By J. R. Partington
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Additional resources for A History of Chemistry
The distillation of brandy (eau de vie) from wine, and of spirit of wine from brandy, is described. ^^ Lemery describes the preparations of opium in detail. He thought from his experiments that it contained a spirituous part soluble in water and a resinous, gummous, or earthy insoluble part, the particles of which, carried to the small vessels of the brain, condensed the spirits and moderated their motion, thus causing sleep; the objections to his theory were, as usual, answered; the tinc ture is called ‘laudanum’.
Lemery® though corrosive sublimate was adulterated w ith arsenic, w hich could be detected b y its blackening w ith salt of tartar (potassium carbonate): s’il noircit il y a infailliblement de I’arsenic, au contraire s’il jaunit, il est bon. T h is was disproved by Barchtxsen,’ who showed that alkali did not discolour arsenic, and b y Louis Lemery,* who showed that the black colour is due to mercurous chloride. * A poison is ‘anything which can break and destroy the union and economy of the humours of the body by corroding the parts or interfering with the natural course of the spirits’.
In the 17 cent, dried animal dung, including but not exclusively camel’s dung and never camel’s urine, was used as fuel in Egypt and on burning evolved a thick smoke, the soot from which was col lected and taken to factories, where it was carefully heated in fifty large glass globes set in a gallery furnace, when cakes of crude sal ammoniac sublimed on the upper parts of the globes as a dull-greyish mass. ® ^ Obs. , 1774, i, 197. ^ Demachy, Recueil de dissertations physico-chimiques, Amsterdam, 1774; de Morveau, op.
A History of Chemistry by J. R. Partington
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