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Chemistry in the Ottoman Empire: Kemmî ve Keyfî Kimya-i Tahlili / Kimya-i Ziraî. Chimie Agricole



Two seemingly unrecorded Ottoman texts on Chemistry


2 titles in 5 parts, bound together, large 8°. Mimeographed text in two colours with illustrations and hand written additions, 136 pp., 107 pp. (two parts of one title). 351 pp., 148 pp., 28 pp. (three parts of one title). Contemporary green cloth binding, contemporary pink endpapers (minor age-toning and staining, light foxing, boards with light repaired chips and staining).


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Mehmed ARIF Bey, author; Halil ENSARI, editor, Mehned ALRAM, scribe / illustrator.

[Kemmî ve Keyfî Kimya-i Tahlili / Quantitative and Qualitative Analytical Chemistry]

Halkalı [today a part of Istanbul]: Halkalı Ziraat ve Baytar Mekteb-i Alisi [Halkalı School of Agriculture] 1328-1329 [1912-1913].

[bound together with:]

Ahmed HAMDI, editor.

[Kimya-i Ziraî. Chimie Agricole / Agricultural Chemistry]

1328-1329 [1912-1913].


The book with two seemingly unrecorded titles on the subject of chemistry was made for the Halkalı School of Agriculture (Halkalı Ziraat ve Baytar Mekteb-i Alisi), which opened in 1892 with Mehmed Ali Bey (1853-1923), a famous veterinarian of the time, appointed the first director. Two years later he became a director of a newly founded veterinary school, before retiring in 1911.

After 1908, several students of the Halkalı agriculture school were sent to study in Europe. The school closed its doors in 1914 at the beginning of WWI, as the students were drafted to fight on the front.

Several Ottoman agriculture schools were founded all over the county at the time of the agricultural reforms between 1888-1908. They were partly funded by the Agricultural Bank (Ziraat Bankasi), which was the heart of the large new infrastructure, connecting the people and economy through the newly founded transportation routes, most important being the new railroad connections, which suddenly enabled a rapid contact between the rural areas and big cities. These agricultural schools contributed to the decentralization of the country, helped educating people from the provinces and introduced to the countryside the latest scientific discoveries on the field of botany, chemistry and land survey.

The books, made for educational purposes at these Ottoman agriculture schools, were produced in small numbers, usually in forms of manuscripts or mimeographed manuscripts and based on the lecturer’s speeches. With their charming improvised illustrations, which accompany countless new information, mostly based on the western knowledge, they offer a valuable insight into the educational methods of such institutions and show the dedication of the educators.

The first title includes the text on the analytical chemistry, accompanied with charming illustrations and is an abbreviated version of a work with the same title, written by a chemist Mehmed Arif and first published in 1896.

Both titles appear to be unrecorded.

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