BIRINGUCCIO, Vannoccio (1480-1539)
De la pirotechnica

Venice: Venturino Rossinello for Curzio Navò & Fratelli, 1540.

Biringuccio book spread F

irst edition of one of the earliest printed books on metallurgy. It contains the first mention of cobalt blue, manganese and the use of sodium chloride for separating gold and silver from base metals. The sections on glass, steel and the purification of salts were adapted almost without alteration in Agricola's De re metallica, Basle,1556. (The Sjögren Library has the second edition of this book from 1561). Among Biringuccio's many employments was that of director of the Sienese mint, and head of the papal foundry and munitions works, and his work describes Renaissance methods of casting medallions, statues and bells; it is particularly remembered for containing the earliest known account of typecasting. The woodcuts show the use of various furnaces, pulleys and tools, and illustrate the making of bells, pottery and firearms.