Chapter

The Dawn of Scientific Sunlight

in American Sunshine

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780226262819
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226262833 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226262833.003.0003
The Dawn of Scientific Sunlight

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This chapter addresses the new knowledge of sunlight. Two main discoveries—rickets and the significance of ultraviolet light—changed discussions about sunlight's uses. The new knowledge of sunlight covered a brighter future in which technology brought salvation. The relative scarcity of sunlight was a major problem. Rickets, which offered cues to one of the great curiosities of sunlight therapy, remained the unquestioned king of the diseases of darkness; it was also the only one that sunlight treated fully and perfectly. Sunshine was a newly (re)discovered health agent and one that pitchmen enthusiastically sold. Technology would restore natural bright light and good health to every American. It can be stated that the techniques employed to make the sick healthy and the rest robust varied, but all experts counseled that they had to be precise and based on sound, scientific principles.

Keywords: sunlight; rickets; ultraviolet light; salvation; technology; darkness

Chapter.  10977 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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