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The Golden Nail TransmutationThis is an account of transmutation using the golden nail trick, from Otto Tachenius, Hippocrates Chymicus, London, 1677. p113-114.
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On this principle of Precipitation, was the Golden Nail of the great Duke of Florence made; which Ferdinand the first of happy Memory, graced with this Testimony, which is to be seen with the Nail at Florence. "Mr. Leonard Turneisser in my sight and presence, turned an Iron Nail heated in the fire, and immersed in Oyl, into Gold; done at Rome the 20th day of November after Dinner."
Such Nails, I have also, in Sport, sometimes made, with my own hands, but such as deal in Metals the vulgar way, think it altogether impossible that Gold and Iron should Conglutinate; and therefore they firmly believe, that This Nail is really changed out of Iron into Gold, and that which confirms their belief, is, that Gold doth not adhere to Iron; yea Gold melted, corrodes It in a moment, and turns it into Rust [as Common Sulphur doth]. But Gold is connected with Iron, by means of Precipitation, as I have said, on the same reason and ground, for which Iron precipitates Copper: Cut then an Iron Nail into two parts, moisten the end, at least with Spittle, and presently touch that part with Cupreous Vitriol, and in the very punctum, the extremity of the Iron, waxeth red, and hath now acquired the nature of Copper; Now Gold is easily associated to and with Copper; and so fit a cuspe, or point made of Gold to this Cupreous Iron; and with Borax and Golden Solidature or Soder (Gold Glew, which is made of Copper Money, a little Silver and Gold melted at the Eye is better) melt it after the accustomed manner, in a fitting Coal-fire, and then you shall have the Golden Nail so much spoken of. Turneisser tinged this Nail with Ferrugo [Iron rust], wherewith he hid the Gold, and so (without doubt offered it to that great Prince, to handle with his hands, which being so disguised, the Skilfullest person, that is, would have judged to be Iron. And then heating it be the fire, and dipping it in a certain Oyl (as the Testimonial says) and washing away the Ferrugo, the Gold appeared. This was the Artifice, if it be worthy of that name.