List of Physical Visualizations
and Related Artifacts

1875 – Van’t Hoff’s Molecular Paper Models


Van’t Hoff disseminated his stereochemical ideas to leading chemists of the day by sending them 3-D paper models of tetrahedral molecules, like these now housed in the Leiden Museum.

There might be some difficulty in following my reasoning. I felt this myself, and I have made use of cardboard figures to facilitate the representation. Not wanting to require too much of the reader I will gladly send him the complete collection of all these objects


  1. Van der Spek, Trienke M. Selling a Theory: The Role of Molecular Models in JH van't Hoff's Stereochemistry Theory. Annals of science 63.02 (2006): 157-177.
  2. Gross Ari, Form and Function: Seeing, Knowing, and Reasoning with Diagrams in the Practice of Science, 2013. PhD Thesis. University of Toronto
  3. Chemical Heritage Foundation website
  4. Image courtesy O. Bertrand Ramsay

Added by Fanny Chevalier on November 30, 2014. Category: Uncertain Tags: , , ,