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De Re Metallica, Bellows, 16th Century
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Woodcut from Georgius Agricola's, De Re Metallica. Exterior scene showing man using bellows. A bellows is a device for delivering pressurized air in a controlled quantity to a controlled location. Georgius Agricola (1494-1555) was a German scholar and scientist. Known as "the father of mineralogy". He is best known for his book De Re Metallica, published in 1556, a treatise on mining and extractive metallurgy, illustrated with woodcuts illustrating processes to extract ores from the ground and metal from the ore, and the man uses of water mills in mining. Agricola described and illustrated how ore veins occur in and on the ground, making the work an early contribution to the developing science of geology. He described prospecting for ore veins and surveying in great detail, as well as washing the ores to collect the heavier valuable minerals, such as gold and tin. It was also an important chemistry text for the period and is significant in the history of chemistry. De re metallica is considered a classic document of Renaissance metallurgy, unsurpassed for two centuries.
March 7th, 2013
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