JOHANN RUDOLPH GLAUBER (1603-1668), alchemist and medicinal chemist, was born at Carlstadt in 1603, and died at Amsterdam in 1668. There is no authentic record of details concerning his life; his name has been somewhat marred by tradition, but it is not unreasonable to suppose that this originated with persons who did not heed the warning given by the chemist himself, in one of his more important memoirs, "let no one rashly judge of this work, until he be thoroughly informed concerning the same."
Commencing his career as a chemist at the time he did, it was not unnatural that he imbibed the notion, prevalent among his contemporaries, of the existence of "alkaheat," a liquid which was to be universal in its uses as a solvent and a medicine, and of the "philosopher's stone." But whatever the motive which induced him to toil in his laboratory, it is certain that he, by ascertaining the preparation of many valuable medicines, contributed largely to pharmacy. He undoubtedly was the first, in 1618, to procure hydrochloric acid by the action of oil of vitriol on common salt, and also in all probability to obtain nitric acid by means of oil of vitriol and nitre. Sodium sulphate, discovered by him, and commonly therefore termed Glauber's salt (see GLAUBER'S SALT), he obtained by the action of oil of vitriol on salt.
His treatises, about thirty in number, were published at Frankfort in 2 vols. 4to, in 1658-1659 ; at Amsterdam, in 1661, in 7 vols. 8vo; and at London, translated into English by Parke, in 1689, 1 vol. folio. [--]