Thurneisser's Famous Chemical
Leonhart Thurneisser [Thurneysser] zum Thurn. Pison.
Das Erst Theil. Von Kalten, Warmen, Minerischen Und Metallischen
Wassern, sampt der Plantarum und Erdgewechsen 10. Bucher.
[all published.] [bound with] [Greek Title:
Prokatalepsis] Oder Praeoccupatio, Durch
zwolf verscheidenlicher Tractaten...Das 59. Buch. Frankfurt
am Oder: Johann Eichorn, 1572 and 1571. First Editions. Folio. Two
volumes bound in one. ¶6-2¶3 [lacks 2¶4, portrait], A-2Q6, 2R4 [2R4
blank]. [Lacks Cc1 & Ff 4.] A-G6, H4 [Lacks A2 portrait.] [18
of 20], 420 [lacking pp 301/2; 343/4], ; , 85, , 
page. Lacks portraits. Title pages in red and black, architectural
border with allegorical figures (Neptunus, Alchemy and Temperance)
[by Franz Friedrich? based on a design by Christoph Römer from
Altstettin. Note: second title page without the identification of
the allegorical figures and a change in the arms at the bottom].
Contemporary blind-tooled pigskin over wood, with "Thurneisser"
burned into front cover, lacks clasps; writing on and a piece cut
from front free end paper, old owner's cypher on the front
paste-down dated 1607 "Sum. Georgi Vollami," foxing and toning,
wormtrack in rear not affecting the text. Text cuts in first work.
Otherwise very good. From the Krown & Spellman
Studies of Minerals and Water
Please visit HA.com/6148 for an extended description of this lot.
Leonhard Thurneisser zum Thurn (Basel 1531 - Cologne 1596) was the son of a goldsmith. After having learnt his father's trade and having taken alchemy lessons from Dr. Huber, a physician in Basel. He moved to Holland, England, and France, to come back to Germany as a mercenary soldier for Albert of Brandeburg. He was captured by Saxon forces and set to work in the mines of Tarenz in the Inn valley. Subsequently he became a goldsmith in Nuremberg , entered the service of Ferdinand of Austria, for whom he wrote two alchemical treatises. He moved then to Frankfurt am Oder where he wrote the first one of his great books, Pison, and another one, the Protokatalepsis or Preoccupatio. The reading of some sections of Pison drew the attention of the Duke Johann Georg of Brandeburg on him. He became court physician in Berlin and established there a laboratory for the production of saltpeter and other chemicals, and his own printing office. He became rich and moved back to Basel, only to come once more to Brandeburg once the municipal council of Basel had settled his divorce suit in his disfavor. The last years of his life saw him in Florence at the Medici court, where he converted to Catholicism. He came back to Germany only a few months before he died. This book describes "a method of water analysis by specific gravity and by distillation and weighing the residue, and vaguely proposes artificial mineral waters" -Partington.
Other problems discussed by Thurneisser were the occurrence of waters, the course and peculiarities of different rivers and their medicinal qualities. Probably his assertion that the Spree waters contained gold was instrumental to secure the attention given him by the Duke of Brandeburg. Thurneisser suggested also a canal between the Spree and the Oder for commercial purposes and gave suggestions for the improvement of the activity of mines in Brandeburg and the identification of deposits of precious minerals.
A prokatalepsis is a prebuttal where a speaker raises an objection to his own argument and then immediately answers it. Thurneisser "... constructed a tall still representing the human figure in which he distilled urine specimens from the sick, noting the regions to which the vapours ascended: this to him indicated the seat of the disease and even details of morbid changes... Thurneisser had based his 'anatomy of urine' on two sound principles. First, there was Paracelsus's critique of traditional uroscopy. Mere inspection of urine achieved nothing... Second and more important, Thurneisser had insisted on the careful comparative weighing and measuring of each specimen before it was subjected to distillation...." -Walter Pagel and Joan Baptista Von Helmont, 1982.Pison: VD 16 T 1183. Bruning 455. During/NLM 4356. Ferguson II, 452. Wellcome 6293. Ferchl 536; Kopp I, 110. Teitge 570 & 554. BM STC German 862. Krieg, MNE II, 293. Partington II, pp. 152-153. Honeyman 2980.DSB XIII, pages 396-398. Prokatalepsis: VD 16 T 1206. Durling/NLM 4357. Bruning 435. Furguson II, 453. Ferchl 536.
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