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I Forge Iron

De Re Metallica


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Author:Georgius Agricola
First published:1557
Pages:673;289 woodcuts
Freely available at:De Re Metallica by Georg Agricola -- Mining in Renaissance mining Page 1

No,this is definitely NOT about that band...but it's heavy stuff.
This piece is for hardened bookworms only,not just because of its size,also language can prove difficult for modern reader.However,it was first translated to English by former US president Herbert Hoover and his wife Lou,around 1912.
Book itself lists mining,refining and smelting,how it was done some 500 years ago. De Re Metallica since then,for next 200 years proved to be main source of info for these industries.

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This work is justly famed for the massive number of woodcuts showing all aspects of the mineral extration technologies in great detail including: pumps, ventilation, stamping mills, hoists, various furnaces for smelting of different metals, how water powered single action bellows were made, and a lot of daily life items as well---it's especially know for it's instructions on building wheelbarrows.

It's also available fairly cheaply as a Dover reprint and anyone interested in the history of the craft in this time period will probably want to go through this slowly. (It is a pretty weighty tome, I brought it as my only english book on a 1 month business trip to Indonesia and so read it cover to cover)

Several Berg buchs and the Pirotechnia of Biringuccio predate this book but none of them have the wealth of pictures that make De Re Metallica stand out as such a massively important work on Renaissance technologies

(Note: it includes the first recording use of "ghosting" to show the interior mechanism of a machine!)

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