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ORIGINS OF MODERNITY

alchemy & chemistry

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Stahl, Georg Ernst (1660-1734)
Opusculum chymico-physico-medicum.
Halę Magdeburgicę : Typis & Impensis Orphanotrophei, 1715.

Image from Stahl's Opusculum

The German chemist Georg Ernst Stahl (1659-1734) exerted enormous influence on chemistry in the mid-eighteenth century. Indeed his phlogiston chemistry was the predominant chemical system until the time of Lavoisier and Priestley whose fame rests, in part, in their overthrow of Stahl's system. Stahl's Opusculum is a collection of his early writings in chemistry, including his first publication the Zymotechnia Fundamentalis. The Zymotechnia is a corpuscularian critique of theories of fermentation and acidity which had come to dominate late seventeenth-century chemistry. It reveals most of the fundamental notions of Stahlian chemistry including the notion of phlogiston, a substance which was thought to be essential for combustion.

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