Images from G.B.Agricola, De Re Metallica published in Basel in 1550. The woodcuts are by H.R.M.Deutsch after Blasius Weffring. Here are some characteristic examples of the graphic conventions. Although much of the substance of the work has been superseded, the 289 woodcuts are models of book illustration in the cause of information.
Agricola writes "I have hired illustrators to delineate their forms, lest descriptions which are to be conveyed by words should either not be understood by men of our own times, or should cause difficulty to posterity." The illustrations were so many and so complicated that they delayed the final year of publication.

The book is probably the earliest to present a body of knowledge on mining from direct and first hand experience. The author makes great play of leaving out anything he has not witnessed himself. Dover Books of New York have published an excellent reprint of the translation as prepared by the future President of the United States, Herbert Hoover and Lou Henry Hoover in 1912.

1. Smelting the Ore.
2. Designs for various types of bellows to be used in the smelting of ore.
3. Smelting the Ore
4. Various fans and fan blades used to direct fresh air into a shaft.
5. Causing Drafts of Wind to blow into the shaf t.
6. Sinking Shafts and making connecting Tunnels 7. Crowbars used in mining 8. Separating precious from base metals.

Carl Linnaeus,

a plate from Systemae Naturae

Stockholm 1766-8