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Beschreibung allerfürnemisten Mineralischen Ertzt unnd Bergwercks arten, wie dieselbigen, unnd eine jede in sonderheit, jrer Natur und Eigenschafft nach, auff alle Metaln Probirt, und im kleinem ewer sollen versucht werden, mit Erklerung etlicher fürnehmen nützlichen Schmeltzwercken im grossen fewer, auch schaidung Goldt, Silber vnnd andere Metalln sampt einem Bericht des Kupffer saigerns, messing brennens unnd Salpeter Siedens, auch aller saltzigen Minerischen proben und was denen allen anhengig in fünff Bücherverfast vergleichen zuuorn niemals in Druck kommen.
Prague, Georg Schwartz, 1574 - Folio (298 x 193 mm), ff [4] CXXXX [6, including terminal blank], title in red and black with woodcut illustration of furnaces, smelting and distillation operations and 33 large woodcut illustrations in text; lower outer quarter of leaf CXV (Ff3) torn away with old (early seventeeth-century paper with foolscap watermark) neat manuscript replacement, affecting portion of woodcut on recto and several lines of text on verso, light toning of paper throughout, marginal spotting, the last ten leaves with some heavier staining on lower third, still an attractive and appealing copy, untouched, in its original binding of a eleventh/twelfth-century Carolingian manuscript (see below), darkened and worn but intact.First edition, an appealing copy of this great rarity, despite the early restoration of a defective leaf. This is the first manual of analytical and metallurgical chemistry and, along with Agricola's De re metallica, the most important book on metallurgy and assaying in the sixteenth century. 'In 1574 Ercker published his magnum opus, Beschreibung allerfürnemisten mineralischen Ertzt. The only one of Ercker's works to contain many drawings, it presents a systematic review of the methods of testing alloys and minerals of silver, gold, copper, antimony, mercury, bismuth, and lead; of obtaining and refining these metals, as well as of obtaining acids, salts, and other compounds. The last chapter is devoted to saltpeter. Ercker described laboratory procedures and equipment, gave an account of preparing the cupel, of constructing furnaces, and of the assaying balance and the method of operating it. He used as his model Agricola's De re metallica, yet was quite original and included only the procedures he himself had tested. Ercker was so hostile to alchemy that he did not use alchemical symbols, although his Probierbuchlein (1556) included a full list of them' (DSB).Only two copies are recorded to have sold at auction in the past 50 years (the Honeyman copy, sold at Sothebys in 1977 and again in 1988, and the Norman copy, sold at Christie's in 1998, and at Sothebys in 2001 for $87,000Binding: a vellum bifolium from an eleventh/twelfth-century Carolingian manuscript, each side in two columns, minuscule, the text on the upper board from the history of Obadiah, according to legend the first bishop of Babylon, (from the Historiae Apostolicae autore Abdia Babyloniae episcopo, Liber IV), and that on the lower board an excerpt from the life of Saint Christina of Bolsena (from the Passio Sanctæ Christinæ Martyris).Provenance: library of Carl Sahlin (1861-1943), given to him by the bibliophile Dr. Otto Smith (1864-1935) with inscription, 'Present of Dr. O Smith: Karlshamm till Carl Sahlin d. 19.8.1933'. Sahlin was a metallurgist, industrialist, and writer on the science of mining and metallurgy. He became head of the Ironworks part of the Stora Kopparbergs Bergslags AB (1893-1900), and then manager at Laxå Bruk. He was President of the Swedish Iron and Steel Works Association 1904-1928, and on the board of the Swedish Ironmasters Association. He wrote extensively about mining and foundry history, as well as numismatics, and founded the Bergslagets library and museum. He was also one of the founders of the Museum of Technology in Stockholm, to which he donated his vast collections on mining and related history, including part of his library in 1933Dibner 89; Ferguson I, p 245; Honeyman 963; Hoover 280; Norman 707
      [Bookseller: WP Watson Antiquarian Books]
Last Found On: 2017-02-28           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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