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Henckel, Johann Friedrich

1. Dates
Born: Merseburg, Germany, 1 Aug 1678
Died: Freiberg, 26 Jan 1744
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 66
2. Father
Occupation: Physician, Government Official
His father was the town physician of Merseburg (from 1674).
I assume prosperous.
3. Nationality
Birth: Merseburg, Germany
Career: Freiberg, Germany
Death: Freiberg, Germany
4. Education
Schooling: Jena; Halle, M.D.
1685-1694, attended the Domschule, Merseburg.
1698, enrolled at the University of Jena to study theology, but switched to medicine.
By 1709/1710, he was in Dresden, where he worked under the supervision of a physician involved in chemical research and opened his own practice.
1711, University of Halle, studying under G.E. Stahl. Received an M.D. (1711). I assume a B.A. or its equivalent along the line.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Lutheran
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Mineralogy, Chemistry
Subordinate: Medicine
7. Means of Support
Primary: Government, Medicine
c. 1710, opened his own medical practice in Dresden before receiving his M.D.
1712-1730, practiced medicine in Freiberg, becoming district physician (1718), town physician (1721), and mine physician (1723).
1730, moved to Dresden. In 1732, he was appointed councilor of mines (Bergrat) at a handsome salary and with a substantial budget for investigating Saxony's mineral resources.
c. 1732, he returned to Freiberg, where, with state help, he established a large laboratory for conducting his official duties, and also published and taught metallurgical chemistry. In 1737, he was appointed assessor at the chief mining office.
8. Patronage
Types: Aristrocrat, Court Official
He was favored by an influential noble (who is unnamed in the literature), when he resigned his posts in Freiberg and moved to Dresden. I assume this entailed getting Henckel the appointment as councilor.
In recognition for his contributions to porcelain fabrication, he was named mining councilor to the elector of Saxony ("kurfuerstlich saechsischen Bergrath") by King August II.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Chemistry, Medical Practice
He discovered useful processes in the fabrication of porcelain.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: Berlin Academy, Academia Leopoldina
1726, member of the Prussian academy of sciences.
1728, member of the Leopoldina.
He used the leverage of a foreign offer, possibly from the St. Petersburg academy, to influence his appointment as a councilor.
  1. Walther Fischer, Neue deutsche Biographie (Berlin, 1952- ), 8, 515a-16a.
  2. Guembel, Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, 11, 760-1.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. Walther Herrmann, "Bergrath Henckel. Ein Wegbereiter der Bergakademie," Freiberger Forschungshefte: Kultur und Technik, 37D (1962).
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

1995 Al Van Helden
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