Berg’s Project: Presentation of Experimental Information
The information Berg presents in each experiment is consistent throughout the six notebooks. Each begins with a list of ingredients and the quantities used. The substances and combinations varied widely, but for most experiments Berg used fewer than seven ounces of ingredients in total. Typically, a sentence or phrase giving the place of firing and length of time in the furnace or kiln followed the listing of ingredients. Berg often used the furnace at Stephen Hall’s Falcon glass works or at Whitefriars’, identified as [Cary] “Stafford’s furnace” or the jeweler’s kiln identified as “Carter’s,” probably that of Edward Carter. Firing times varied from a half-hour for some enamel colors to a full day or longer. Berg’s records continue with one or two sentences about the result: appearance, consistency, weight, whether it could be worked and if so how well, and so forth. Important to our recognition of Berg’s understanding of chemistry is his inclusion of a chemistry-based explanation or mechanism for his finding.Controlling the quantity of phlogiston and balancing the affinities of ingredients are two concerns we would expect to find in a practical work about eighteenth-century colormaking: Berg’s concerns with both is irregularly expressed in his notes. His comments also recorded such failures as mixtures that ran over or could not be extracted from the crucible. And finally, Berg added comments to some experiments weeks or months later. These remarks might note that a formula effloresced, fell apart, or perhaps was given to a glassblower to make a small bottle or other trinket.