Georg Hartmann (Biographical details)

Georg Hartmann (scientific instrument maker; goldsmith/metalworker; German; Male; 1489 - 1564)

Also known as

Hartmann, Georg; Hartman, Georgius


Nuremberg, Germany


Scientific instrument maker (and manual writer) Georg Hartmann was born on 9 February 1489 in Eggolsheim (between Bamberg and Erlangen). In 1506 he enrolled as a student at the university of Cologne; some years later, probably between 1510 and 1518, he travelled to Italy. He settled in Nuremberg in 1518 and became the vicar of the church of St. Sebald, a post he held until 1544, successfully combining his religious activities with instrument-making and mathematical research. Shortly before 1523 he set up a workshop specialising in the production of scientific instruments, which produced a large number of instruments. Over 30 of these are extant, mostly sundials of various designs, but also other related instruments such as astrolabes, quadrants and astronomical and astrological compendia. He is also known to have produced larger instruments such as terrestrial and celestial globes and armillary spheres, but no examples of these have survived; nor has an astrolabe printed on paper in 1531 (see Astrolabes at Greenwich, p. 37 & n. 28). After about 1540 Hartmann began to produce non-astronomical instruments as well, mainly gunner's instruments for determining range distances, gauging cannon bores of cannons and determining the diameter of cannon balls.
His instruments reflect their origin in a large workshop setting. He never engraved letters or numbers, but used punches instead; stamped identification numbers on different parts of an instrument, perhaps as an aid when several instruments were being constructed at once; and repeated a latitude degree on the lug presumably to help the engraver.
In 1533 he published a manual on making diptych sundials, and several unpublished manuscripts containing drawings of sundials, astrolabes and other instruments have survived. Georg Hartmann died on 8 April 1564.


Astrolabes at Greenwich 2005, p. 37 and n. 28, pp.145-6.
Klemm, H G, Georg Hartmann aus Eggolsheim (1489-1564): Leben und Werk eines fränkischen Mathematikers und Ingenieurs, Wissenschaftliche und künstlerische Beiträge Ehrenbürg-Gymnasium Forchheim, 8, 1990.
Zinner 1967, pp.357-68, and p.682.