C1556
 (1560)

A. Wheel B. Axel C. Journals D. Pillows E. Drum F. Clamps G. Drawing-Chain H. Timbers I. Balls K. Pipe L. Race of Stream

Artist:

Georgius Agricola (1494 - 1555)

Rare woodcut from De Re Metallica printed in 1560, which was the the most famous study on all aspects of mining and metallurgy, and one of the first technological books of modern times. The third pump of this kind is … Read Full Description

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Details

Full Title:

A. Wheel B. Axel C. Journals D. Pillows E. Drum F. Clamps G. Drawing-Chain H. Timbers I. Balls K. Pipe L. Race of Stream

Date:

C1556
 (1560)

Artist:

Georgius Agricola (1494 - 1555)

Engraver:

Hans Rudolf Manuel Deutsch 
(1525 – 
1572)

Condition:

In good condition.

Technique:

Woodcut

Image Size: 

140mm 
x 235mm
AUTHENTICITY
A. Wheel B. Axel C. Journals D. Pillows E. Drum F. Clamps G. Drawing-Chain H. Timbers I. Balls K. Pipe L. Race of Stream - Antique Print from 1556

Genuine antique
dated:

1560

Description:

Rare woodcut from De Re Metallica printed in 1560, which was the the most famous study on all aspects of mining and metallurgy, and one of the first technological books of modern times.

The third pump of this kind is employed by miners when no river capable of turning a water-wheel can be diverted, and it is made as follows. They first dig a chamber and erect strong timbers and planks to prevent the sides from falling in, which would overwhelm the pump and kill the men. The roof of the chamber is protected with contiguous- timbers, so arranged that the horses which pull the machine can travel over it. Next they again set up sixteen beams forty feet long and one foot wide and thick, joined by clamps at the top and spreading apart at the bottom, and they fit the lower end of each beam into a separate sill laid flat on the ground, and join these by a post; thus there is created a circular area of which the diameter is fifty feet. Through an opening in the centre of this area there descends an upright square axle, forty-five feet long and a foot and a half wide and thick; its lower pivot revolves in a socket in a block laid flat on the ground in the chamber, and the upper pivot revolves in a bearing in a beam which is mortised into two beams at the summit beneath the clamps; the lower pivot is seventeen feet distant from either side of the chamber, i.e., from its front and rear. At the height of a foot above its lower end, the axle has a toothed wheel, the diameter of which is twenty-two feet. This wheel is composed of four spokes and eight rim pieces; the spokes are fifteen feet long and three-quarters of a foot wide and thick; one end of them is mortised in the axle, the other in the two rims where they are joined together. These rims are three-quarters of a foot thick and one foot wide, and from them there rise and project upright teeth three-quarters of a foot high, half a foot wide, and six digits thick. These teeth turn a second horizontal axle by means of a drum composed of twelve rundles, each three feet long and six digits wide and thick. This drum, being turned, causes the axle to revolve, and around this axle there is a drum having iron clamps with four-fold curves in which catch the links of a chain, which draws water through pipes by means of balls. The iron journals of this horizontal axle revolve on pillows which are set in the centre of timbers. Above the roof of the chamber there are mortised into the upright axle the ends of two beams which rise obliquely; the upper ends of these beams support double cross-beams, likewise mortised to the axle. In the outer end of each cross-beam there is mortised a small wooden piece which appears to hang down; in this wooden piece there is similarly mortised at the lower end a short board; this has an iron key which engages a chain, and this chain again a pole-bar. This machine, which draws water from a shaft two hundred and forty feet deep, is worked by thirty-two horses; eight of them work for four hours, and then these rest for twelve hours, and the same number take their place. This kind of machine is employed at the foot of the Harz mountains and in the neighbourhood. Further, if necessity arises, several pumps of this kind are often built for the purpose of mining one vein, but arranged differently in different localities varying according to the depth. At Schemnitz, in the Carpathian mountains, there are three pumps, of which the lowest lifts water from the lowest sump to the first drains, through which it flows into the second sump; the intermediate one lifts from the second sump to the second drain, from which it flows into the third sump; and the upper one lifts it to the drains of the tunnel, through which it flows away. This system of three machines of this kind is turned by ninety-six horses; these horses go down to the machines by an inclined shaft, which slopes and twists like a screw and gradually descends. The lowest of these machines is set in a deep place, which is distant from the surface of the ground 660 feet.

Artist:

Georgius Agricola (1494-1555)

Agricola was a German Catholic, scholar and scientist. Known as “the father of mineralogy“, he was born at Glauchau in Saxony. His birth name was Georg Pawer (Bauer) and Agricola is the Latinised version of his name, by which he was known his entire adult life. Agricola, studied at Leipzig, Bologna and Padua and became town physician of the mining centre of Joachimsthal in Bohemia and physician at Chemnitz in Saxony from 1534 until his death. Living in mining regions all his life made it possible for him to study mining practices first hand and these direct observations made this series particularly valuable and effective.

The De Re Metallica embraces everything connected with the mining industry and metallurgical processes, including administration, prospecting, the duties of officials and companies and the manufacture of glass, sulphur and alum. The magnificent woodcut illustrations by Hans Rudolf Manuel Deutsch illustrate the different processes involved in mining and include mechanical engineering details such as the use of water-power, hauling, pumps, ventilation, blowing of furnaces and transport of ores.

Agricola made an important contribution to physical geology. He recognized the influence of water and wind on the shaping of the landscape and gave a clear account of of the order of the strata he saw in the mines. Writing on the origin of mountains, he descrivbes the eroding action of water as their cause with a perspicacity much in advance of his time.

The De Re Metallica was frequently reprinted and is said to have reached China in the seventeenth century. Interest in it was revived in the eighteenth century by Abraham Gottlieb Werner, and in 1912 it was translated into English by Herbert Hoover, afterwards President of the United States.

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