Still Waters: Attributional Survey, 1830–1900
DOI link for Still Waters: Attributional Survey, 1830–1900
Still Waters: Attributional Survey, 1830–1900 book
Relatively still waters prevailed, but there were undercurrents. The activities involved in the controversy itself are primarily processes of attribution. Articles on 'Water', 'Steam' and the 'Steam Engine' in the third edition were important in emphasizing James Watt's philosophical character and gave him considerable credit for discovery of the theory of the composition of water. Thomas Thomson's articles on 'Chemistry' from the 1801 Supplement onwards redressed the balance very much towards Henry Cavendish while giving some acknowledgement to Watt. Works that responded to the escalation of possible content rather differently also often had a different attitude to 'extraneous' attributional and historical material. The evolving stance on the water question taken in various articles and editions of the Britannica and the Metropolitana was a predictable one given the affiliations of those writing and editing them. The survey of chemistry textbooks clearly indicates that, generations of students of chemistry imbibed a story of water in which Cavendish was the central figure.