Agricola, Georgius (Georg Bauer)

Agricola, Georgius (Georg Bauer)
SUBJECT AREA: Metallurgy
b. 24 March 1494 Glauchau, Saxony
d. 21 November 1555 Chemnitz, Germany
German metallurgist, who wrote the book De Re Metallica under the latinized version of his name.
Agricola was a physician, scientist and metallurgist of note and it was this which led to the publication of De Re Metallica. He studied at Leipzig University and between 1518 and 1522 he was a school teacher in Zwickau. Eventually he settled as a physician in Chemnitz. Later he continued his medical practice at Joachimstal in the Erzgebirge. This town was newly built to serve the mining community in what was at the time the most important ore-mining field in both Germany and Europe.
As a physician in the sixteenth century he would naturally have been concerned with the development of medicines, which would have led him to research the medical properties of ores and base metals. He studied the mineralogy of his area, and the mines, and the miners who were working there. He wrote several books in Latin on geology and mineralogy. His important work during that period was a glossary of mineralogical and mining terms in both Latin and German. It is, however, De Re Metallica for which he is best known. This large volume contains twelve books which deal with mining and metallurgy, including an account of glassmaking. Whilst one can understand the text of this book very easily, the quality of the illustrative woodcuts should not be neglected. These illustrations detail the mines, furnaces, forges and the plant associated with them, unfortunately the name of the artist is unknown. The importance of the work lies in the fact that it is an assemblage of information on all the methods and practices current at that time. The book was clearly intended as a textbook of mining and mineralogy and as such it would have been brought to England by German engineers when they were employed by the Mines Royal in the Keswick area in the late sixteenth century. In addition to his studies in preparation for De Re Metallica, Agricola was an "adventurer" holding shares in the Gottesgab mine in the Erzegebirge.
Principal Honours and Distinctions Bibliography
1556, De Re Metallica, Basel; 1912, trans. H. Hoover and L.H.Hoover, London.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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