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ORIGINS OF MODERNITY

alchemy & chemistry

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Hales, Stephen (1677-1761)
Vegetable staticks, or, An account of some statical experiments on the sap in vegetables : being an essay towards a natural history of vegetation. Also a specimen of an attempt to analyse the air, by a great variety of chymio-statical experiments; which were read at several meetings before the Royal Society ...
London : Printed for W. and J. Innys; and T. Woodward, 1727.

Image from Hales' Vegetable staticks

Vegetable Staticks was a ground-breaking work on the production of airs, or what we would call different kinds of gases. Hales developed a pedestal apparatus which enabled the experimenter to measure the amount of 'air' released during a chemical reaction. This apparatus would prove crucial to the later work of Priestley and Lavoisier. More importantly, Hales demonstrated that air could exist 'fixed' in a wide variety of animal, vegetable and mineral substances.

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