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Boerhaave´s Furnace : exploring early modern chemistry through working models.

Hendriksen, Marieke M.A. and Verwaal, Ruben E. (2020) 'Boerhaave´s Furnace : exploring early modern chemistry through working models.', Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte., 43 (3). pp. 385-411.


This article discusses the (re)construction and use of an Early modern instrument, better known as Herman Boerhaave's (1668–1738) little furnace. We investigate the origins, history and materiality of this furnace, and examine the dynamic relationship between historical study and reconstructing and handling an object. We argue that combining textual analysis with performative methods allows us to gain a better understanding of both the role of lost material culture in historical chemical practice, pedagogy, and knowledge production, and provide a deeper understanding of the embodied experiences and knowledge of historical actors. Having made and used two versions of Boerhaave's furnace, we provide insight in what present‐day working models can tell us about historical materials and practices approximately three centuries ago.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2020 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH GmbH. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Date accepted:08 July 2020
Date deposited:08 September 2020
Date of first online publication:04 September 2020
Date first made open access:08 September 2020

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