From Chemistry for the People to the Wonders of Technology: The Popularization of Chemistry in the Netherlands during the Nineteenth Century

E. Homburg*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article analyzes phases in the production of popular Dutch chemistry books in terms of their audiences and the character of the texts. While the first popular chemistry books (1809-1815), which were directed to women, youngsters, and common people, contained moralistic and physico-theological contemplations, these were absent in books that between 1830 and 1844 diffused 'useful knowledge' among the working classes. The next period (1845-1864) was a heyday, which also marked the end of the old style of popularization of chemistry. After 1865 the number of popular chemistry books dropped considerably, as a result of (a) the professionalization of chemistry; (b) the introduction of chemistry as a school subject; and (c) the separation between science and religion. Until 1900 chemical technology became almost the exclusive focus of popular chemistry texts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-191
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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