C1556
 (1560)

A. Descending into the shaft by ladders. B. By sitting on a stick. C. By sitting on the dirt. D. Descending by steps in the cut rock.

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 climbing machines of miners are ladders, fixed to … Read Full Description

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S/N: DRME-171–184754
(C073)
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Details

Full Title:

A. Descending into the shaft by ladders. B. By sitting on a stick. C. By sitting on the dirt. D. Descending by steps in the cut rock.

Date:

C1556
 (1560)

Artist:

Georgius Agricola (1494 - 1555)

Engraver:

Hans Rudolf Manuel Deutsch 
(fl.1525 – 
1572)

Condition:

In good condition.

Technique:

Woodcut

Image Size: 

140mm 
x 235mm
AUTHENTICITY
A. Descending into the shaft by ladders. B. By sitting on a stick. C. By sitting on the dirt. D. Descending by steps in the cut rock. - 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 climbing machines of miners are ladders, fixed to one side of the shaft, and these reach either to the tunnel or to the bottom of the shaft. I need not describe how ‘they are made, because they are used everywhere, and need not so much skill in their construction as care in fixing them. However, miners go down into mines not only by the steps of ladders, but they are also lowered into them while sitting on a stick or a wicker basket, fastened to the rope of one of the three drawing machines which I described at first. Further, when the shafts are much inclined, miners and other workmen sit in the dirt which surrounds their loins and slide down in the same way that boys do in winter-time when the water on some hillside has congealed with the cold, and to prevent themselves from falling, one arm is wound about a rope, the upper end of which is fastened to a beam at the mouth of the shaft, and the lower end to a stake fixed in the bottom of the shaft. In these three ways miners descend into the shafts. A fourth way may be mentioned which is employed when men and horses go down to the underground machines and come up again, that is by inclined shafts which are twisted like a screw and have steps cut in the rock, as I have already described.’

From Agricola Book VI – 

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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