In 1494, in the Saxon town of Glauchau, Geogius Agricola was born. The latin form of Georgius Agricola is Georg Bauer. Agricola would go on to be considered as the first modern scientist.
Agricola was a Renaissance genius and was the earliest modern writer on mining and metallurgy. He wrote a book called De Re Metallica. The book was published a year after his death in 1555. The book contained Agricola’s observations of the mining process. Agricola started his book from scratch because he did not trust earlier writing on mining that was written by ancient Greek philosophers. He said, “I have omitted all those things which I have not myself seen, or have not read or heard of from persons upon whom I can rely.” This really shows Agricola’s distrust of the previous writings on mining.
In Agricola’s book, De Re Metallica, he wrote about shafts and tunnels, how tin ore and gold were washed, and how mines were ventilated. The ventilation in mines was a major problem and in ancient times it was often solved by using an arrangement of bellows that were operated by horse or manpower.
Also, Touchstones (pictured below) were used to test the content of metals. They were made of allows of gold, silver, and copper.
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