The "subtile Aereal Spirit of Fountains": Mineral Waters and the History of Pneumatic Chemistry

Victor D. Boantza, Leslie Tomory

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The standard history of pneumatic chemistry is dominated by a landmark-discoverers-type narrative stretching from Robert Boyle, through Stephen Hales, Joseph Black, and Joseph Priestley, to Antoine Lavoisier. This article challenges this view by demonstrating the importance of the study of mineral waters - and their "aerial component" - to the evolution of pneumatic chemistry, from around van Helmont to the period before Black (1640s-1750s). Among key figures examined are Joan Baptista van Helmont, Johann Joachim Becher, Robert Boyle, Friedrich Hoffmann, and William Brownrigg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-331
Number of pages29
JournalEarly Science and Medicine
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • Friedrich Hoffmann
  • Joan Baptista van Helmont
  • Peter Shaw
  • William Brownrigg
  • mineral waters
  • pneumatic chemistry

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