Alchimia : wie mann alle Farben, Wasser, Olea, Salia und Alumina damit mann alle corpora spiritus und calces preparirt, sublimirt und fixirt, machen sol : und wie mann dise Ding nutze, auff das Sol und Luna werden mög : auch vom Solviren unnd Schaidung aller Metal, Polirung allerhandt Edel gestain, fürtreflichen Wassern züm etzen, schaiden und solviren und zletst wie die gifftige Dämpff zuverhüten ein kurtzer Bgrif.
Strassburg: M. Jacob Cammerlander, 1539.
1st Edition. Soft cover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Very Good. Item #003726
4to (205 x 158 mm). , XLI,  leaves. Roman numbers except for f. 33-36. Colophon on f. XLI verso reads "Getruckt zu Strassburg bei M. Jacob Cammerlandern von Mentz Anno M.D. XXXIX." Title within illustrated border, printer's device on final leaf verso; 19 woodcut illustrations in text of which 7 full page and 2 repeating. Signatures: A-M4. Contemporary binding reusing a vellum manuscript, hand-lettered paper label to spine (cover heavily dust-soiled and spotted, spine with loss of vellum, paper label chipped). Text with light even browning, waterstaining, and dust-soiling mostly to outer margins (title stronger); f. XXIX with small hole at blank fore-margin; a few ink annotations in contemporary hand. Provenance: Johann Jacob Bazerus, M.D. (armorial bookplate to inner front cover). ----
SECOND EDITION UNDER THIS TITLE AND AUTHOR'S NAME, AND, AS THE FIRST OF 1534, "OF THE UTMOST RARITY" (Duveen). Early treatise on the manufacturing of colors, poisonous and asphyxiating gases, and other practical applications of technological chemistry. The second part deals with what was then thought to be a transmutation and separation of gold and silver; appended is the treatise of Gilbertus Cardinal on the solution of metals and the polishing of gems. Ferguson clearly never saw a copy of the first edition, and wrongly believed that the work originally appeared in 1539 (an error followed by the Mellon Occult Collection catalogue).
Kunstbüchlein (or skills booklet) is the name given to a number of books printed in the 16th century, especially in southern Germany, which contain recipes for metal testing and separation, for the production of alloys, colors and inks, and which gives chemical and alchemical information. It served artisans, goldsmiths, minters, painters, illuminists, etc. This kind of art booklets can be traced since 1531 (Darmstaedter, p. 60). They can be regarded as technological tracts and collections of recipes in a traditional manner, whereby increasingly scientific knowledge is incorporated. These little art books, along with the alchemical works, represent a valuable source on the state of the art techniques, chemistry, physics and philosophy at the beginning of the Renaissance in the German-speaking countries. The alleged author, Petrus Kärtzenmacher, is mentioned on the first page of the introduction. However, little is known about this person, except that he is described on the mentioned page as a famous alchemist and citizen of Mentz (i.e., Mainz). "Kertzenmacher's booklet, which was issued (and edited differently) by two different printers, instructed his readers primarily in the technical aspects of alchemy, disclosing the techniques, materials, and equipment needed for the most basic alchemical operations. Among 'the things that belong to the art (of alchemy)' included in the book were recipes for the preparation of substances essential to the alchemist's craft, including cinnabar (mercuric sulfide), Spangrün (a salt from copper), Weinstein (tartar), and aqua fortis (or nitric acid, used in dissolving gold). Kertzenmacher taught his readers how to use these substances as well, outlining, for example, how to make silver out of sulfur and quicksilver. Perhaps most important, the two printers who issued versions of Kertzenmacher's book did so in a format that was easy to use. The book contained numerous illustrations of stills and furnaces, as well as an index to facilitate finding specific recipes. The book even included a translation into German of frequently used Latin words with which a less well-educated audience may not have been familiar, such as sol (sun, or gold) and luna (moon, or silver). Armed with this kind of informative book and the requisite materials, someone literate in the vernacular German, if not Latin, could easily begin his or her training in what Kertzenmacher promised was "the highest (art) of them all" (Nummendal).
References and Literature: Duveen p. 317; Duveen, "The Library," 5th Series, I:1 (June, 1946) p. 59; Ferchl p. 271; Ferguson 1:19; E. Darmstaedter, Berg-, Probir- und Kunstbüchlein, 1926, pp. 47, 60 & 78; Ferguson, Treatises on Technological Chemistry. Suppl. 2, p. 1-10; T. Nummedal, Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire, 2008, p. 25.
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