Schuh’s Annotated Bio-Bibliography

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WUNSCH, Christian Ernst.

(1744 – 1828)

(Born: Hohenstein, Herrschaft Schönburg, Germany, 31 October 1744; Died: Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany, 28 May 1828) German physician & physicist.

Biographical references: ADB: 44, 317-20. DBA: I 1396, 257-269; II 1431, 370. Eitner, Quellenlexikon, 1959. Gerber, Historisch-biographisches Lexikon, 1812-4. Hamberger & Meusel, Gelehrte Teutschland, 1796-1834. Poggendorff: 2, col. 1373. WBI. Wünsch, C.E., Biographie meiner Jugend. Auch Bestatigung des Glaubens, dass Gottes Vorsehung uber die Menschen waltet. Frankfurt und Leipzig, 1817.

Briefwechsel, 1781

1. German, 1781.
Briefwechsel | über die | Naturprodukte | Erster Theil | Von den Mineralien | Herausgegeben | von dem Verfasser der kosmologischen Unterhaltungen | [Circular vignette, showing angels working the earth.] | Mit gemalten Kupfern | [ornate rule] | Leipzig | bey Johann Gottlob Emmanuel Breitkopf 1781.

8°: π7 A-Z8 Aa-Pp8; 309l.; [14], [1]-602, [2] p., 16 hand-colored, folding engraved plates. Page size: 155 x 92 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [10 pgs], "Vorbericht."; [2 pgs], "Inhalt."; [1]-561, Text.; 562-582, "Erklarung der Kupfertafeln."; [583]-602, "Alphabetisches | Verzeichniß | der | vornehmsten Sachen, die in diesem Theile | vorkommen."; [2 pgs], "Verbesserungen."

Plates: The 16 hand-colored, folding, engraved plates are all signed "Capieux 1781." They are scattered throughout the volume and consist of the following: Tab. I (p. 56), quartz crystal groups. II (p. 92), Saxony topaz locality. III (p. 122), agates and stones. IV (p. 138), agate slices. V (p. 180), an outcrop of basalt. VI (p. 242), gold, pyrite, stibnite. VII (p. 310), cinnabar. VIII (p. 318), various mineral specimens. IX (p. 326), various mineral specimens. X (p. 338), gold and peacock ore. XI (p. 350), hematite and other iron minerals. XII (p. 368), proustite/parargyrite minerals. XIII (p. 374), gold specimens with a matrix. XIV (p. 396), cross-section of a furnace. XV (p. 460), view inside a mine. XVI (p. 542), geological cross-section.

Rare. Published anonymously but widely attributed to Wünsch, this is the only volume(?) published of a proposed series to illuminate science and natural history. Relying on the previous researches of numerous authors, it describes the mineral products of the earth in a series of letters covering the entire spectrum of mineralogical knowledge. Included are discussions of the ores and minerals of the various elements such as silica, magnesia, calcic, etc., as well as fuels, ores, gemstones, metallurgy, smelting, mining and fossils, etc. The color illustrations scattered throughout the volume show in crude, colorful renderings various mineral specimens, a panorama of the famous Schneckenstein topaz locality in Saxony, various gemstones, and the interior of caves.

Bibliographical references: Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek: Supplement to 37, 480. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 250. LKG: VI 84. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: no. ??.