FAMILIAR LETTERS ON CHEMISTRY
FAMILIAR LETTERS ON CHEMISTRY
PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF GIESSEN.
JOHN GARDNER M.D.
MEMBER OF THE CHEMICAL SOCIETY.
Second Edition Corrected.
The Letters contained in this little Volume embrace some of the most
important points of the science of Chemistry in their application
to Natural Philosophy Physiology Agriculture and Commerce. Some
of them treat of subjects which have already been or will hereafter
be more fully discussed in my larger works. They were intended to
be mere sketches and were written for the especial purpose of
exciting the attention of governments and an enlightened public to
the necessity of establishing Schools of Chemistry and of
promoting by every means the study of a science so intimately
connected with the arts pursuits and social well-being of modern
For my own part I do not scruple to avow the conviction that ere
long a knowledge of the principal truths of Chemistry will be
expected in every educated man and that it will be as necessary to
the Statesman the Political Economist and the Practical
Agriculturist as it is already indispensable to the Physician and
In Germany such of these Letters as have been already published
have not failed to produce some of the results anticipated. New
professorships have been established in the Universities of
Goettingen and Wuertzburg for the express purpose of facilitating
the application of chemical truths to the practical arts of life
and of following up the new line of investigation and research--the
bearing of Chemistry upon Physiology Medicine and
Agriculture--which may be said to be only just begun.
My friend Dr. Ernest Dieffenbach one of my first pupils who is
well acquainted with all the branches of Chemistry Physics Natural
History and Medicine suggested to me that a collection of these
Letters would be acceptable to the English public which has so
favourably received my former works.
I readily acquiesced in the publication of an English edition and
undertook to write a few additional Letters which should embrace
some conclusions I have arrived at in my recent investigations in
connection with the application of chemical science to the
physiology of plants and agriculture.
My esteemed friend Dr. Gardner has had the kindness to revise the
manuscript and the proof sheets for publication for which I cannot
refrain expressing my best thanks.
It only remains for me to add a hope that this little offering may
serve to make new friends to our beautiful and useful science and
be a remembrancer to those old friends who have for many years
past taken a lively interest in all my labours.
Giessen Aug. 1843.
The Subject proposed. Materials employed for Chemical Apparatus:--
GLASS--CAOUTCHOUC--CORK--PLATINUM. THE BALANCE. The "Elements" of
the Ancients represent the forms of matter. Lavoisier and his
successors. Study of the materials composing the Earth. Synthetic
production of Minerals--LAPIS LAZULI. Organic Chemistry.
Changes of Form which every kind of Matter undergoes. Conversion of
Gases into Liquids and Solids. Carbonic Acid--its curious properties
in a solid state. Condensation of Gases by porous bodies. By Spongy
Platinum. Importance of this property in Nature.
The Manufacture of Soda from Culinary Salt; its importance in the
Arts and in Commerce. Glass--Soap--Sulphuric Acid. Silver Refining.
Bleaching. TRADE IN SULPHUR.
Connection of Theory with Practice. Employment of MAGNETISM as a
moving power--its impracticability. Relation of Coals and Zinc as
economic sources of Force. Manufacture of Beet-root Sugar--its
impolicy. Gas for illumination.
ISOMERISM or identity of composition in bodies with different
chemical and physical properties. CRYSTALLISATION. AMORPHISM.
ISOMORPHISM or similarity of properties in bodies totally different