Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge
Reform-minded members of the English Whig party created the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK) in 1826. Their goal was to extend scientific and other high-minded information to the rapidly expanding reading public.
Technological developments in the printing industry facilitated the diffusion of knowledge. These innovations included steam driven presses and even railway distirbution. The stereotyping process also offered an advantage, enabling printers to cast text and illustration pages for rapid printing.
Members of the Society agreed to avoid controversy, yet they fell into it nonetheless. A progressive cast of actors produced the publications. Their goal to undermine political radicalism through rational information led others to view their efforts as subversive. Some conservatives charged that the SDUK encouraged the masses to rise above their stations. These critics even claimed the SDUK was a danger to society.