The place of bellows in alchemy

Interesting post about alchemical bellows…


Whilst researching a post for my other blog (, I remembered that I had seen bellows in alchemical illustrations.
However in refreshing my memory I find that they feature only infrequently.

Breughel’s famous drawing of an alchemist and his family shows the use of them to encourage a small fire:


Yet I have been unable to find many examples of the use of bellows to blow a furnace in alchemical texts or illustrations definitely associated with alchemists. The ones I checked seem to assume the use of a draft furnace.

I wonder why?

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