Peter Shaw provided Osborn with many of the most basic writings needed to learn medicine.  Shaw was an important translator of several important chemistry writings:

  • A New Practice of Physic, 2ed. 1728. republished up to 7 eds. in 1753.
  • Proposal for a Course of Chemical Experiments, 1731.
  • Chemical Lectures, 1734
  • An Enquiry into the Contents, Virtues, and Uses of the Scarborough Spa Waters . . . 1734.
  • A dissertation on the contents . . . of cold and hot mineral springs, 1735.
  • A philosophical and chymical analysis of Antimony, 1747.
  • Three Essays in Artificial Philosophy, or Universal Chemistry, 2ed. 1761.
  • Translater of various  works by Herman Boerhaave, Robert Boyle and Sir Francis Bacon.
  •  Translator of George Ernst Stahl’s Philosophical principles of universal chemistry; published along with Hauksbee’s An Essay for Introducing a Portable Laboratory.

Shaw became a member of the Royal Society in 1752.  Living in Scarborough during his later years, he became a promoter of the medical virtues of scarborough water, alongside apothecary Culmer Cockerill.  The popularity of this water was promoted by the essay he wrote entitled An Enquiry into the Contents, Virtues, and Uses of the Scarborough Spa Waters.  A year later, they began to manufacture and market their Scarborough waters product.  A rapid increase in the popularity of this water in turn led Shaw to come to serve as the physician for Kings George II and George III in Cambridge; through Royal Mandate,  he then received an official MD degree.



I am deeply appreciative of the contributions to this biography provided to me around 1990 by medical history colleague Margaret DeLacy of Portland, Oregon.


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