Ephrata: J. Georg Zeisiger, 1763. 198,,14pp., including a second titlepage within the pagination and a full-page plate on p.187. Contemporary ruled calf, raised bands. Boards rubbed and edgeworn, chipped at spine ends, small chip in front board. Lightly tanned and foxed. Overall, very good, in original condition. In a half morocco and cloth folding case, spine gilt. Item #WRCAM41460
The first book on mining and geology published in North America. Barba's work was originally published in Madrid in 1640 as ARTE DE LOS METALES. Barba was a priest who was at Potosí, Peru when its silver mining industry was at its height. The book, the earliest on American mining, ores, and minerals, gives a description of the revolutionary practices being implemented in the mines. Barba describes the generation of metals, methods of extracting silver by mercury, the process discovered in 1607 for extracting gold, silver, and copper by boiling with a salt solution and mercury in a copper vessel, and the refining and separation of these metals. There is also a chapter on petroleum products in Peru and elsewhere. The plate shows mining tools and a brick oven.
This Pennsylvania printing of Barba's work makes it the first book printed in the British colonies on mining and mineralogy, and therefore a landmark publication. Why it was printed by the Ephrata Cloister, which operated the second German-language press in the colonies, is a mysterious and interesting question. Copper mines had been discovered in neighboring New Jersey in the early 18th century, but coal was not mined in Pennsylvania until the 1770s, and the Appalachian gold deposits were not discovered until after the founding of the United States. "Very rare imprint" - Sabin, who notes that a copy had been recently (i.e. 1886) priced in a dealer catalogue for $90. A rare work, and an Americana landmark. Rink locates seven copies. EVANS 9333. ESTC W18481. HILDEBURN 1873. SEIDENSTICKER, p.60. DOLL & FUNKE 399. ARNDT 267. RINK 769. SABIN 67375.