I study eighteenth-century chemistry in Britain, particularly the chemical theories and practices that inhabited factories, laboratories, and the marketplace. I am investigating the life and work of the Scottish-born chemist and industrialist, James Keir (1735-1820), whose experimenting, translating, writing, manufacturing, and witnessing epitomizes the multifaceted outworking of chemistry in the early modern era. My dissertation reveals the interface of chemistry, metallurgy, and material consumption through my analysis of Keir’s patented copper alloy (‘Keir’s metal’). I argue that Keir’s metal was a complex material whose various identities resulted from its movement between sites of production and application, where philosophical, social, and technological factors shaped the alloy’s properties and purposes.
Kristen M. Schranz, “The Tipton Chemical Works of Mr James Keir: Networks of Conversants, Chemicals, Canals and Coal Mines,” Int. J. for the History of Eng. & Tech., vol. 84, no. 2 (July 2014): 248-73.