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Tachenius, Otto

1. Dates
Born: Herford, Westphalia, date unknown The first solid information about him comes from 1640
Died: probably Venice, 1670
Dateinfo: Birth Unknown
Lifespan: N/A
2. Father
Occupation: Artisan
His father is said to have been a miller to the Abbess at Herford. His mother was the abbess herself.
No information on financial conditions under which he was reared.
3. Nationality
Birth: Herford, Westphalia, Germany
Career: Germany, and Venice, Italy
Death: probably Venice, Italy
4. Education
Schooling: Padua, M.D.
He is said to have been apprenticed to an apothecary but lost his job because of thievery.
About 1640 he went east to Holstein and Prussia, serving as an apprentice in apothecaries in Lemgo, Kiel, Danzig (1640), and Königsberg (from 1641).
1644, he went to Italy, where he received an M.D. from the University of Padua in 1652.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Unknown
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Pharmacology, Iatrochemistry, Alchemy
7. Means of Support
Primary: Apothecary
In his early years he was supported as an apprentice to various apothecaries.
After he received his degree from Padua, the only thing known about his means of support is that he settled in Venice, where he sold a "viperine salt" (sal viperinum) as a sovereign remedy.
8. Patronage
Type: None
His Epistola de famoso liquore Alkahest is in the form of a letter to Duke Frederick of Holstein. A letter also exists from Tachenius to the Prince of Brunswick and Lüneberg. In the world of alchemy this could mean almost anything, and I am unwilling to venture any conjecture.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Pharmacology
He seems to have supported himself on the income from a pharmacological preparation of his own invention.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. Walter Pagel, Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, 37, 340.
  2. A. Hirsch, Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Aerzte aller Zeiten und Voelker (3rd ed., Munich, 1962), 5, 504.
  3. Partington, 2, 291-6.
  4. Thorndike, 8, 357-61.
  5. John Ferguson, Bibliotheca chemica, (London, 1906, 1954), 2, 424-5.
  6. [Z5524.A35 G54]
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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