Kunckel, John

, a celebrated chemist, was born at Husurn, in the duchy of Sleswick, in 1630. He was originally intended for the practice of pharmacy; but having applied himself with equal diligence to the study of chemistry and metallurgy, he obtained great reputation in. these sciences, and was appointed chemist to the elector of Saxony. He afterwards went to the court of Frederic William, elector of Brandenburg, with a similar appointment; and subsequently to that of Charles XI. king of Sweden, who, in 1693, granted him letters of nobility, under the name of Kunckel de Loewenstern. He was elected a member of the imperial Academia Naturae Curiosorum, under the name of Hermes III. He died in Sweden, in March 1703. Notwithstanding his advantages and fame, his theoretical knowledge was very imperfect; he was altogether destitute of the least tincture of philosophy, and was even said to have been one of the searchers for the philosopher’s stone. He is now principally known as the discoverer of phosphorus, which he prepared from urine, and which bears his name in the shops. He was the author of several works, written in German, in a very bad style, and with as little method as the rest of the alchemists. His treatise “On Phosphorus,” was printed at Leipsic in 1678, and his “Art of Glass-making” in 1689. Two or three of his essays have been translated into Latin. 2