But the instruments of research were developed be£ ore a method of procedure was found; and if gold did not come out of lead in the experiments of the alchemists, they are not to be reproached for their ineptitude but congratulated on their audacity: their imaginations sniffed quarry in a cave they could not penetrate, and their  haying and pointing finally called the hunters to the spot. Something more important than gold came out of the researches of the alchemists: the retort and the furnace and the alembic: the habit of manipulation by crushing, grinding, firing, distilling, dissolving-valuable apparatus for real experiments, valuable methods for real science. The source of authority for the magicians ceased to be Aristotle and the Fathers of the Church: they relied upon what their hands could do and their eyes could see, with the aid of mortar and pestle and furnace. Magic rested on demonstration rather than dialectic: more than anything else, perhaps, except painting, it released European thought from the tyranny of the written text. (Mumford 1934:39-40)
MUMFORD, Lewis. 1934. Technique and civilization. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.