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The Saltzman family The Saltzman family were merchants and bankers within the Hanseatic League for two centuries up to the time of Peter the Great. Their fortune reached its zenith in Hans Helmuth's lifetime, when many of their family members were attached to European courts as diplomats and money brokers, below and behind the aristocratic tier of ambassadors and ecclesiastical envoys, with whom they exchanged patronage for finance.
Hans Helmuth Saltzman was an attaché to the Ambassador of Schleswig-Holstein during the latter part of the reign of Charles I, and was an important and impartial witness to the internal divisions of English society at the time. As a youngest son, he was not obliged to devote himself to his family business, and could afford the life of a gentleman-scholar and experimenter. During this period he often collaborated with the Enlightenment greats in England, France and the German states, and some scholars believe that he may have been the true personage of a highly-regarded English playwright (although most disagree, citing Saltzman's lack of discipline in the literary arts during his younger years). His immersion in the process of Scientific discovery, however, was made relatively late in life, when Saltzman was in his forties, when he met the famous inventor Robert Hooke who inspired him with his theories in optics. (more...)