Article ID: CBB276623423

The “Subtile Aereal Spirit of Fountains”: Mineral Waters and the History of Pneumatic Chemistry (2016)


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.

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Authors & Contributors
Debus, Allen G.
Clericuzio, Antonio
Roos, Anna Marie Eleanor
Walton, Michael Thomson
Yoshimoto, Hideyuki
Newman, William Royall
Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
化学史研究 [Kagakushi kenkyū; Journal of the Japanese Society for the History of Chemistry]
British Journal for the History of Science
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
University of Chicago Press
Science History
Pickering & Chatto
Springer International Publishing
Pneumatic chemistry
Theory of the elements
Disease and diseases
Boyle, Robert
Helmont, Jan Baptista van
Newton, Isaac
Boerhaave, Herman
Hoffmann, Friedrich
Sherley, Thomas
Time Periods
17th century
18th century
19th century
16th century
British Isles
Great Britain
Berlin (Germany)
Bath (England)
Royal Society of London

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