C1556
 (1560)

A,B. Two furnaces. C. Tap- holes of furnaces. D. Forehearths. E. Their tap-holes. F. Dipping-pots. G. At the one furnace stands the smelter carrying a wicker basket full of charcoal. At the other furnace stands a smelter who with a third hooked-bar breaks

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 furnace in the third method of … Read Full Description

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S/N: DRME-319–194971
(C073)
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Full Title:

A,B. Two furnaces. C. Tap- holes of furnaces. D. Forehearths. E. Their tap-holes. F. Dipping-pots. G. At the one furnace stands the smelter carrying a wicker basket full of charcoal. At the other furnace stands a smelter who with a third hooked-bar breaks

Date:

C1556
 (1560)

Artist:

Georgius Agricola (1494 - 1555)

Engraver:

Hans Rudolf Manuel Deutsch 
(fl.1525 – 
1572)

Condition:

In good condition.

Technique:

Woodcut
AUTHENTICITY
A,B. Two furnaces. C. Tap- holes of furnaces. D. Forehearths. E. Their tap-holes. F. Dipping-pots. G. At the one furnace stands the smelter carrying a wicker basket full of charcoal. At the other furnace stands a smelter who with a third hooked-bar breaks - 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 furnace in the third method of smelting ores has the tap-hole likewise open, but the furnace is higher and wider than the others, and its bellows are larger; for these reasons a larger charge of the ore can be thrown into it. When the mines yield a great abundance of ore for the smelter, they smelt in the same furnace continuously for three days and three nights, providing there be no defect either in the hearth or in the forehearth. In this kind of a furnace almost every kind of accretion will be found. The forehearth of the furnace is not unlike the forehearth of the first furnace of all, except that it has a tap-hole. However, because large charges of ore are smelted uninterruptedly, and the melted material runs out and the slags are skimmed off, there is need for a second forehearth crucible, into which the molten material runs through an opened tap-hole when the first is full. When a smelter has spent twelve hours’ labour on this work, another always takes his place. The ores of copper and lead and the poorest ores of gold and silver are smelted by this method, because they cannot be smelted by the other three methods on account of the greater expense occasioned. Yet by this method a centumpondium of ore containing only one or two drachmae of gold, or only a half to one uncia of silver , can be smelted; because there is a large amount of ore in each charge, smelting is continuous, and without expensive fluxes such as lead, litharge, and hearth-lead. In this method of smelting we must use only cupriferous pyrites which easily melt in the fire, in truth the cakes melted out from this, if they no longer absorb much gold or silver, are replenished again from crude pyrites alone. If from this poor ore, with melted pyrites alone, material for cakes cannot be made, there are added other fluxes which have not previously been melted. These fluxes are, namely, lead ore, stones easily fused by fire of the second order and sand made from them, limestone, tophus, white schist, and iron stone.

BOOK XI – Smelting Ores.

Biography:

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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