Perlele lui Linne / Linne’s Pearls.

Perlele lui Linne / Linne’s Pearls.

Naturalistul suedez Carl von Linne (1717-1778), cunoscut drept Linnaeus, este renumit pentru dezvoltarea unui sistem în care fiecare animal sau plantă are un nume compus din două părţi, genul şi specia (ex. Homo sapiens). Dar Linne a produs şi primele perle sferice cultivate vreodată în moluşte, de apă dulce sau sărată, Această realizare, şi nu cunoştinţele sale de botanică sau sistemul binominal, a fost motivul pentru care a primit titlul „von”.

Textul integral, cf. „Pearls. A Natural History”, pag. 156.

Carl von Linne

Linne’s Pearls.

Anyone who could induce this illness in mussels could make them produce pearls; and if one could, what could be more profitable? (Carl von Linne)

The Swedish naturalist Carl von Linne (1717-1778), also known as Linnaeus, is best known for developing the system of binominal nomenclature, whereby each animal or plant bears a two-part name, the genus and species (e.g., Homo sapiens). But Linne also produced the first spherical pearls ever cultured in any mollusk, saltwater or freshwater. This, rather than his botanical acumen or his nomenclatural system, was the reason why he received his noble title „von.”

Using the River Mussel Unio pictorum (Linne, 1758) from a slow-flowing creek in his home town of Uppsala, Linne drilled a small hole through the shell and inserted a granule of limestone or plaster between the mantle and the shell. In an attempt to produce free pearls instead of blister pearls, he held the bead away from the shell’s inner surface by a T shaped silver wire. The pearl mussels were returned to the riverbed for six years, and resulted in free pearls of modest quality.

In contrast to his many academic contributions, Linne sought to market this discovery. In July 1761, the State Council of Sweden recommended the price of 12,000 dalars. He sold his „secret” the following year to Peter Bagge, a Gothenburg merchant, for 6,000 dalars. Bagge received a monopoly permit from King Adolph Frederick but never used it. Neither did his grandson, J. P. Bagge, who received another permit for the process in 1821. Eighty years later, W. A. Herdmann found Linne’s manuscripts and other materials then housed, as they are now, in the Linnean Society of London, and published a full account of Linne’s pearl-culturing method. After a mere 144 years, the secret was finally revealed.

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