Abstract A gaseous cell to study heavy-ion collisions with atomic hydrogen was made with the aim of investigating charge-exchange collisions in the intermediate-to-high velocity regime. The method of thermal-dissociation in a tungsten-tube furnace was used. The operating characteristics of the partially dissociated hydrogen target, which depend not only on the design of the furnace but also on the collision-chamber geometry and pumping system, are described. The absolute calibration of the target cell was performed using double capture of C 3+ at 1.1 MeV and elastic scattering of the He 0 at 1.0 MeV in the mixture of H and H 2. At temperatures of about 2600 K, a degree of dissociation of 80% was obtained with the tungsten filament lasting typically more than 300 h of operation.