AGRICOLA, Georgius (Georg Bauer)
De re metallica.Basel: Hieronymus Episcopus, 1556.
Agricola, a physician, wrote several pioneering works on physical geology, systematic minerology, and mining technology. The twelve books of his masterwork, De re metallica (On Metals), illustrated with over 270 woodcuts, embraced everything connected with Renaissance mining and metallurgical industries, including administration, the duties of companies and workers, prospecting, mechanical engineering, ore processing and the manufacture of glass, sulfur and alum. Book VI provided detailed descriptions of sixteenth-century mining technologies, such as the use of water-power for crushing ore and the improvements in suction pumps and ventilation that became necessary as mine shafts were sunk deeper underground; it also includes an account of the diseases and accidents prevalent among miners, along with the means of preventing them. He described the primitive methods of ventilation and personal protection in use, common mining accidents and disasters, and “difficulty in breathing and destruction of the lungs” caused by the harmful effects of dust inhalation. English translation in semi-facsimile format by mining engineer and later U.S. President Herbert Hoover and geologist and Latinist Lou Henry Hoover, London: The Mining Magazine, 1912. Digital facsimile of the English translation from Biodiversity Heritage Library at this link.
Subjects: OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & MEDICINE › Miners' Diseases