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Real Fairy Folks: Explorations in the World of Atoms, Lucy Rider Meyer, 1887

A number of Victorian-era science writers used fairies to explain the workings of nature. Meyer’s book portrays the elements as personable little fairies, with intertwined arms, legs, and wings representing chemical bonds.


Photo by Gregory Tobias.

From the collections at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. CHF is a non-profit library, museum, and center for scholars that's dedicated to the history of chemistry. To learn more, visit

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Taken on April 11, 2007