enigmatical language peculiar to themselves, which in general presents one meaning for the adepts and another meaning for the vulgar, and at the same time contains nothing that is rationally intelligible for the one or for the other.
The revolution started with the 1789 publication of Lavoisier's Traite Elementaire de Chimie (Elements of Chemistry). Beginning with this publication and others to follow, Lavoisier discovered the composition of air and water and coined the term "oxygen". He also explained the theory of combustion, and did away with the phlogiston theory with his views on caloric. The Traite incorporates notions of a "new chemistry" and describes the experiments and reasoning that led to Lavoisier's conclusions. In sum, Lavoisier's Traite did for chemistry what Newton's Principia did for physics.
In the chemical revolution, modern chemists disproved facts that had been theorized by the Ancient Greeks and accepted ever since. For example, chemists began to denote that all structures were composed of more than four elements.