Chemical education and the chemical industry in England from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century
The thesis examines the relationship between formal education and the chemical industry from about 1850 to about 1920. It first surveys relevant literature and discusses historiographical and definitional matters. It then sketches aspects of the relationship between science, education and technique during the early nineteenth century. It moves on to explore the representation of that relationship during the period of the thesis proper. It argues that this was dominated by a view articulated largely by academic chemists from the mid-century. Industrial relevance was exploited as a means of promoting research and teaching. This, rather than an 'objective' analysis, influenced the view which was promoted. Alternative, more directly technical, approaches were envisaged by some industrialists. At the turn of the century a complex negotiation was in progress, focusing on the place of technological disciplines in academe. Attempts to establish chemical technology curricula in the nineteenth century are surveyed. Reasons are suggested for their failure, particularly the difficulties in publicly transmitting and creating commercially sensitive knowledge and the pressures of curricular and institutional hierarchies. By contrast curricula in 'pure' chemistry were numerically successful. The thesis examines the recruitment of chemistry students by the industrial and educational sectors. It surveys the occupations of a sample of students from a range of English institutions. It concludes that industrial recruitment had a greater role than has been suggested by some scholars. The recruitment and employment of trained men in a number of chemical firms is surveyed, and it is concluded that their main role was in routine analysis. Expansion of this activity was slow, involving vertical routes into managerial positions rather than functional specialization and bureaucracies. A class of technically-trained routine analysts was created. The growth of chemical engineering as academic field and occupation is examined. The roles of academics and industrialists in conceptualizing the field around 'unit operations' are discussed. An account is given of the emergence of the Institution of Chemical Engineers.