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Draw the Lightning DownBenjamin Franklin and Electrical Technology in the Age of Enlightenment$
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Michael Brian Schiffer

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520238022

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520238022.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 26 July 2021

. A New Alchemy

. A New Alchemy

Chapter:
(p.206) 10. A New Alchemy
Source:
Draw the Lightning Down
Author(s):

Michael Brian Schiffer

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520238022.003.0010

This chapter investigates the significant role of electrical technology in chemistry. It specifically addresses that new alchemists incorporated electrical technology into chemical experiments. The chapter also highlights the studies performed by the new alchemists and describes their electrical technologies. A fascinating instrument, the “electrical air thermometer” has generated much confusion over the years on the basis that it was supposed to measure air temperature. It served admirably as a specialized device for vanquishing the first cold fusion. Electricity provoked both calcination and combustion, two processes that had preoccupied chemical theorists for centuries. Volta's invention of the electrochemical battery traditionally serves as both an end and a beginning for electrical technology. It was a momentous beginning, for the descendants of these technologies are central to life in the modern electrical world.

Keywords:   electrical technology, chemistry, new alchemists, electrical air thermometer, cold fusion, electrochemical battery, calcination, combustion, Volta

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