Human Chemistry (book)

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Cover (with illustration) of William Fairburn's 1914 book Human Chemistry, shown with image of the Diamond Match Factory, which he was president of when he wrote this book, which describes chemicals and workers both according to the principles of physical chemistry.

In famous publications, Human Chemistry (book) (TR:5) (LH:4) (TL:9) is a 1910 booklet by William Fairburn, then head of the Diamond Match Company, which models people working in a factory as "chemicals" (human chemicals) who make chemicals (matches), both processes described by standard physical chemistry.


In 1914, William Fairburn, a chemical engineer, and expert on match chemistry, then president of the diamond match company, noted for revolutionizing match manufacturing by using sesquisulphate to produce matches rather than white phosphorus, which had been publicly condemned for leading to poisoning, published Human Chemistry, a 55-page booklet, wherein workers in a chemical factory and the chemicals they worked to make, were described according to one set of principles, namely those of physical chemistry.[1]

Notable topics introduced including stating that human reactions can be quantified by energy, entropy, and affinity. He introduces the term “human chemist”, conceptually defined as a boss or foreman, who is trained in both human management and human chemistry or physical chemistry, who there from is able to get his or her workers to react together in advantageous ways. Fairburn also defines people as: human chemical elements, human chemicals, or human elements.


The following are quotes:

“Just as there are many affinities among the chemical elements, so there are many possible harmonious combinations of human workers; some of these harmonious combinations, however, of both chemical and human elements, may become violently explosive when subjected to an outside influence.”
William Fairburn (1914), Human Chemistry (pg. #)
“The classified division of entropy, referring to temperature changes which can be likened to coolness, passion, explosiveness and frigidity, are all interesting but of themselves prove little.”
William Fairburn (1914), Human Chemistry (pg. #)

End matter

See also


  1. Fairburn, William. (1914). Human Chemistry (pdf). The Nation Valley Press.


External links

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