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Author: Subject: Something completely different for this independence day
The WiZard is In
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[*] posted on 3-7-2011 at 13:10
Something completely different for this independence day


The following passage, taken from a manuscript of the year 1563,
shows what curious ideas were formerly held, and is worth quoting
here as a curiosity: "For saltpetre to make poisonous breath add,
when molten, small serpents, toads, spiders, blindworms, and
basilisks. If you have not the latter, you make them artificially in the
following way: Put fresh eggs greased with linseed oil for a fortnight
in sheep-s dung, then worms will develop which eat each other.
The last one feed on men-s blood which is bled in the
bathinghouse, or with the back of a rat. On feeding it close your
mouth with rue and sage. After a fortnight burn it to ashes on an
open field in a well-luted glass. You can also imprison together a
pair of two-year old cocks with fiery red eyes until they are
copulated, and let the eggs be bred by a large toad."

Oscar Guttmann
The Manufacture of Explosives
Macmillan 1895
In two volumes

I The Analogue Guy owns a original copy of this book.
You can DL yours from Google.com/books. La book contains
one of the best descriptions of the early manufacture of black
powder that I am aware of.





The-National-Chorus--800.jpg - 1020kB

[Edited on 3-7-2011 by The WiZard is In]
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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 4-7-2011 at 06:25


Quote: Originally posted by The WiZard is In  
The following passage, taken from a manuscript of the year 1563,
shows what curious ideas were formerly held, and is worth quoting
here as a curiosity
I'd guess this recipe is in code. I don't know what the code is, but there's a clear mention of "well-luted glass" in the middle of it, which is likely a distillation operation. Also, certain glassware of the era was nicknamed after animals, notably the alembic. IIRC, it's nickname was the pelican, whence images of pelicans in some of the later figurative chemical paintings.
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Saerynide
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[*] posted on 4-7-2011 at 07:37


Quote: Originally posted by The WiZard is In  
You can also imprison together a
pair of two-year old cocks with fiery red eyes until they are
copulated, and let the eggs be bred by a large toad."


Male chickens laying eggs? AND then fertilized by a *toad*? :D




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The WiZard is In
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[*] posted on 4-7-2011 at 10:49


Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  
I'd guess this recipe is in code. I don't know what the code is, but there's a clear mention of "well-luted glass" in the middle of it, which is likely a distillation operation. A



Actually — lute/luted like calcine/calcined has the same meaning in
the 21st Century chemistry as it had in ME.

Think of Latin where Latin words are still in common use in
today's English, e.g., analytic geometry's, term for a "chord
parallel to the directrix and passing through the focus (or one
of the two foci)."

For your things you probable never though about files —

Preferred numbers/values
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preferred_number

Continued fractions
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continued_fractions


djh
---
His talk was like a stream, which runs
With rapid change from rocks to roses;
It slipped from politics to puns,
It passes from Mahomet to Moses;
Beginning with the laws which keep
The Planets in their radian courses;
And ending with some precept deep
For dressing eels, or shoeing horses.

Winthrop Mackworth Praed
The Vicar
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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 5-7-2011 at 07:31


Quote: Originally posted by The WiZard is In  
Actually — lute/luted like calcine/calcined has the same meaning in
the 21st Century chemistry as it had in ME.
Yes. I should have elaborated before. Right in the middle of this crazy-looking tale there's this phrase "well-luted glass", which isn't metaphoric or symbolic in any way. No one had standard-taper glass back then, because the machine technology to make interchangeable parts didn't exist. So every piece of distillation apparatus had to be "well-luted" or it would leak out all your product.

As for the reference to sheep's dung, it's useful to know that old chemists had very poor methods of heat control. The dung technique was to bury a vessel in a heap of composting dung, where the bacterial action is strong enough to keep the pile a few tens of degrees hotter than ambient. It's not a lot of heat, but evidently enough to do something useful with a two-week reaction time.
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The WiZard is In
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[*] posted on 5-7-2011 at 08:37


Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  

As for the reference to sheep's dung, it's useful to know that old chemists had very poor methods of heat control. The dung technique was to bury a vessel in a heap of composting dung, where the bacterial action is strong enough to keep the pile a few tens of degrees hotter than ambient. It's not a lot of heat, but evidently enough to do something useful with a two-week reaction time.


Lucky guess!



Thorpe's " A Dictionary of Applied Chemistry" - 1916

White lead, Ceram, Blanc de Plomb, Bleiuviss. The commercial article known
as white lead is essentially a basic lead carbonate, of the formula
2PbCO3-Pb(OH), which is produced by the decomposition of a basic lead
acetate by means of carbon dioxide. The method of manufacture which
according to experience yields a white lead best adapted for the production of
paint, one of the chief uses of white lead in the arts, is a modification of the old
Dutch process.

The Dutch method consists in exposing thin sheets of metallic lead, rolled into
coils and placed in earthenware pots containing a small amount of vinegar, to
the combined action of the acetic acid contained in the vinegar, air, moisture,
and carbon dioxide; the carbon dioxide and the heat necessary to further the
corrosion of the lead being obtained by the fermentation of horse manure and
stable litter
, in which the earthenware pots and their contents are embedded.
The 'blue' or metallic lead is gradually corroded and converted into white lead,
which after being separated from the unaltered metallic lead, is ground and
washed.

The English method differs from the Dutch method chiefly in the replacement of
horse dung and stable litter by spent tan in a state of fermentation, and the
substitution of dilute acetic acid, prepared from pyroligneous acid, for the
vinegar.

I had OCR'd this a few years back from my hard copy of Thorpe.
The Analogue Guy owns three different editions. You can
read the complete article at Google.com/books

http://tinyurl.com/3rf7mta


djh
----
One of the first things
a boy learns with a
chemistry set it that
he'll never get
another one.

Evan Star

CC Gaither, AE Cavazos-Gaither
Chemically Speaking : A Dictionary of Quotations
Institute of Physics Publishing
2002
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