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Dějiny věd a techniky, No. 2, Vol. XXXIII (2000)




(Výroba stříbra amalgamací v Jáchymově (1786—1848))

The mining district Jáchymov in Krušné Hory (the Ore Mountains) in the Czech Lands, was the first place chosen to use Ignac Born's method for silver production, guaranteeing substantial reduction of metal loss in comparison with the metallurgical process. The method brought material and financial savings, too. Jáchymov district was one of the most productive from the European mining centres in the 16th century. Nevertheless, during the 17th century, the mining works were suppressed, and renewed only with the help of state appropriation. The amalgamation manufactory was built up in 1786, and first years were experimental. Many improvements of partial operations were set up, mainly during the ore crushing, roasting and also amalgamation of the silver concentrate, at first in four wood barrels, and from 1801 in copper horizontal rotary barrels. Extraction of silver from obtained amalgam run through in melting pots by annealing, and its refinement in graphite muffles. After first years of successful amalgamation of silver ores the smelting process was stopped. Silver production in the amalgamation manufactory in Jáchymov went on, with short interruptions, till 1848. Later, after building of blast furnace and other equipment the meltage was renewed. Productive operations of the amalgamation process are described in the article together with their results.




(Studium souvislostí mechanických vlastností kovu s jinými fyzikálními jevy v polovině 19. století)

Dieser Problematik wurden in der Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts viele Arbeiten gewidmet. Die Forscher wurden durch einen gemeinsamen Gedanken geführt, nämlich wechselseitige Zusammenhänge der mechanischen Eigenschaften und ihre Zusammenhänge mit anderen Größen (aus dem Gebiet der Thermik, der Elektrizitätslehre, dem Magnetismus u.s.w.) zu finden. Eine Reihe von Größen, wie die Ausdehnung von Körper bei den mechanischen Deformationen wurde dabei in quantitativen Relationen von heutiger Zeit gemessen. Einer von geforschten Problemen war der Einfluss von großen oder lange durchgeflossenen elektrischen Strömen auf die mechanischen Eigenschaften der Elektrizitätsleiter. G. Wiedemann hat sich dem Zusammenhang von elektrischen, magnetischen und mechanischen Eigenschaften gewidmet und entdeckte dabei das Phänomen, welches auch für heutige Zeit ein großer Beitrag ist und wurde als Wiedemann'sche Erscheinung genannt, nämlich die Torsion von ferromagnetischem, in das Magnetfeld gegebenem Draht bei dem Durchgang von elektrischem Strom. Das Studium von durch J. P. Joule entdeckten Magnetostriction war von großer teoretischer und praktischer Bedeutung. Einige Arbeiten wurden den Fragen von Einfluss der Torsion auf die Magnetisierung der ferromagnetischen Körper und des mechanischen Verfahrens auf die spezifische elektrische Leitungsfähigkeit gewidmet. Manche Ergebnisse von allen diesen Versuchen hatten große Bedeutung für die Bestättigung der Theorie der Molekularmagneten und haben Argumente gegen der Hypothesis von magnetischen "Flüssigkeiten" (Fluida) geliefert.




(Dva alchymistické návody z majetku Hynka z Poděbrad)

A collection of Latin alchemical recipes from the 18th century, discovered recently in the library of the castle Mnichovo Hradiste, contains two texts which throw new light on alchemy in Bohemia and neighbouring countries in the late 15th century. This collection was written by Maxmilian Joseph Baron von Linden (?–-1801), an arduous defender of alchemy. According to the introductory sentence, the first recipe, from the possession of the Hungarian king Mathias Corvinus (1440–-1490), was received originally by Hynek of Poděbrady from Johann of Brandenburg. Hynek (b. 1452), the son of the Bohemian king Georg of Poděbrady, is traditionally denoted as an alchemist in Czech literature; he is said to have had his laboratory in the mining town of Kutná Hora. Johann (1401–-1464), the son of Brandenburger Elector Friedrich I. (1372–-1440), was known under the sobriquet "Der Alchemist". Yet there was no written evidence (recipe or book) which could prove that both Hynek and Johann were alchemists or even that they were interested in this science. The first recipe discussed in this paper provides such proof. The second recipe appears to be from Hynek's possession. A detailed analysis of the text reveals that the first recipe is rather a convoluted combination of at least two recipes. The first passage of the text deals with the isolation of mercury from calomel, while the second concerns the dissolution of mercury in nitric acid and further reactions of the product with various added compounds. Finally, there is described a process which seems to be the gilding of base metals with gold amalgam. The second recipe describes, in a not less confused form, the preparation of nitric acid followed by its reaction with antimony sulphide and silver. The products of this experiment would be a mixture of salts including nitrate, sulphate, nitrite, sulphide, and perhaps chloride. The aim of this analysis is to decide whether the original text, copied at least once by von Linden, could have been written in the late 15th century. All compounds and techniques described in both recipes were known by that time. Therefore, these recipes can be accepted as proof that Hynek of Poděbrady was involved in alchemy. The fact that expenses of his court eventually led to debts which forced him to commit some of his estates to the King Mathias further supports the possibility that Hynek looked into alchemical activity a way to improve his economic situation. Simultaneously, his deals with Mathias can explain how Hynek's recipe could have appeared in manuscripts of the Hungarian king. At present there is no explanation as to when and why Hynek received the recipe from Johann of Brandenburg.

© M. Barvík 2004