Ignaz von Born

Ignaz Edler von Born (also known as Ignatius von Born, Ignác Born, December 26, 1742 - July 24, 1791), was a renowned mineralogist and metallurgist, leading scientist in Holy Roman Empire in 1770s in the age of Enlightenment.

He was born of a noble family at Cavnic, in Northern Transylvania. His father, Ludwig von Born, an artillery officer, was at that time Grübenpächter (mines administrator). Till 6 yo, Ignatius lived in Alba Iulia and, after the death of his father, moved with his family in Sibiu. Educated in a Jesuit college in Vienna (since 1755), he was for sixteen months a member of the order, but left it and studied law at the Prague University, graduating with the dissertation De finibus iuris naturae in 1763. Ignaz von Born traveled extensively in Germany, the Netherlands and France, studying mineralogy, and on his return to Prague in 1770 entered the department of mines and the mint. It was noted here that one of the main animators of scientific life, his works were appreciated also abroad. Scientific societies and academies of Sweden, Italy, England and other countries elected him as a member.

In 1776 he was appointed by Empress Maria Theresa to arrange the imperial museum at Vienna (German: K.k. Hof-Naturalienkabinette, the predecessor of today's Naturhistorisches Museum), where he was nominated to the council of mines and the mint, and continued to reside until his death. He introduced a method of extracting metals by amalgamation (Uber des Anquicken der Erze, 1786), and other improvements in mining and other technical processes. His publications also include Lithophylacium Bornianum (1772-1775) and Bergbaukunde (1789), besides several museum catalogues. The minerals bornite (Cu5FeS4), a common copper ore mineral, and bornine, a very rare bismuth compound, were named in his honor.

He published also satires, as the anticlerical one called Monachologien in 1783, in which he depicts monks as being of a distinct race that is a mixture between ape and man.

As an active free mason in catholic lodge "Benevolence" introduced and tutored Mozart into the lodge. He was the prototype of Sarastro in Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute". Ignaz was also the regional head of the Viennese Illuminati lodge, and was a sympathizer with the enlightenment ideas of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.


gropsian ioan said...

Spuneam in alta parte ca am unblat zeci de ani pe harta Banatului a lui Griselini. Parca a fost facuta ieri, Exacta, riguroasa. Am avea sigur de castigart daca s-ar publica din opera lui von Born ceva in romaneste, iar aici in Banat s-ar vinde cu succes.

Catherine Sprague said...

Sorry, I am wondering if you could tell me where the painting is from of Born in the blue coat? I have never seen it before and may want to use it for a book on Mozart. The one in the red coat is traditionally seen, and that one is in Vienna.

Catherine Sprague

Adrian said...

Ignaz von Born in blue coat: