Otto von Guericke was an alderman and later mayor of Magdeburg, a town that suffered greatly during the Thirty Years War. His experiments on pneumatics led in 1657 to an experiment that entered into the history of physics under the name of his home town. Using a piston pump, Guericke generated a vacuum between two copper hemispheres. Pressed together by the surrounding air pressure, the two hemispheres could not be separated even by two teams of eight horses. This and his earlier experiments were first described by the scholarly Jesuit priest Caspar Schott, and it was only in 1672 that Guericke himself published the vividly illustrated “Experimenta Nova”.