Asayer's laboratory, 1574.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This is a representation of the kind of laboratory in which asayers worked in the mining areas of central Europe in the 16th century. It is based on illustrations in Lazarus Ercker's 'Treatise on Ores and Asaying', published in Prague in 1574. The principal objects are the balance, the furnaces and the stills. The distillation apparatus on the right is known as an alembic. A laboratory of this sort handled as many as 30 estimations a day, a very large number for so early a period.