The origin of the word zinc is not clear. In the 16th century, the Swiss-German physician Paracelsus used the word zincum, but with no precise definition. In Persia in the 13th century, zinc oxide present in furnace dusts was known as tutie. As this means "something good for the eyes" it was probably the first medical application of zinc.
It was in Zawar, India, probably in the 14th century, that condensation of zinc vapours into metal was achieved for the first time. This process was often refined, using circular kilns similar to those used in glass making, or heating up horizontal retorts in furnaces. Nowadays, the hydrometallurgical process is the standard process used in most parts of the world.