Vannoccio Biringuccio - Founding father of Metallurgy

De la Pirotechnia
 Libri X - MDXL



De la Pirotechnia is the first printed book to cover the whole field of metallurgy. It was written in Italian and published in Venice in 1540.

The author was Vannoccio Biringuccio (*1480 in Siena, Italy, 1539).

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 technological literature.

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"


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3. How to prepare the metals
before the fusion

4. How to melt the ingots and
 reduce them
in fine lead.