Historical Reprints Science Manures and the Principles of Manuring

Manures and the Principles of Manuring

Manures and the Principles of Manuring
Catalog # SKU2093
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name C. M. Aikman


and the
Principles of Manuring


When the present work was first undertaken there were but few works in English dealing with its subject-matter, and hardly any which dealt with the question of Manuring at any length. During the last few years, however, owing to the greatly increased interest taken in agricultural education, the demand for agricultural scientific literature has called into existence quite a number of new works. Despite this fact, the author ventures to believe that the gap which the present treatise was originally designed to fill is still unfilled.


Agricultural Chemistry, like most branches of natural science, may be said to be entirely of modern growth. While it is true we have many old speculations on the subject, they can scarcely be said to possess much scientific value. The great questions which had first to be solved by the agricultural chemist were,-What is the food of plants? and,-What is the source of that food?

The second of these two questions more easily admitted of answer than the first. The source of plant-food could only be the atmosphere or the soil. As the composition of the atmosphere, however, was not discovered till the close of last century, and the chemistry of the soil is a question which is still requiring much work ere we shall be in possession of anything like a full knowledge of it, it will be at once obvious that the very fundamental conditions for a solution of the question were awanting. The beginning, then, of a true scientific agricultural chemistry may be said to date from the brilliant discoveries associated with the names of Priestley, Scheele, Lavoisier, Cavendish, and Black-that is, towards the close of last century.

Early Theories on Source of Plant-food.

While this is so, and while we must regard the early attempts made towards solving this question as being, for the most part, of little scientific value, it is not without interest, from the historical point of view, to glance briefly at some of these old interesting speculations. The Aristotelian doctrine, regarding the possibility of dividing matter into the so-called four primary elements, fire, air, earth, and water, which obtained in one form or another till the birth of modern chemistry, had naturally an important influence on these early theories.

Van Helmont's Theory.

Among the earliest and most important attempts made to solve the problem of plant-growth was that by Jean Baptiste Van Helmont, one of the best known of the alchemists, who flourished about the beginning of the seventeenth century. Van Helmont believed that he had proved by a conclusive experiment that all the products of vegetables were capable of being generated from water.

670+ pages - 8¼ x 6¾ softcover

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