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The Production of Silver, Copper, and Lead in the Harz Mountains from Late Medieval Times to the Onset of Industrialization

Christoph Bartels

in Materials and Expertise in Early Modern Europe

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780226439686
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226439709 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226439709.003.0004
The Production of Silver, Copper, and Lead in the Harz Mountains from Late Medieval Times to the Onset of Industrialization

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This article focuses on the production of silver, copper, and lead in the Harz Mountains of Germany from late medieval times to the onset of industrialization. It offers a detailed account of innovations in mining and metallurgy in the region and highlights the metallurgical ventures of many ingenious experts who are not well known in the history of science, but who contributed to the development of early modern sciences such as geology, chemistry, and mineralogy. This group of experts included Lazarus Ercker, Heinrich Albert von dem Busch, Claus von Gotha, Daniel Flach, Caspar Illing, Carl Zumbe, Christoph Sander, and Georg Winterschmidt. This article argues that mining and metallurgy during the early modern period relied heavily on land surveying, stratigraphy, ore prospecting, assaying, data collection, and mathematical data processing, in addition to the writing of technical instructions and treatises. This article also looks at the development of smelting works at Goslar during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and the introduction of gunpowder blasting as a mining innovation.

Keywords: silver; copper; lead; Harz Mountains; Germany; mining; metallurgy; smelting; experts; gunpowder blasting

Chapter.  12331 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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