Hyle 12 (2):163 - 191 (2006)

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 hey-day, 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
Keywords Philosophy of Chemistry  popularization of chemistry  popular chemistry books  Netherlands  19th century  Gerrit Jan Mulder  Jan Willem Gunning
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