Last week, I posted an early photo of a Chemistry lab from Brockport. Not to be outdone, my wife Rozenn (historian of the Western Monroe Historical Society at the Morgan Manning House) found this picture in one of her books:The caption for the picture reads:
The [Brockport] Chemistry Laboratory: The 1899 yearbook describes the chemistry laboratory as “one of the best appointed in the state, having ample table room for 50 students at one time … The department has over $2,500 worth of physical apparatus, over 2,500 stereopticon slides and some 3,000 specimens.”
That $2,500 in instrumentation would be a bit over 70 thousand in today’s dollars, and I’m happy to say that our department has far more instrumentation than that. The reference to thousands of specimens and stereopticon slides got me thinking about what was taught in Chemistry 118 years ago (hey that’s one year for every element on the periodic table). A quick web search brought me to this article, (which is behind a paywall if you don’t have access to ACS journals) that reviews an historical Chemistry textbook from 1809. It was written by Jane Marcet to “… provide women with a method of educating themselves in chemistry …” and uses a conversational style that is not seen in contemporary instructional materials. This #ThrowbackThursday has me thinking about revisiting some teaching styles (to justify procrastinating on that pile of grading for one more day).