Switch to German

The Alchemical Legacy of Bartholomäus Schobinger in St. Gallen

The Alchemical Legacy of Bartholomäus Schobinger in St. Gallen

Nestled in the picturesque city of St. Gallen, where history and modernity intertwine, my fascination with alchemy finds a perfect muse. Living and working in St. Gallen, I am constantly reminded of its rich historical tapestry, particularly in alchemy. One figure in this historical landscape stands out: Bartholomäus Schobinger, a man whose life and work embody the spirit of Renaissance alchemy and innovation. His story is not just a chapter in the annals of St. Gallen but a narrative that resonates with the ethos of TheCrazyAlchemist.com.

The Life of Bartholomäus Schobinger:

Bartholomäus Schobinger, born in 1500, was more than a wealthy merchant; he was an intellectual giant and a pivotal figure in alchemy. His story begins in a family that gained prominence through service to the Abbey of St. Gallen since the 14th century. Schobinger's marriage to the daughter of guild master Michael Schappeler in 1525 further elevated his social standing, but his passion for alchemy and science truly defined him.

Building Wealth and Fostering Science:

Schobinger's wealth was accrued through savvy business dealings in the iron and textile trade and, significantly, through his involvement in mining. His access to copper mines in eastern Switzerland and Austria amplified his wealth and positioned him as a benefactor of the scientific community. His resources possibly aided alchemists of the time, providing them with essential materials for their experiments, thereby fostering a thriving environment for scientific discovery in St. Gallen.

A Pioneer in Material Science:

Perhaps Schobinger's most extraordinary contribution to science was his development of a recipe that led to the creation of an early form of plastic. This recipe, utilized by Benedictine monk Wolfgang Seidel to produce 'Kunsthorn', marked the early stages of what we know today as plastic. This ingenuity underscores Schobinger's role as a visionary in material science, far ahead of his time.

A Legacy of Knowledge and Innovation:

Despite his immense wealth, Schobinger's heart lay in pursuing knowledge. In a letter to his son, he expressed a wish to exchange his wealth for youth, not for material gains but for the pursuit of learning. His association with Paracelsus during the latter's stay in St. Gallen in 1531 further exemplifies his commitment to scientific exploration.


Bartholomäus Schobinger of St. Gallen was not merely a historical figure but a renaissance man whose life blended wealth, intellect, and a profound commitment to science and alchemy. His story, a fascinating chapter in the history of St. Gallen, continues to inspire those like myself who are drawn to the mysteries and wonders of alchemy. His legacy, steeped in the annals of this beautiful city, remains a testament to the unquenchable human spirit's quest for knowledge and innovation.