Eighteenth Century Chemistry and Alchemy

The 1st Ed. of the Encyclopedia Brittanica (1771) is online on google books (Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3.) This contains the very interesting article on Chemistry which was re-published by Carl W. Stahl as "Eighteenth Century Chemistry as It Relates to Alchemy."

The editor of the 1st Ed. E.B. was William Smellie, who said "I wrote most of it, my lad, and snipped out from books enough material for the printer. With pastepot and scissors I composed it!", and it appears that significant portions of the E.B. article were indeed lifted from Elements of the theory and practice of chymistry Vol 1, Vol 2. [via]

Chemistry was rapidly evolving at this time, already by the 2nd edition of the E.B. (1797) most alchemical references have begun to be elided or rationalized in the entry for Chemistry. For instance, it opens the section on the theory of chemistry with a discussion on the controversies over the various models of elements in competition at the time and various contemporary proofs and experiments against the classical elements.

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