The Ocean at Home: An Illustrated History of the Aquarium

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Shapeshifters John B. Bee Claire Preston. Boxing Kasia Boddy.

The Ocean at Home : An Illustrated History of the Aquarium (2nd Expanded Revised) [Paperback]

Designing Modern Japan Sarah Teasley. Darker Shades Victor I. Table of Contents. It was no simple task, Brunner explains, even to tell plants from animals while both gender and reproduction defied the imagination when it was understood at all. Ever so slowly, however, natural historians started sorting out some of the sea's complex ecology.

An Illustrated History of the Aquarium

Learning wasn't facilitated by the fact that scientists couldn't observe their captives for very long. The creatures had a propensity to die and stink up their jars if not the entire house. Then someone stumbled on to the idea of bringing home the captives with a few of the plants that lived around it. That worked a lot better and was in fact the way we learned about that neat carbon dioxide-oxygen exchange thing plants are so good at, the one that makes it possible for us to live on this planet.

Finding a way to keep the creatures alive made it possible for more folks, the average bourgeois, to keep a little of the sea in the front room. It became a fad. Run off to the beach and bring home a critter or two with a few plants and a little seawater and there you are, the envy of your neighbors.

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Say now, if it's a fad, it might be a commercial venture, and sure enough, a lot of The Ocean at Home is about the commerce necessary to create and support the aquarium fad. To have a saltwater aquarium in your Geneva chalet, the entrepreneur has to make saltwater available.

Oh, and the critters. That presents a problem, transporting them. Well ferns were a fad back then too, and folks had developed nearly watertight cases for transporting them. A little tampering here and there, and you've a box to ship a shark in if that's your desire.

The Ocean at Home: An Illustrated History of the Aquarium | NHBS Academic & Professional Books

The scientists, naturalists, enthusiasts and an occasional charlatan who were into aquariums were also a literary bunch. So the commercial aquarium business came with its built-in instruction manual and marketing team. The Ocean at Home makes liberal use of the advertising text and illustrations that made the aquarium a commercial success. But fads come and go; they are boom and bust.


  1. Filotimo!: Abenteuer, Alltag und Krise in Griechenland (German Edition).
  2. - The Ocean At Home An Illustrated History of the Aquarium by Bernd Brunner.
  3. Candido (Mondadori): ovvero lottimismo (Oscar classici Vol. 122) (Italian Edition).

Besides, the magic of the sea was available only to a limited audience. Enter, the public aquarium, an institution much like museums, arboretums, zoos, or botanical gardens that were also the rage of the age.

Amazing Monterey Bay Aquarium in California

Vienna was the first to get one. London's Regent's Park wasn't far behind.

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America wasn't far behind either. And not to be outdone, it started with two and this speaks to the contradictory way we have of thinking about such things.

Barnum provided one of our aquaria; the other sat next to the Smithsonian. The Ocean at Home offers a colourful look at how a Victorian obsession still enchants many worldwide. Both the owner of a humble goldfish bowl and the dazzled spectator at a major public aquarium will find this an appealing and knowledgeable guide to the aquatic worlds we create.

The ocean at home : an illustrated history of the aquarium

In the process, Brunner, a German writer of measured, slyly humorous tones, reveals much about how we relate to our greater environment. During the ,aquatic vivaria became a craze, and this well-illustrated book is full of wonderful engravings of ingenious Victorian tanks.

Nicely executed and full of great pictures.