Pee in a Jar?! Dirty Materials in the History of Science

Urine pot, Tilburg, 1825–1850

Objects can be a real pearl on the shores of history of science. Telescopes and steam engines still figure prominently in our field, and rightfully so. From the edited volume Making Instruments Count (1993) to Frans van Lunteren’s blog ‘Mediating Machines’ at Shells & Pebbles, many scholars research the role of scientific instruments in the history of discoveries, experiments, applications, and education. But besides microscopes and machines I would argue that some artisan objects and ordinary materials deserve similar attention.