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Kunkel

KUNKEL (or KUNCKEL) VON LOWENSTJERN, JOHANN (1630-1703), German chemist, was born in 1630 (or 1638), near Rendsburg, his father being alchemist to the court of Holstein. He became chemist and apothecary to the dukes of Lauenburg, and then to the elector of Saxony, Johann Georg II., who put him in charge of the royal laboratory at Dresden. Intrigues engineered against him caused him to resign this position in 1677, and for a time he lectured on chemistry at Annaberg and Wittenberg. Invited to Berlin by Frederick William, in 1679 he became director of the laboratory and glass works of Brandenburg, and in 1688 Charles XI. brought him to Stockholm, giving him the title of Baron von Lowenstjern in 1693 and making him a member of the council of mines. He died on the 20th of March 1703 (others say 1702) at Dreissighufen, his country house near Pernau. Kunkel shares with Boyle the honour of having discovered the secret of the process by which Brand of Hamburg had prepared phosphorus in 1669, and he found how to make artificial ruby (red glass) by the incorporation of purple of Cassius. His work also included observations on putrefaction and fermentation, which he spoke of as sisters, on the nature of salts, and on the preparation of pure metals. Though he lived in an atmosphere of alchemy, he derided the notion of the alkahest or universal solvent, and denounced the deceptions of the adepts who pretended to effect the transmutation of metals; but he believed mercury to be a constituent of all metals and heavy minerals, though he held there was no proof of the presence of " sulphur comburens."

His chief works were Oeffentliche Zuschrift von dem Phosphor Mirabil (1678) ; Ars vitriaria experimentalis (1689) and Labor atorium chymicum (1716).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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