De la Pirotechnia is the first printed
book to cover the whole field of metallurgy. It was written in Italian and
published in Venice
The author was Vannoccio Biringuccio (*1480 in Siena, Italy,
Biringuccio is considered the father of the foundry
industry as De la Pirotechnia is the first written account of proper foundry
practice. In his career he managed an iron mine near Siena, and also he headed the city's mint
and arsenal. He was in charge of casting cannons for Venice
and later Florence.
Biringuccio was born in Siena. His father, an architect, was
Paolo Biringuccio and his mother was Lucrezia di Bartolommeo. He was
baptised on October 20, 1480.
In 1536, he was offered a job in Rome by the Church,
and in 1538 he became head of the papal foundry, and director of the
artillery factory (“capo della fonderia apostolica”).
De la Pirotechnia is the first comprehensive treatise on applied
metal arts and processes of ore reduction and to describe the foundry techniques
which had been development since the bronze age. It marked the beginning of
Biringuccio stresses the use of mineral and metals in the
arts; their alloying, working, and the art of casting. He provides the
earliest account of the method of typecasting and the making of statutes,
medallions and bells.
The book is illustrated with 94 woodcuts and for the first time it
mentions the analysis of gold and silver by fire assay.
Agricola was to borrow many sections of Biringuccio's
work for use in his "De Re Metallica"