Schuh’s Annotated Bio-Bibliography

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HARKORT, Eduard.

(1797 – 1834)

(Born: 1797; Died: August 1834 or 1835) German geographer & mineralogist.

Harkort entered the Freiberg Bergakademie in 1826, but in 1827 he emigrated to Mexico and probably became for several years the manager of the Santa Ana Smelter on the Rio Yavonio. The political turmoil swept him up however, and he joined the Mexican revolution in 1833, participating in the battles as Chief of the Corps of Engineers. Later he served as colonel of the artillery in the Texas army, dying of fever in Galveston.

Biographical references: DBA: I 474, 172-173. Hamberger & Meusel, Gelehrte Teutschland, 1796-1834. Harkort, E., Aus mejicanischen Gefängnissen. Bruchstück aus Eduard Harkorts hinterlassenen Papieren. Herausgegeben von F. Gustav Kühne. Leipzig, Carl B. Lorck, 1858. 116 p. [Translated, In Mexican prisons: the journal of Eduard Harkort, 1832-1834. Translated and edited by Louis E. Brister. College Station, Texas A&M University Press, c1986. xii, 194 p.]. Poggendorff: 1, col. 1019 & 1572. Schiffner, Alter Freiberger Bergstudenten, 1935-40: 3, 11-3. WBI.

Die Probirkunst, 1827

1. German, 1827 [First edition].
Die | Probirkunst | mit dem | Löthrohre, | oder | Versuch einer Anweisung, | wie man Erze, Mineralien oder Hüttenprodukte | mit Hülfe des Lötrohres auf verschiedene | Metallgehalte mit hinreichender Genauig- | keit untersuchen kann, | von | Eduard Harkort | [...2 lines of titles and memberships...] | [tapered rule] | 1. Heft: | Die Silberproben. | Mit 3 Steinzeichnungen. | [ornate rule] | Gedruckt auf Kosten des Verfassers, und in Commission | bey Graz u. Gerlach in Freyberg. | 1827.

8°: x, 107 p., 3 diags.

Rare. Published at the expense of the author this single section dealing with blowpipe and assay tests for silver is all that appeared of a general work describing the assay art utilizing the blowpipe. In 1826 Harkort came to the Freiberg Bergakademie and was taught blowpipe analysis by Johann Friedrich August Breithaupt. He excelled at the work, developing a method of identifying potassium by blowpipe analysis in which the sample was mixed with nickel hydroxide and borax and fused. A characteristic blue coloration of the glass bead appeared in the presence of potassium.

In his Die Probirkunst mit dem Löthrohre he introduced quantitative analysis to blowpipe technique. Descriptions are given that provide procedures for testing the percentage of silver present in samples of minute size. In essence Harkort applies in miniature the ancient techniques that were used to test large quantities of silver ore in the muffle furnace. Unfortunately, no other sections of the book were published and innovations that Harkort might have brought to blowpipe art never appeared. However, he is credited with introducing the blowpipe assay scale as standard equipment.

Bibliographical references: Burchard, History of Blowpipe Analysis, 1984. Ferchl. Personal communication [Title page facsimile supplied by Adriana & Renato Pagano].