I shall not stand here to show where the art of distillation had its origin, as being a thing not easily to be proved and, if known, yet little conducing to our ensuing discourse. But let us understand what distillation is, of which there are three principal and chief definitions or descriptions:
1. Distillation is a certain art of extracting the liquor, or the humid part of things by virtue of heat (as the matter shall require) being first resolved into a vapor and then condensed again by cold.
2. Distillation is the art of extracting the spiritual and essential humidity from the phlegmatic, or of the phlegmatic from the spiritual.
3. Distillation is the changing of gross thick bodies into a thinner and liquid substance, or separation of the pure liquor from the impure feces.
I shall treat of distillation according to all these three acceptions, and no otherwise, hence I shall exclude sublimation and degrees of heat there are, and which are convenient for every operation, and they are principally four.
The first in only a warmth, as is that of horse dung, of the sun, of warm water, and the vapor thereof, which kind of heat serves for putrefaction and digestion.
The second is of seething water and the vapor thereof, as also of ashes, and serves to distill those things which are subtle and moist, as also for the rectifying of any spirit or oil.
The third is of sand and filings of iron which serves to distill things subtle and dry, or gross and moist.
The fourth is of a naked fire - close, open or with a blast which serves to distill metals and minerals and hard gummy things, such as amber, etc. I do not say serves only to distill these, for many former distillations are performed by this heat, as the distilling of spirits and oils, etc., in a copper still over a naked fire; but these may be distilled by the two former degrees of heat. But minerals and such like cannot but by this fourth degree alone.
OF THE MATTER AND FORM OF FURNACES
The matter of furnaces is various, for they may be made either of brick and clay, or clay alone with whites of eggs, hair and filings or iron (and of these if the clay be fat are made the best and most durable furnaces) or of iron or copper, cast or forged. The forms also of furnaces are various.
The fittest form for distillation is round; for so the heat of the fire being carried up equally diffuses itself every way, which happens not in a furnace of another figure, as four square or triangular, for the corners disperse and separate the force of the fire. Their magnitude must be such as shall be fit for the receiving of the vessel; their thickness so great as necessity shall seem to require; only thus much observe, that if they be of forged iron or copper, they must be coated inside, especially if you intend to use them for a strong fire. They must be made with two bottoms distinguished, as it were, into two forges, the one below which may receive the ashes, the other above to contain the fire. The bottom of this upper must either be an iron grate or else an iron plate perforated with many holes so that the ashes may the more easily fall down into the bottom, which otherwise would put out the fire. Yet some furnaces have three partitions, as the furnace for reverberation, and the register furnace. In the first and lowest the ashes are received. In the second the fire is put, and in the third of the furnace for reverberation, the matter which is to be reverberated. This third ought to have a semi-circular cover so that the heat may be reflected upon the contained matter. The bottom of the third and uppermost partition of the register furnace must be either a plate of iron or a smooth stone perforated with holes, having stopples of stone fitted thereunto which you may take out or put in, as you would have the heat increased or decreased. In the top or upper part of all these furnaces where it shall seem most fit, there must be two or three holes made, that by them the smoke may more freely pass out and the air let in to make the fire burn stronger if need requires, or else which are to be shut with stopples made fit to them. The mouths of the fore-mentioned partitions must have shutters, just like an oven's mouth, with which you may shut them closed or leave them open if you would have the fire burn stronger. But in defect of a furnace or fit matter to make one, we may use a kettle or a pot set upon a trivet, as we shall show when we come to give you a description of the furnace and vessels. The truth of the matter is, a good artist will make any still, yea and in half a day's time make a furnace or something equivalent to it for any operations.
OF VESSELS FIT FOR DISTILLATION
Vessels for distillation are of various matter and form. For they may be either of lead, which I altogether disapprove of for that they turn the liquors into a white and milky substance besides the malignity they give to them, or they may be of copper, iron, or tin which are better than the former. They may be of jug-metal, or potter's metal glazed, or glass which are the best of all, where they may be used without fear of breaking or melting. Some make them of silver, but they are very changeable. They that are able and willing may have the benefit of them.
OF LUTES FOR COATING OF GLASSES AND FOR CLOSURES AS ALSO SEVERAL WAYS OF STOPPING GLASSES
The best lute is made thus. Take of loam and sand tempered with salt water (which keeps it from cleaving). To these add the caput mortuary of vitriol or aqua fortis, and scalings of iron, and temper them well together. This serves to coat retorts or any glass vessels that must endure a most strong fire, and will never fail if well made. Some add flax, beaten glass, and pots and flints, etc.
Take unslaked lime and linseed oil. Mix them well together and make thereof a lute which will be so hard that no spirit will pierce it, and this serves for the closure of glasses.
Or, moisten an ox bladder in the white of an egg beaten to water, or in defect of a bladder, use paper and bind them round where the vessels are joined together, one over another two or three times.
Or, if the spirits in the glass be exceedingly corrosive, then use the caput mortuary of aqua fortis, linseed oil, and chalk mixed together.
If a glass be cracked, then wet a linen cloth in the white of an egg beaten to water, and lay upon it, an upon that presently while it is wet, sift some unslaked lime and press it close with your hand. When that is dry, lay on another cloth thus wet as before and on it sift more lime.
A vessel may be stopped so close with quicksilver that no spirit can breathe forth, by which means the glass will be preserved from breaking by the enclosed spirits (for the head will first yield before the glass breaks). The vessel must be made as the figure hereunder shows. This also is a good way to preserve spirits already distilled from the air.
A. Signifies the head or cover.
B. The body or vessel itself.
C. The little glass to take out the liquor that is in the vessel because it cannot well be poured out, as by reason of the quicksilver which will be apt to be lost, so by reason of the form of the vessel itself.
D . A false bottom where the quicksilver must lie, into which the head must be set upon the quicksilver so that the quicksilver may come above the bottom of the head.
Also, you may make stopples of glasses ground so smooth that no vapor can get forth by them, as you may see by this pattern.
A. Signifies the stopple of glass ground very smooth and fit to the mouth of the vessel.
B. The glass body.
But the best way is to have a crooked pipe which may have quicksilver in it, and be well luted to the body that no spirit can get forth. By this means the glass will never break, for the quicksilver will first yield.
A. The crooked pipe.
B. The glass body.
Or upon the top of a glass stopple there may be fastened some lead, that if the spirit be too strong, it will only heave up the stopple and let it fall down again.
C. The glass stopple with lead on the top.
D. The mouth of the vessel itself.
Now the way to nip up a glass, or seal it up hermetically is after this manner .
Put what matter you please into a bolt head with a long neck or pipe, put this pipe through a pan that has a little hole made in the bottom, that the top of it may be three or four inches above the pan. Close up the hole round about the pipe with clay. Then put coals in the pan and kindle first those that are furtherest off from the pipe that the heat may come by degrees to the pipe (for otherwise a sudden heat will break it). When the pipe is hot, blow the coals about it until it melts. Then with a pair of shears, cut it off where it is melted, and then with a pair of tongs close it together.
Note that after you have closed it you must put the burning coals upon the top thereof, and let it thus stand until all be cold which must be done by degrees, for otherwise the glass will certainly crack in the place where it is nipped.
Note that the pan must stand upon some frame or some hollow place that there may be a passage for the pipe to come through it. Also the bolt head must stand upon a trivet or some other firm place according to this figure.
AN EXPLANATION OF SUCH HARD WORDS AND TERMS OF ART WHICH ARE USED IN THIS ENSUING TREATISE
AMALGAMATION is a calcining or corroding of metals with quicksilver, and it is done thus. Take any metal except iron, beaten into thin leaves or very small powder. Mix it with about eight parts of quicksilver (which may the better be done if both be heated first) that they may become one uniform mass. Evaporate the quicksilver over the fire, and the metal will be left in the bottom as a thin calx.
CALCINATION is the reducing of anything into a calx, and making it friable, and it may be done two ways - by firing, either by reducing into ashes or by reverberating; or by corrosion, either by amalgamation, precipitation, fumigation or vaporation, cementation or stratification.
CIRCULATI ON is when any liquor is so placed in digestion that it shall rise up and fall down, rise up and fall down, and so do continually, and thereby become more digested and mature, for which use for the most part we use a pelican.
CLARIFICATION is the separation of the gross feces from any decoction or juice, and it is done three ways - by the white of an egg, by digestion, or by filtration.
COAGULATION is the reducing of any liquid thing to a thicker substance by evaporating the humidity.
COHOBATION is the frequent abstraction of any liquor, poured often on the feces from whence it was distilled, by distillation.
CONGELATION is when any liquor being decocted to the heights is afterwards, by settling into any cold place, turned into a transparent substance like unto ice.
CORROSION is the calcining of bodies by corrosive things.
DECANTATION is the pouring off of any liquor which has a settling by inclination.
DELIQUIUM is the dissolving of a hard body into a liquor, as salt, or the powder of any calcined matter, etc., in a moist place.
DESCENSION is when the essential juice dissolved from the matter to be distilled does descend or fall downward.
DESTUMATION is the taking off the froth that floats on the top with a spoon or feather, or by percolation.
DISTILLATI ON is the extracting of the humid part of things by virtue of heat, being first resolved into a vapor, and then condensed again by cold. Thus it is generally taken, but how more particularly, I shall afterward show.
DIGESTION is a concocting or maturation of crude things by an easy and gentle heat.
DISSOLUTION is the turning of bodies into a liquor by the addition of some humidity.
DULCORATION or culcification is either the washing off of the salt from any matter that was calcined therewith, with warm water, in which the salt is dissolved and the matter dulcified. Or it is the sweetening of things with sugar, or honey, or syrup.
ELEVATION is the rising of any matter in matter of fume or vapor by virtue of heat.
EVAPORATION or EXHALATION is the vaporing away of any moisture.
EXALTATION is when any matter does by digestion attain to a greater purity.
EXPRESSION is the extracting of any liquor by the hand or by a press.
EXTRACTION is the drawing forth of an essence from a corporeal matter by some fit liquor as spirit of wine, the feces remaining in the bottom.
FERMENTATION is when anything is resolved into itself, and is rarified and ripened, whether it be done by any ferment added to it or by digestion only.
FILTRATION is the separation of any liquid matter from its feces by making it run through a brown paper made like a tunnel, or a little bag of woolen cloth, or through shreds.
FIXATION is the making of any volatile spiritual body endure the fire and not fly away, whether it be done by often reiterated distillations, or sublimations, or by the adding of some fixing thing to it.
FUMIGATION is the calcining of bodies by the fume of sharp spirits, whether vegetable or mineral, the bodies being laid over the mouth of the vessel wherein the sharp spirit s are .
HUMECTATION or irrigation is a sprinkling of moisture upon anything.
IMBIBITION is when any dry body drinks in any moisture that is put upon it.
IMPREGNATION is when any dry body has drunk in so much moisture that it will admit of no more.
INCORPORATION is a mixing of a dry and moist body together so as to make a uniform mass of them.
INFUSION is the putting of any hard matter into liquor, for the virtue thereof to be extracted.
INSOLATION is digestion of things in the sun.
LEVIGATION is the reducing of any hard matter into a most fine powder.
LIQUATION is a melting or making anything fluid.
LUTATION is either the stoppings of the orifices of vessels so that no vapor passes out, or the coating of any vessel to preserve it from breaking in the fire.
MACERATION is the same as digestion.
MATURATION is the exalting of a substance that is immature, and crude to be ripened and concocted.
MENSTRUUM is any liquor that serves for the extracting of the essence of anything.
PRECIPITATION is when bodies corroded by corrosive spirits either by the evaporating of the spirits remain in the bottom, or by pouring something upon the spirit, as oil of tartar, or a good quantity of water, do fall to the bottom.
PURIFICATION is a separation of any liquor from its feces whether it be done by clarification, filtration, or digestion.
PUTREFACTION is the resolution of a mixed body into itself by natural gentle heat.
QUINTESSENCE is an absolute, pure, and well digested medicine drawn from any substance, either animal, vegetable, or mineral.
RECTIFICATION is either the drawing of the phlegm from the spirit or of the spirit from the phlegm, or the exaltation of any liquor by a reiterated distillation.
REVERBERATION is the reducing of bodies into a calx by a reflecting flame.
SOLUTION is a dissolving or attenuating of bodies.
STRATIFICATION is a strewing of corroding powder on plates of metal by course.
SUBLIMATION is an elevating or raising of the matter to the upper part of the vessel by way of a subtle powder.
SUBTILIATION is the turning of a body into a liquor or into a fine powder.
TRANSMUTATION is the changing of a thing in substance, color, and quality.
VOLATILE is that which flyeth the fire.
RULES TO BE CONSIDERED IN DISTILLATION
Make choice of a fit place in your house for the furnace, so that it may neither hinder anything, nor be in danger of the falling of anything into it that shall lie over it. For a forcing furnace, it will be best to set it in a chimney, because a strong heat is used to it, and many times there are used brands which will smoke, and the fire being great, the danger thereof may be prevented and of things of a malign and venerate quality being distilled in such a furnace, the fume or vapor, if the glass should break may be carried up into the chimney which otherwise will fly about the room to thy prejudice.
In all kinds of distillation the vessels are not to be filled too full, for if you distill liquors they will run over, and if other more solid things the one part will be burned before the other part be at all worked upon. But fill the fourth part of gourds, the half of retorts, the third part of copper vessels, and in rectifying of spirits fill the vessel half full.
Let those things which are flatulent, as wax, resin, and such like, as also those things which do easily boil up, as honey, be put in a lesser quantity and be distilled in greater vessels with the addition of salt, sand, or such like.
There be some things which require a strong fire, yet you must have a care that the fire not be too vehement, for fear their nature should be destroyed.
You must have a care that the lute with which vessels are closed do not give vent and alter the nature of the liquor, especially when a strong fire is to be used.
Acid liquors have this peculiar property, that the weaker part goes forth first and the stronger last. But in fermented and liquors the spirit goes first, then the phlegm.
If the liquor retains a certain empyreuma or smatch of the fire, you shall help it by putting it into a glass close stopped and so exposing it to the heat of the sun, and now and then opening the glass that the fiery impression may exhale. Or else let the glass stand in a cold moist place.
When you put water into a seething Balneum wherein there are glasses, let it be hot or else you will endanger breaking the glasses.
When you take any earthen or glass vessel from the fire, expose it not to the cold air too suddenly, for fear it should break.
If you would have a Balneum as hot as ashes, put sand or sawdust into it, that the heat of the water may be therewith kept in and made more intense.
If you would make a heat with horse dung, the manner is this, viz., make a hole in the ground. Then lay one course of horse dung a foot thick, then a course of unslaked lime a foot thick, and then another of dung, as before. Then set in your vessel, and lay around it lime and horse dung mixed together. Press it down very hard. You must sprinkle it every other day with water. When it ceases to be hot, then take it out and put in more.
Note that always sand or ashes must be well sifted, for otherwise a coal or stone therein may break your glass.
The time for putrefaction of things is various, for if the thing to be putrefied is vegetable and green, less time is required; if dry, a longer time is required. Minerals require the longest of all. Thus much note, that things are sooner putrefied in cloudy weather than in fair.
If you would keep vegetables fresh and green all year, gather them on a dry day and put them into an earthen vessel which you must stop close and set in a cold place and, as Glauberus says, they will keep fresh a whole year .
Do not expect to extract the essence of any vegetable unless by making use of the feces, left after distillation; for if you take those feces, as for example of a nettle, and make a decoction thereof and strain it and set it in the frost, it will be congealed and in it will appear a thousand leaves of nettles with their prickles which when the decoction is again resolved by heat, vanish away, which shows that the essence of the vegetables lies in the salt thereof.
In all your operations, diligently observe the processes which you read and vary not a little from them, for sometimes a small mistake or neglect spoils the whole operation and frustrates your expectations.
Try not at first experiments of great cost or great difficulty, for it
will be a great discouragement to you, and you will be very apt to mistake.
If any would enter upon the practice of chemistry, let him apply himself to some expert artist for to be instructed in the manual operation of things, for by this means he will learn more in two months than he can by his practice and study in 7 years, as also avoid much pains and cost and redeem much time which else of necessity he will lose.
Enter not upon any operation unless it be consistent with the possibility of nature which, therefore, you must endeavor as much as possible to understand well.
Do not interpret all things you read according to the literal sense, for philosophers when they wrote anything too excellent for the vulgar to know, expressed it enigmatically that the sons of Art only might understand it
In all your operations propose a good end to yourself, as not to use any excellent experiment that you shall discover to any ill end, but for the public good.
It will be necessary that you know all such instruments that you shall use about your furnace and glasses, whereof some are already expressed and some more are shown in the following pages.
A. Signifies an iron rod with two rings at the ends thereof, which must be heated red hot and applied to that part of the glass which you would break off. When you have held it there so long until the glass becomes very hot, then take it off and drop some cold water where you would have it break off, and it will presently crack in sunder. These rings are for such glasses as will go into them. You must have diverse of this sort, even of all sizes.
B. An iron hook which must be heated hot and applied to any great glass that will not go into a ring. This hook has a wooden handle.
C. A pair of tongs which are for diverse uses.
D. A crooked iron to rake between the grates to clear them.
E. An iron rake to rake the ashes out of the ash-hole.
A thread dipped in melted brimstone and tied about a glass and then fired may serve instead of the iron rings and the hook.
COMMON DISTILLED SIMPLE WATERS ARE MADE THUS
Take what herbs or flowers you please and put them into a common cold still and let them distill gently.
This is the form of a common cold still.
But note that this kind of water is but the phlegm of the vegetable which you distill and has very little virtue or odor in it. Only roses and mints and two or three more have an odor, but all besides have as little virtue as common distilled water.
I do not deny but that it may be so ordered that these kinds of waters may partake both of the smell and strength of their vegetables in a good measure, and it is thus.
TO MAKE WATERS IN A COLD STILL THAT SHALL HAVE THE FULL SMELL AND VIRTUE OF THE VEGETABLE
Take what herbs, flowers, or roots you please (so that they be green). Bruise them and mix with them some leaven, and let them stand close covered for four or five days. Then distill them after the manner aforesaid.
ANOTHER WAY TO MAKE WATER TASTE AND SMELL STRONGLY OF ITS VEGETABLE
When you have distilled any vegetable in a cold still after the usual manner (so that you take heed you dry not the herb too much, which you may prevent by putting a brown paper in the bottom of the still, giving it a gentle fire and turning the cake before it is quite dried) take the cakes that remain in the bottom of the still and the water that is distilled from thence (having a good quantity thereof) and put them into a hot still and let them stand warm for the space of 24 hours, and then distill them. Then if you would have the water strong, put the said water into more fresh cakes, casting away the other and do as before. This is the truest and best way to have the water of any vegetable. Also, you shall by this way purchase some oil which is to be separated and to be kept by itself.
TO MAKE WATER AT ANY TIME OF THE YEAR IN A COLD STILL WITHOUT GREEN HERBS, SO THAT THE WATER SHALL SMELL STRONG OF THE HERB
Put fair water into the body of the cold still. Then hang a bag full of that herb that you would have the water of, being first dried, or seed or root thereof first bruised, and then make a strong fire under the still.
Note that those vegetables of which the water is made after this and the former manner must be of a fragrant smell, for such as have but little or no smell cannot yield a water of any considerable odor.
ANOTHER WAY TO MAKE A WATER TASTE AND SMELL STRONG OF ITS VEGETABLES
Take of the dry herb, or seed or root bruised, to a pound of each put 12 pints of spring water. Distill them in a hot still or alembick, and the water that is distilled off put upon more of the fresh herbs, seeds, or roots. Do this three or four times and you shall have a water full of the virtue of the vegetable, being almost as strong as a spirit.
TO MAKE THE WATER OF THE FLOWERS OF JASMINE, HONEYSUCKLES OR WOODBINE, VIOLETS, LILIES, ETC. RETAIN THE SMELL OF THEIR FLOWERS
The reason why these flowers in the common way of distillation yield a water of no fragrancy at all, although they themselves are very odoriferous, are either because if a stronger fire be made in the distilling of them the grosser and more earthy spirit comes out with the finer, and troubles it, as it is in case the flowers be crushed or bruised (where the odor upon the same account is lost) or because the odoriferous spirit thereof being thin and very subtle rises with a gentle heat, but for lack of body vapors away. The art therefore that is here required is to prevent the mixing of the grosser spirit with the finer and to give such a body to the finer that shall not embase it, and it is thus:
Take either of the aforesaid flowers gathered fresh, and at noon in a fair day, and let them not at all be bruised. Infuse a handful of them in two quarts of white wine (which must be very good or else you labor in vain) for the space of half an hour. Then take them forth and infuse in the same wine the same quantity of fresh flowers. This do eight or ten times, but still remember that they be not infused above half an hour. For according to the rule of infusion, a short stay of the body that has a fine spirit, in the liquor receives the spirit; but a longer stay confounds it, because it draws forth the earthy part withall which destroys the finer. Then distill this liquor (all the flowers being first taken out) in a glass gourd in a very gentle Balneum, or over a vapor of hot water, the joints of the glass being very well closed, and you shall have a water of a most fragrant odor. By this means the spirit of the wine which serves to body the fine odoriferous spirit of the flowers arises as soon as the fine spirit, itself, without any earthiness mixed with it.
Note that in defect of wine, aqua vitae will serve; also strong beer, but not altogether so well, because there is more gross earthiness in it than in wine.
The water of either of these flowers is a most fragrant perfume and may be used as a very delicate sweet water, and is no small secret.
A. Shows the head of the alembic.
B. The body thereof placed in a brass vessel made for that purpose.
C. A brass vessel perforated in many places to receive the vapor of the water. This vessel shall contain the alembic compassed about with sawdust, not only that it may better and longer retain the heat of the vapor, but also lest it should be broken by the hard touch of the brass vessel.
D. Shows the brass vessel containing the water as it is placed in the furnace.
E. The furnace containing the vessel.
F. A funnel by which you may now and then pour in water to replace what is vanished and dissipated by the heat of the fire.
G. The receiver.
The delineation of a Balneum Mariae may also serve to distill with ashes.
A. Shows the furnace with the hole to take forthe the ashes.
B. Shows another furnace, as it were set in the other. Now it is of brass and runs through the middle of the kettle made also of brass, so that the contained water or ashes may be the more easily heated.
C. The kettle wherein the water, ashes, or sand are contained.
D. The alembic set in the water, ashes, or sand with the mouths of the receivers.
E. The bottom of the second brass furnace, whose top is marked with "B", which contains the fire.
A WATER OUT OF BERRIES IS MADE THUS
Take of what berries you please, being full ripe. Put them into a gourd glass, strewing upon them a good quantity of powdered sugar. Cover them close and let them stand three weeks or a month. Then distill them in Balneum .
After this manner strawberries, raspberries, elderberries, and black cherries may be distilled. But note that such as have stones must first be bruised together with their stones .
A SWEATING WATER MADE OF ELDERBERRIES
Take of elderberries as many as you please. Press out the juice thereof, and to every gallon put a pint of white wine vinegar, of the lees of white wine a pint. Let them stand in a wooden vessel which you must then set in some warm place near the fireside for the space of a week. Then distill them in a hot still or alembic.
The furnace for a Balneum Mariae with the alembics and their receivers.
A. Shows the brass kettle full of water.
B. The cover of the kettle perforated in two places, to give passage forth to the ve s s els .
A pipe or chimney added to the kettle, wherein the fire is contained to heat the water.
D. The alembic consisting of its body and head.
E. The receiver whereinto the distilled liquor runs.
The effigies of another Balneum Mariae not so easy to be removed as the former .
A. Shows the vessel or copper that contains the water.
B. The alembic set in water.
But lest the bottom of the alembic being half full should float up and down in the water, and so strike against the sides of the kettle, I have thought good to show you the way and means to prevent that danger.
A. Shows the vessel or glass alembic .
B. A plate of lead whereon it stands.
C. Strings that bind the alembic to the plate.
D. Rings through which the strings are put to fasten the alembic.
In defect of a furnace for a Balneum, you may make use of a pot set upon a trivet after this manner.
An ounce or two of this water of elderberries is a very excellent sudorific, and is very good in all diseases that require sweat, as also in hydropical diseases.
WATER OUT OF ROTTEN APPLES IS MADE THUS
Take as many rotten apples as you please. Bruise and distill them either in a common cold still or gourd glasses in Balneum.
This water is of greater use in fevers and hot distempers than the common distilled waters of any cold vegetables.
It is very good in any hot distemper of the veins and sharpness of the urine .
It is very good in the inflammations of the eyes.
HOW TO MAKE AQUA VITAE AND SPIRIT OF WINE OUT OF WINE
Take of what wine you please. Put it into a copper still, two parts of three being empty. Distill it with a worm until no more spirit comes off. Then this spirit will serve for the making of any spirits out of vegetables, but if you would have it stronger, distill it again and half will remain behind as an insipid phlegm. And if you would have it yet stronger, distill it again, for every distillation will leave behind one moity of phlegm or thereabouts. So shall you have a most pure and strong spirit of wine.
A Hot Still
A. Shows the bottom which ought to be of copper.
B. The head.
C. The barrel filled with cold water to refrigerate and condense the water and oil that run through the pipe or worm that is put through it.
D. A pipe of brass or pewter, or rather a worm of tin running through the barrel.
E. The alembic set in the furnace with the fire under it.
HOW TO MAKE AQUA VITAE OUT OF BEER
Take the stale strong beer or rather the grounds thereof and put it into a copper still with a worm. Distill it gently (or otherwise it will make the head of the still fly up) and there will come forth a weak spirit, which is called low wine, of which when you have a good quantity you may distill it again of itself, and there will come forth a good aqua vitae. And if you distill it two or three times more, you shall have as strong a spirit as out of wine and, indeed, between which and the spirit of wine you shall perceive none or very little difference.
HOW TO RECTIFY SPIRIT OF WINE OR AQUA VITAE
Distill it in Balneum until the last drop that comes off be hot and full of spirit .
Note that every time there will remain in the bottom a quantity as weak as water .
Note also that every time you distill it, when you perceive that a very weak water comes over, you shall then end that distillation.
TO MAKE THE MAGISTERY OF WINE WHICH WILL BE ONE OF THE GREATEST CORDIALS AND MOST ODORIFEROUS LIQUOR IN THE WORLD
Take good old rich canary wine, put it into a glass vessel that it may fill the third part thereof, and nip it up and set it in a continual heat of horse dung for the space of four months. Then in frosty weather set it forth into the coldest place of the air you can for the space of a month that it may be congealed. And so the cold will drive in the true spirit of the wine into the center thereof and separate it perfectly from its phlegm. That which is congealed cast away. But that which is not congealed esteem as the true spirit of wine. Circulate this in a pelican with a moderate heat for the space of a month, and you will have the true magistery or spirit of wine which, as it is most cordial, so also most balsamical, exceeding all balsams for the cure of wounds.
The form of a Pelican.
The matter must be put in at the top which afterwards must be closed up.
TO MAKE ANOTHER MAGISTERY OF WINE THAT A FEW DROPS THEREOF SHALL TURN WATER INTO PERFECT WINE
Take the best canary wine as much as you please, let is stand in putrefaction forty days, then distill it in Balneum and there will come forth a spirit, and at last an oil. Separate the one from the other and rectify the spirit. Set the oil again in putrefaction forty days and then distill it. The feces that are left after the first distillation will yield a volatile salt which must be extracted without calcination, with the phlegm of the spirit. purify it well, then impregnate the salt with its spirit, and digest them. Then add the oil and digest them together until they become a red powder, which you may use as it is, or else set it in a cellar until it be dissolved into a liquor, and a few drops thereof will do as abovesaid.
TO MAKE AN OIL OF WINE
Take weak spirit of wine and distill it in a vessel of a long neck. Then pour on this spirit again upon the phlegm, and distill it again. Do this several times and you shall see the oil of the wine swim on the phlegm, which phlegm you must separate from the oil by a tunnel.
If this oil be afterward circulated for a month, it will thereby become most odoriferous, and of a singular virtue, and good being both very cordial and balsamical.
TO EXTRACT THE SPIRIT OUT OF WINE BY THE SPIRIT OF WINE
Put spirit of wine well rectified upon Canary or Rhenish wine, so cautiously that it may not mix with, but swim upon the wine. Let them stand without stirring for the space of 48 hours. Then will the spirit that is in the wine rise up and join itself to the spirit that swims on the top, which you shall perceive by the weakness of the phlegm, and which you must let run out at a tap. This must be made in the bottom of the vessel for that purpose, and so be separated from the spirit.
TO MAKE A VERY SUBTLE SPIRIT OF WINE AT THE FIRST DISTILLING
Take white or wheaten bread as soon as it comes forth from the oven, break it in the middle, the upper side from the lower side, and hang it hot in a glass vessel over canary wine, but so that it touches not the wine. Then cover the vessel and let it so stand until the bread swells and is sufficiently impregnated with the spirit of wine which it will attract from the wine. Then take out that bread and put in more until you have a considerable quantity of bread thus moistened. Then put this bread into a glass body, distill it in Balneum, and you shall have a very subtle spirit which you may yet rectify by circulation.
By furnaces and vessels made after this insuing figure may be made four rectifications of any spirit at once.
These vessels may either stand in ashes or in Balneum.
The manner of distilling in wooden vessels.
A. Signifies the vessel wherein the copper vessel lies.
B. The copper vessel, part of which is in the furnace and part is in the vessel of wood.
C The vessel of wood wherein the matter must be that is distilled.
D The cooling vessel with the worm.
E. The receiver.
F. The trivet whereon the vessel stands.
Note that the greater the copper vessel is, and the less the wooden one is, the sooner will the liquor boil.
This furnace shows how to draw forth spirits and waters out of vegetables and animals with little cost and short time.
A balneum and a boiling vessel made of wood.
Note that on the right hand these vessels have a copper vessel hanging forth which must be set into a furnace as is above shown. And on the left hand is a cock or tap to let out the water.
The vessel on the left hand is for a balneum. The holes in the cover thereof are either to set in vessels over the fume of the water or for the necks of the glasses set in the balneum to pass through.
The vessel on your right hand is to boil water in for any use, also to brew in.
THE SPIRIT OF ANY VEGETABLE IS MADE THUS
Take of what vegetable you please, two pounds, macerate it in six gallons of aqua vitae or low wines, or sack, for the space of 24 hours. Then let them be distilled by an alembic, or hot still, putting to every pound of the spirit two ounces of most pure sugar.
Note that the two first pints may be called the stronger spirit, and the rest the weaker spirit or, indeed, the water. But if they be both mixed together, they will make an excellent middling spirit, for the former has more of the spirit of wine, and the latter more of the virtue and odor of the vegetable.
After this manner may be made the spirit of herbs, flowers, roots of vegetables, the seeds of vegetables, berries, barks, rinds, and spices.
Note that the herbs and flowers must be cut small, and bruised.
If you would make it stronger, then take all the foresaid spirit and as much more sack or low wines and put them upon the same quantity of fresh vegetables and distill them. Repeat this three or four times if you please
Note also that the vegetable must be dried, because else the spirit will not be so good, as if otherwise.
The form of an alembic.
A. Signifies the vessel which must be of copper, in which the matter is contained, and which must be set over a naked fire.
B. Signifies the belly that is fastened to the neck, that the neck may the more commodiously be applied to the large mouth of the vessel. But it may be so ordered that the mouth of the upper vessel and lower vessel may be so fitted that they shall not need this belly.
C. The long neck of the upper vessel where by the spirit or water is somewhat cooled.
D. The head.
E. The vessel that compasses the head into which cold water is continually poured after the heating.
F. The long receiver.
G. The top or cock letting out the water when it is hot.
THE SPIRIT OF ANY VEGETABLE MAY SUDDENLY AT ANY TIME OF THE YEAR BE MADE THUS
Take of what herb, flower, seeds, or roots you please. Fill the head of the still therewith and then cover the mouth thereof with a coarse canvas and set it on the still, having first put into it sack or low wines. Then give it fire.
If at any time you would have the spirit be of the color of its vegetable, then put of the flowers thereof dried a good quantity in the nose of the still.
TO MAKE ANY VEGETABLE YIELD ITS SPIRIT QUICKLY
Take of what vegetables you please, whether it be the seed, flower, root, fruit, or leaves thereof. Cut or bruise them small and then put them into warm water. Put yeast or berm to them, and cover them warm and let them work three days, as does beer. Then distill them and they will yield their spirit easily.
TO REDUCE THE WHOLE HERB INTO A LIQUOR WHICH MAY WELL BE CALLED THE ESSENCE THEREOF
Take the whole herb with flowers and roots and make it very clean. Then bruise it in a stone mortar and put it into a large glass vessel so two parts of three may be empty. Cover it exceeding close and let it stand in putrefaction in a moderate heat the space of half a year, and it will all be turned into a water.
TO MAKE AN ESSENCE OF ANY HERB, WHICH BEING PUT INTO A GLASS AND HELD OVER A GENTLE FIRE, THE LIVELY FORM AND IDEA OF THE HERB WILL APPEAR IN THE GLASS
Take the foregoing water and distill it in a gourd glass (the joints being well closed) in ashes, and there will come forth a water and an oil and in the upper part of the vessel will hang a volatile salt. Separate the oil from the water and keep it by itself. With the water purify the volatile salt by dissolving, filtering, and coagulating. The salt being thus purified, imbibe with the said oil until it will imbibe no more. Digest them well together for a month in a vessel hermetically sealed. And by this means you shall have a most subtle essence, which being held over a gentle heat will fly up into the glass and represent the perfect idea of that vegetable whereof it is the essence.
THE TRUE ESSENCE OR RATHER QUINTESSENCE OF ANY HERB IS MADE THUS
When you have made the water and oil of any vegetable first calcine or burn to ashes the remainder of the herb. With the ashes make a lye by pouring its own water thereon. When you have drawn out all the strength of the ashes, then take all the lye, being first filtered, and vapor it away and at the bottom you shall find a black salt which you must take and put into a crucible and melt it in a strong fire (covering the crucible all the time it is melting). After it is melted let it boil half an hour or more. Then take it out and beat it small and set it in a cellar on a marble stone or in a broad glass and it will all be resolved into a liquor. This liquor filter and vapor away the humidity until it be very dry and as white as snow. Then let this salt imbibe as much of the oil of the same vegetable as it can, but no more, lest you labor in vain. Then digest them together until the oil will not rise from the salt, but both become a fixed powder melting with an easy heat.
TO EXTRACT THE QUINTESSENCE OF ALL VEGETABLES
Take of what spices, flowers, seeds, herbs, woods you please and put them into rectified spirit of wine. Let the spirit extract in digestion until no more feces fall to the bottom but all their essence is gone into the spirit of wine. Upon being thus impregnated, pour a strong spirit of salt and digest it in Balneum until an oil swims above which separate with a tunnel or draw of the spirit of wine in balneum. The oil will remain clear at the bottom, but before the spirit of wine is abstracted, the oil is blood red and a true quintessence.
AN EXCELLENT ESSENCE OF ANY VEGETABLE MAY BE MADE THUS
Take of the distilled oil of any vegetable and imbibe with it the best manna, being very well depurated, until it will imbibe no more. Then digest them a month, and you shall have the true balsam and excellent essence of any vegetable.
This has the virtues of the vegetable whereof it was made but in a more eminent manner.
The depuration of manna for this use is a great secret.
WATER OR SPIRIT OF MANNA IS MADE THUS
Take of the best manna one part, of nitre two parts. Put them into an ox bladder and, tying it close, put it into warm water to be dissolved. Distill this water in an alembic, and there will come forth an insipid water, sudorific and laxative.
THE CHEMICAL OIL OF THE HERB OR FLOWER OF ANY VEGETABLE IS MADE THUS
Take of the herb or flower dried one pound, of spring water twenty four pints, and distill them in a great alembic with its cooler or copper still with a worm passing through a vessel of cold water. Let the oil that is drawn with the water be separated with a tunnel or separating glass, and let the water that is separated be kept for a new distillation.
Note that if this water be used two or three times in the drawing of the oil, it will be an excellent water of that vegetable from which it is distilled, and as good as most that shall be drawn any other way.
After the same manner are made oil of the dry rinds of oranges, citrons, and lemons.
But note that these rinds must be fresh and (the inward whiteness being separated) be bruised.
THE OIL COMMONLY CALLED THE SPIRIT OF ROSES
Take of damask or red roses, being fresh, as many as you please. Infuse them in as much warm water as is sufficient for the space of 24 hours. Then strain and press them and repeat the infusion several times with pressing until the liquor becomes fully impregnated, which then must be distilled in an alembic with a refrigeratory or copper still with a worm. Let the spirit which swims on the water be separated, and the water kept for a new infusion.
This kind of spirit may be made by bruising the roses with salt, or laying a lane of roses and another of salt, and so keeping them half a year or more, which then must be distilled in as much common water or rose water as is sufficient.
OILS ARE MADE OUT OF SEEDS THUS
Take of what seeds you please, bruised, two pounds. Of spring water take twenty pints, let them be macerated for the space of 24 hours, and then be distilled in a copper still with a worm or alembic with its refrigerating. The oil extracted with the water, being separated with a tunnel, keep the water for a new distillation.
This water after three or four distillations is a very excellent water and better than is drawn any way out of that vegetable whereof these are seeds; I mean for virtue though not always for smell.
After the same manner are made oils of spices and aromatical woods.
OILS ARE MADE OUT OF BERRIES THUS
Take of what berries you please, being fresh, 25 pounds. Bruise them and put them into a wooden vessel with 12 pinte of spring water and and a pound of the strongest leaven. Let them be put in a cellar (the vessel being close stopped) for the space of three months. Then let them be distilled in an alembic or copper still with their refrigeratory with as much spring water as is sufficient. After the separation of the oil, let the water be kept for a new distillation. Note that the water being used in two or three distillations is a very excellent water and full of the virtue of the berries.
OIL IS MADE OUT OF ANY SOLID WOOD THUS
Take of what wood you please, made into gross powder, as much as you will. Let it be put into a retort and distilled in sand. The oil which first distills, as being the thinner and sweeter, must be kept apart which, with rectifying with much water, may yet be made more pleasant. The acid water or spirit which in distilling comes first forth, being separated, which also (being rectified from the phlegm with the heat of a balneum) may be kept for use, being full of the virtue of the wood.
After the same manner are made the oil and spirit of tartar, but thus much note, that both are more pure and pleasant being made out of the crystals than out of the crude tartar.
TO MAKE A MOST EXCELLENT OIL OUT OF ANY WOOD OR GUMS IN A SHORT TIME WITHOUT MUCH COST
Take of what wood you please or gum bruised small. Put it into a vessel fit for it. Then pour on so much of spirit of salt as will cover your matter. Then set it in sand with an alembic. Make the spirit boil so all the oil flies over with a little phlegm, for the spirit of salt by its sharpness frees the oil so that it flies over very easily.
The spirit of salt being rectified may serve again.
TO MAKE VEGETABLES YIELD THEIR OIL EASILY
Distill them, being first bruised, in salt water, for salt frees the oil from its body. Let them first be macerated three or four days in the said water.
OIL OR SPIRIT OF TURPENTINE IS MADE THUS
Take of Venice turpentine as much as you please, and of spring water four times as much. Let them be put into an alembic or copper still with its refrigeratory. Then put fire under it. So there will distill a thin white oil like water, and in the bottom of the vessel will remain a hard gum called Colophonia, which is called boiled turpentine. That white oil may be better and freer from the smell of the fire if it be drawn in balneum with a gourd and glass-head.
Common oil of olive may be distilled after this manner and be made very pleasant and sweet, also most unctious things, as spermaceti, storax liquid, and also many gums.
OIL OF GUMS, RESINS, FAT AND OILY THINGS MAY BE DRAWN THUS
Take of either of these which you please, being melted, a pound, and and mix it with three pounds of the powder of tiles or unslaked lime. Put them into a retort and extract an oil which with plenty of water may be rectified.
Note that the water from whence the oil is separated is of excellent virtue, according to the nature of the matter from whence it is drawn.
OIL OF CAMPHOR IS MADE THUS
Take of camphor sliced thin as much as you please and put it into a double quantity of aqua fortis or spirit of wine. Let the glass, having a narrow neck, be set by the fire or on sand or ashes the space of five or six hours, shaking the glass every half hour, and the camphor will all be dissolved and swim on the aqua fortis or spirit of wine like an oil.
Note that if you separate it, it will all be hard again presently, but not otherwise.
ANOTHER WAY TO MAKE OIL OF CAMPHOR THAT IT SHALL NOT BE REDUCED AGAIN
Take of camphor powdered as much as you please and put it into a glass like a urinal. Put upon it another urinal-glass inverted, the joints being close shut. Sublime it in ashes, inverting those urinals so often until the camphor be turned into an oil. Then circulate it for the space of a month, and it will be so subtle that it will all presently vapor away in the air, if the glass be open.
ANOTHER WAY TO MAKE OIL OF CAMPHOR
Take two ounces of camphor and dissolve it in four ounces of pure oil of olive. Then put them into four pints of fair water and distill them all together in a glass gourd, either in ashes or balneum, and there will distill both water and oil, which separate and keep by itself.
All these kinds of oil of camphor are very good against putrefaction, fits of the mother, passions of the heart, etc. A few drops thereof may be taken in any liquor, or the breast be annointed therewith. Also, the fume thereof may be taken in at the mouth
A TRUE OIL OF SUGAR
Take of the best white sugar candy and imbibe it with the best spirit of wine ten times, after every time drying it again. Then hang it in a white silken bag in a moist cellar over a glass vessel that it may dissolve and drop into it. Evaporate the water in balneum, and in the bottom will the oil remain.
This is very excellent in all distempers of the lungs.
OIL OF AMBER IS MADE THUS
Take of yellow amber one part, of the powder of flints calcined, or the powder of tiles two parts. Mingle them, put them into a retort, and distill them in sand. The oil which is white and clear that first distilled off, keep by itself, continuing the distillation as long as any oil distills off. Then let both oils be rectified apart in a good quantity of water.
The salt of amber, which adheres to the neck of the retort withinside, being gathered, let be purified by solution, filtration, and coagulation according to art, and kept for use.
After this manner may be made oils out of any gums which may be powdered.
OIL OF MYRRH IS MADE THUS
Take of myrrh bruised or bay-salt, of each six pounds. Let them be dissolved in sixty pints of spring water and be distilled in an alembic or copper still according to art.
OIL OF MYRRH PER DELIQUIUM OR BY DISSOLUTION IS MADE THUS
Take hen eggs hard boiled and cut in the middle lengthways. Take out the yolks, then fill up the hollow half way with powder of myrrh, and join the parts together again, binding them with a thread. Set them upon a grate between two platters in a cold moist place, so the liquor of the myrrh dissolved will distill into the lower platter.
OIL OF TARTAR PER DELIQUIUM, BY DISSOLUTION
Take of the best tartar calcined white according to art. Put it into a cotton bag, and hang it in the cellar or some moist place, putting under it a receiver.
OILS OF EXPRESSION ARE MADE THUS
Take of what things you please, such as will afford an oil by expression. Bruise them, then put them into a bag, and press them strongly, putting a vessel under to receive the oil.
Note that they must stand in the press some hours, because the oil drops by little and little.
Note also that if you warm them before you put them into the press, they will yield more oil, but then it will not keep so long as otherwise.
After this manner are made oils of nutmegs, mace, almonds, linseed, and such like.
A VOMITING & PURGING OIL MADE BY EXPRESSION
Take of the berries of ebulus or dwarf elder, as many as you please. Let them be dried but not over much. Then bruise them, and in bruising them, moisten them with the best spirit of wine until they begin to be oily. Then warm them by the fire, and press forth the oil, and set it in the sun putrefied.
Ten drops of this oil taken inwardly works upward and downward, and is very good against the dropsy and all waterish diseases.
The belly being therewith anointed is made thereby soluble.
Any part that is much pained with the gout or any such grief is presently eased by being anointed with this oil.
OIL OF JASMINE IS MADE THUS
Take of flowers of jasmine as many as you please, and put them into as much sweet mature oil as you please. Put them into a glass close stopped, and set them into the sun to be infused for the space of 20 days. Then take them out and strain the oil from the flowers and, if you would have the oil yet stronger, put in new flowers and do as before.
This is a pleasant perfume and being mixed with oils and ointments gives them a grateful smell. It is also used in the perfuming of leather.
After this manner may be made oil of any flowers. But because I shall keep myself to the art of distillation only, I shall not so far digress as to speak of these kinds of oils, only I thought it good to set down the oil of jasmine because by reason of its fragrancy it has some analogy with chemical oils that are made by distillation.
TO MAKE ANY OIL OR WATER PER DESCENSUM
Take an earthen gourd and fill it full with wood or herbs, or what you please, being cut small. Then invert it, set it in a furnace, and lute it well "hereunto. Then set another gourd of earth under it with a wider mouth that the uppermost may go into it. Before you put the one into the other, you must have a little vessel or instrument of tin with brims around about on the top, by which it must hang into the lower gourd, the body thereof being two or three inches deep and full of holes, so that the oil or water may drop through and not the vegetable itself. Into this instrument, being first set into the lower gourd, put the mouth of the upper gourd. Then make your fire on the top and keep it burning as long as any liquor will drop.
The figure of the furnace is thus.
A. Signifies the gourd containing the matter to be distilled.
B. The furnace containing the coals, so that they surround the upper gourd.
C. The lower gourd or recipient set upon straw rings.
D. The vessel of tin with holes and brims which must be set in the recipient.
HOW TO MAKE AN OIL AND WATER OUT OF SOOT
This may be distilled per descensum or by retort as thus, viz., take of the best soot (which shines like jet) and fill with it a glass retort coated or earthen retort to the neck. Distill it with a strong fire by degrees into a large receiver, and there will come forth a yellowish spirit with a black oil which you may separate and digest.
HOW TO RECTIFY SPIRITS
You must set them in the sun in glasses well stopped, and half filled, being set in sand to the third part of their height that the water waxing hot by the heat of the sun may separate itself from the phlegm mixed therewith which will be performed in 12 or 15 days. There is another better way to do this which is to distill them again in balneum with a gentle fire, or if you will put them into a retort furnished with its receiver and set them upon crystal or iron bowls, or in an iron mortar directly opposite the beams of the sun, as you may learn by these ensuing signs.
A retort with its receiver standing upon crystal bowls just opposite to the sun beams.
A. Shows the retort.
B. Shows the receiver.
C. The crystal bowls.
Another retort with its receiver standing in a marble or iron mortar directly opposite the sun.
A. Shows the retort.
B. The marble or iron mortar
C. The receiver.
HOW TO RECTIFY ALL STINKING THICK BLACK OILS THAT ARE MADE BY A RETORT AND TO TAKE AWAY THEIR STINK
Take oil of amber, or any such stinking oil, put it into a glass retort, the fourth part only being full, pour on it drop by drop the spirit of salt (or any other acid spirit) and they will boil together. When so much of the spirit is poured on that it boils no more, then cease and distill it. First comes over a stinking water, then a clear white, well smelling oil, and after that a yellow oil which is indifferent good. But the spirit of salt has lost its sharpness. The volatile salt of the oil remains coagulated with the spirit of salt and is black and tastes like sal ammoniac, and has no smell being sublimed from it. Now the reason of all this is, because the volatile salt of the oil, which is the cause of the stink thereof, is fixed by the acid spirit of the salt; for acid spirits and volatile salts are contrary the one to the other, and spirit of urine or any volatile salt will precipitate any metal as well as salt of tartar.
These oils will remain clear and have far more virtue than the ordinary sort of oils have.
As for common ordinary distilled oils, they need not, if they be well separated from the water with which they were distilled, any rectifying at all. If you go about to rectify them, you will lose a good part of them and make that which remains not at all the better. But if there be any better than another for rectifying of them it is by digestion, by which you may separate afterwards, and by this means you shall lose none of the oils. If you have problems understanding these alchemical texts, Adam McLean now provides a study course entitled How to read alchemical texts : a guide for the perplexed.