Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Schwartz, Berthold

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SCHWARTZ, BERTHOLD, a monk of the order of Cordeliers, at the end of the 13th century, was a native of Freiburg, in Germany, and an able chemist. It is said that as he was making some experiments with niter he was led to his invention of gunpowder, which was first applied to warlike purposes by the Venetians in 1300. There is, however, much discrepancy in the accounts of this discovery; and it is certain that Roger Bacon, who died in 1292, was acquainted with an inflammable composition similar to gunpowder, the knowledge of which the Europeans appear to have derived from the Orientals.