Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here


No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Nuncius

title SUMMARY /title

The spiritus salis (hydrochloric acid) was known as a mineral acid from antiquity, but its exact chemical composition remained a mystery until the emergence of electrochemistry in the early nineteenth century.

The case of this acid shows the complex status of the concept of chemical substance in the various phases of the historical evolution of modern chemical thought.

The aim of this paper is to show such a complex status through an examination of the research in electrochemistry which took place in Tuscany at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The paper specifically examines the works of Francesco Pacchiani who, in 1805, thought to have proved that spirit of salt was composed of hydrogen and oxygen. Between 1805 and 1806 the international scientific community carefully discussed Pacchiani's research and discoveries .

The Pacchiani case reveals that the composition of the spirit of salt was a true puzzle for chemical philosophy at that time.

The study of the fate of Pacchiani's work also provides some information on the Italian chemical community at the time of Napoleon I and demonstrates that Giovanni Fabbroni, the vice-director of the Museum of Physics and Natural History in Florence, was the leading representative of Tuscan science and was much admired throughout Europe. Fabbroni took a prominent part in the affairs of the Pacchiani case. Therefore the paper offers a primary documentation of Fabbroni's ideas on electrochemistry and of his efforts to favour the spreading of Tuscan research in this field.

Affiliations: 1: Universit della Calabria, Cosenza


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Nuncius — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation