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Authors

         

 

Johann Rudolph Glauber (1604-1670)
Born in Karlstadt, in Bavaria, the son of a barber and died in Amsterdam a celebrated chymist, accounted the Paracelsus of his time and because of its vast knowledge, like one of the "fathers of chemistry". He foresaw the meaning of chemistry for the industry and among his other objectives was a desire to bring material benefit to the German lands.
Without university training or even an apprenticeship with an apothecary Glauber became a self-educated chemist, earning his living mainly by selling medicinal preparations. He lived through ' The Thirty Years War' which devastated Germany, but despite all his success he died in poverty. He was a person of easy and genteel address, and is reported to have traded unfairly with his secrets: the best of them he would sell, at excessive rates, to chymists and others, and would afterwards re-sell them or make them public.
Glauber was a profuse writer of about 30-40 tracts inflicted by his rambling prose, verbosity and frequent obscurity and left many treatises on medicine and alchemy described his work and praised his products .
He discovered and prepared many medicines of great value to pharmacy being author of the salt called Sal Glauberi, Glauber's Salts, mirabilite (sodium sulfate decahydrate, Na2SO4•10H2O), which is used as metallurgy flux and a stomach medication, and fused all manner of curious substances with his favourite compound of his, saltpetre or nitre (KNO3). He discovered many new substances such as nitric acid, arsenic (iii) chloride and potassium acetate, and was the first to distil coal (1648).
He developed several techniques, his tests with the flame (used to visually determine the identity of an unknown metal of an ionic salt based on the characteristic color the salt turns the flame of a bunsen burner), is still used nowadays in the field of inorganic chemistry, called analyzes qualitative. Glauber also developed a huge range of apparatus, including the first distilling furnaces with chimneys enabling better draughting of the fire and thus higher temperatures. He greatly improved sublimation. Glauber was inclined to the doctrine of Paracelsus and advocated experimentation to prove hypotheses.

   
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