The "Polytechnisches Journal"

The founding editor of the "Polytechnisches Journal" was Johann Gottfried Dingler, a chemical and textile industrialist who was born in Zweibrücken in 1778. His scientific interests were similar to those of Johann Beckmann, founder of the academic discipline "studies of Technology" and Karl Karmasch, who wrote reviews about 50 german magazines for Johann Dingler. Emil Maximilian, Dingler's son, later became coeditor of the "Polytechnisches Journal" and only gave away his position shortly before his death in 1874. This led to the renaming of the magazine into "Dingler's Polytechnisches Journal".


The engineering schools of the 19th century were so called 'Poly-technical Academies'. Some of the most famous ones were the "Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule" in Zurich, the universities in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe and the "Ecole Polytechnique" that was founded by Carnot and Monge in Paris.

The "Polytechnisches Journal" stands for the vast disciplines of knowledge in the 19th century beacause it reflects upon the gesture of multitude that was evident in scientific research at that time.

Yet the multitude is no contradiction to its immanent diversity. Dingler's project of Poly-technology contained no less than "the general natural history, natural sciences, chemistry, mineralogy, botany, agriculture, domestic economy, study of machine, business theory, studies of trade and goods" (Dingler, J.G.: Vorwort. In: Polytechnisches Journal, Bd. 1, 1820.)

In the mid 19th century the word "Poly-technology" falls victim to the progressing differentiation of the disciplines in science.

Content and Topics

Since the "Polytechnisches Journal" was published over a period of 111 years, the topics range from the first roots of electrical technology all the way to the general theory of relativity. While in the beginning issues dealt with questions of slow agricultural processes and the increasing usage of machines in the trades, fields such as mining and steel mining, vehicle- and machine construction, propulsion technology, chemical engineering, electrical engineering or telecommunication increasingly became a central part of the "Polytechnisches Journal".

Apart from the translating and discussing of European patent specifications and technical innovations the "Polytechnisches Journal" also dealt with sociopolitical questions. The development of the factory work force as well as the first signs of pollution were thematized.

Fields of Research

The articles of the "Polytechnisches Journal" are an example for the development of culture in a technical context- they put light upon the ever changing relationship between nature and culture. Due to the course of the Industrialization, new technological achievements gain relevance in every day life and become a specific cultural manifestation that lies beyond the enthusiasm for technology only science-savvy experts share. Especially at the point of intersection between the histories of knowledge and science, between knowledge in its' implicit and explicit form, in other words from the culture historical point of view, the "polytechnisches Journal" is unique and essential for a large number of research fields.