Biringuccio, Vanoccio Vincenzio Agustino Luca

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b. 1480 Siena, Italy
d. 1537 Rome, Italy
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Italian author of the celebrated "Pirotechnia" on mining and metallurgy.
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Biringuccio spent much of his life in the service of, or under the patronage of, the Petruccis, one of the leading families of Siena. In his youth, he was able to travel widely in Italy and Germany, observing mining and metallurgical processes at first hand. For example, his visit to the brass-works in Milan was to be the source of the detailed description in Pirotechnia, published alter his death. He held various appointments in charge of mines or other concerns, such as the Siena mint, under the patronage of the Petruccis. During two periods of exile, while the Petrucci fortunes were in eclipse, he engaged in military activities such as the casting of cannon. That included the great culverin of Florence cast in 1529, also described in the Pirotechnia. In December 1534 Pope Paul III offered him the post of Director of the papal foundry and munitions. He did not take up the post until 1536, but he died the following year.
Pirotechnia, which made Biringuccio famous, was published in Venice in 1540, three years after his death. The word "pirotechnia" had a wider meaning than that of fireworks, extending to the action of fire on various substances and including distillation and the preparation of acids. While owing something to earlier written sources, the book is substantially based on a lifetime of practical experience of mining and metalworking, including smelting, casting and alloying, and evidence in the book suggests that it was written between 1530 and 1535. Curzio Navo brought out the second and third editions in 1550 and 1559, as well as a Latin edition. A fourth edition was also printed in 1559. The appearance of four editions in such a short time testifies to the popularity and usefulness of the work.
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Bibliography
1942, Pirotechnia, Translated from the Italian with an Introduction and Notes, ed. Cyril S. Smith and Martha T.Gnudi, New York: American Institute of Mining and Metallurgi cal Engineers (the best account of Biringuccio's life, with bibliographical details of the various editions of the Pirotechnia, is in the preface).
LRD

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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