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American SunshineDiseases of Darkness and the Quest for Natural Light$
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Daniel Freund

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226262819

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226262833.001.0001

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The Dawn of Scientific Sunlight

The Dawn of Scientific Sunlight

(p.37) 2 The Dawn of Scientific Sunlight
American Sunshine
University of Chicago Press

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

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