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Date: Tue, 23 Sep 199
From: Greg

Its been some time since I've posted the group but I have been watching
the thread on acetone (which interests me very much) and have a few
questions.

Beat posted some very interesting comments 26 Aug, one of which I would
like to know more about:

>If one takes sodium acetate or potassium acetate ...

Whats the difference? Or should I say, from what substances (or groups
of) do these different acetates originate? I am aware (I hope I have it
right) that Sodium=metallic and potassium=vegetable. If sodium is
connected with the acetate derived from metallic bodies I understand
this well enough. But what of Potassium acetate?

I have also managed to produce P.acetone through the Kermes method (i.e.
extraction of as ore with a strong lye which is neutralized with an acid
to precipitate the salt). I am interested if anyone else has worked in
this way because I notice from experience that there are some very
practical benefits from working through the lye which straight acetate
does not seem to provide. I refer specifically to the rectification (and
decomposition of crude P.acetone.

One of the things I have found most interesting about this discussion on
acetone is that I have worked with it for a couple of years now and was
quite aware (of course) that the crude product smelled like acetone but
when I questioned my mentor on the matter there seemed to be a lake of
understanding. My next question, then, is: what is the relationship
between philosophic (crude or rectified) and chemical acetone? Are they
one and the same thing (i.e. they derive from the same group of
substances and are produced in a similar fashion), the only difference
being that one is philosophically manipulated that the mundane is not? I
dont know anything, much, about the 'chemical' acetone, but can easly
understand and agree with the description Beat gave, concerning the
alchemical acetate, in the posting I meantioned earlier.

Finally. I remember having a quick look at one of AMORC's book
catalogues about two years ago and noticed that they sell a book on
acetone. I tried to obtain a copy but nevertheless the bookseller was
not at all helpful. Does anyone know about this publication (Author and
general contents) and where I might obtain a copy. Now that I know what
'acetone' points to I am very interested in reading anything I can on
the subject.

Regards

Greg


Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997
From: Raymond P. Cullen


> From: Greg
> >If one takes sodium acetate or potassium acetate ...
>
> Whats the difference? Or should I say, from what substances (or groups
> of) do these different acetates originate? I am aware (I hope I have it
> right) that Sodium=metallic and potassium=vegetable. If sodium is
> connected with the acetate derived from metallic bodies I understand
> this well enough. But what of Potassium acetate?


I just participated in a Philosophers of Nature Seminar in which the dry
distillation of metallic acetates was discussed. We distilled lead
acetate to form acetone along with a number of other organic components.
The lead acetate can be made by mixing acetic acid with a lead
ore(cerussite-lead carbonate, or galena-lead sulphide). The other
metallic acetates can be dry distilled, but according to Jean Dubuis,
they are not alchemically interesting.

Ray


Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997
From: Johann Plattner


Dear Greg,

It seems to be a great difference, whether to prepare acetone out of
potassium acetate or sodium acetate. You are right, when you say, that
potassium (acetate) also has its origin in the world of plants.
There are at least two ways, to get potassium salts from organic (!)
sources.
The first (al)chemical way is, to calcinate the stone of wine
(K-tartrat) in order to make the carbonate, then the dissolution in
acetic acid yields to the acetate.
The second way is similar. You receive the carbonate by digesting the
ash of plants with destilled water. After crystallizing the salt, you
may carry out the treatment with acetic acid to produce the acetate.
To prepare sodium acetate, it is necessary to have a source of matter
containing the sodium cation (Na+). One natural source is soda (sodium
carbonate), which could be found in salt lakes. Though, you have the
mineral source.
I think it is worth to quote Agricola, who wrote about acetone made out
of potassium acetate:

"Saturated solution of acetic potassium is formed to little balls with
the aid of clay; after drying these balls in the air, it is distilled
off out of a retort. It will climb across a strong, but very fine
smelling spirit, white like milk, and depositing all around the
receiving flask, like a volatile salt. After leaving untouched
twentyfour hours, it will dissolve into a beauty yellow clear oil."

It should always be noted, not to confuse chemically produced acetone,
with crude aceton made out of acetates.

Best wishes
Johann Plattner


Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997
From: Greg

Thanks Raymond

You said...

>I just participated in a Philosophers of Nature Seminar in which the
>dry distillation of metallic acetates was discussed. We distilled lead
>acetate to form acetone . . .

I am quite familiar with this process. I have worked with both Galena
and Iron sulphide (iron the most).

> . . . along with a number of other organic components.

I dont understand this remark.

>The other metallic acetates can be dry distilled, but according to
>Jean Dubuis, they are not alchemically interesting.

But, of course, 2 thousand years worth of alchemists and alchemical
experiments might not agree with him.

No clues as to the meaning of potassium acetate anyone?


Regards

Greg


Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997
From: Raymond P. Cullen

>Greg wrote:
> >I just participated in a Philosophers of Nature Seminar in which the
> >dry distillation of metallic acetates was discussed. We distilled lead
> >acetate to form acetone . . .
> I am quite familiar with this process. I have worked with both Galena
> and Iron sulphide (iron the most).
>
> > . . . along with a number of other organic components.
>
> I dont understand this remark.


One of the handouts at the PON seminar was the previously unpublished
paper by Robert Allen Bartlett, "The Thermal Decomposition of Metal
Acetates". In it Bartlett describes the use of a GC-MS to identify
distilled components. Actually, in his report, the lead acetate had the
least number of identified components, 9. Our experiment did not agree
with his reported distillation vapor temperature vs. time plots exactly.
This indicates that the pyrolytic products generated depend on several
factors. Since he reported only one run of each metal and we did only
one(one other run was made, but no vapor temperature was measured) we
could not identify the relevant factors. We used three condensers in
series giving about 5 feet at a temperature of 0 degees C. Some of the
components required the whole length to condense. I am sure that we lost
some.

> >The other metallic acetates can be dry distilled, but according to
> >Jean Dubuis, they are not alchemically interesting.

> But, of course, 2 thousand years worth of alchemists and alchemical
> experiments might not agree with him.

I'm sorry. I took this statement out of context. He was referring to the
production of the white stone. He said the other metallic acetates were
not useful for preparing the white stone. They are useful for other
purposes, however.

> No clues as to the meaning of potassium acetate anyone?

Bartlett said that he had foaming problems with potassium acetate, which
caused a premature ending of that experiment. He did list 13 components
of the petroleum ether soluble fraction. He said that he will try
another experiment using the literature method of saturating pieces of
brick, dying and then distilling.

Ray


Date: Sat, 27 Sep 1997
From: Greg

To Johann Plattner,

Thanks very much for the info' on pottassium acetate. I figured that
it was something like that. Only one question remains, if you don't
mind. What use is the acetate of potassium put to alchemically?

Regards

Greg


Date: Sun, 28 Sep 1997
From: Greg


Raymond wrote:

> I'm sorry. I took this statement out of context. He was referring to the
> production of the white stone. He said the other metallic acetates were
> not useful for preparing the white stone. They are useful for other
> purposes, however.

I take it from the above remark that he, (Mr.Dubuis), has tried
repeatedly to produce the white stone from the other metals often enough
and with a degree of expertise (and not just on an intellectual
calculation) that allows him to make such a statement (which to me seems
a little bold - even in this day and age). Are we then to believe that
those artists from classic times who stated that transmuting stones of
lesser power could be made from some, if not all, of the other metals
were lying or speaking without real knowledge gained from experience?
Please excuse my questioning, but this is important I think. If Mr.
Dubuis can speak with such authority on such a subject as this then his
experience is valuable indeed.

Regards
Greg


Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997
From: Beat Krummenacher


Greg asked:

>Whats the difference? Or should I say, from what substances
>(or groups of) do these different acetates originate? I am aware
>(I hope I have it right) that Sodium=metallic and potassium=vegetable.
>If sodium is connected with the acetate derived from metallic
>bodies I understand this well enough. But what of Potassium acetate?

The identification of sodium with metallic and potassium with vegetable
only is partially right. Potassium can be considered as the most important
cation of the vegetable kingdom. Accordingly sodium is the most important
metal cation of the animal kingdom, but not of the metallic kingdom. The
metallic main cation is the metal cation, which lies concealed in the
so-called lead of the philosophers...

I have pointed to the meaning of the byproducts regarding the dry
distillation of acetates. The yield of the so-called oils of acetone puts
on weight with the basicity of the metal cation. Because potassium and
sodium are much more basic than for instance iron or lead, one gets
essentially more oil of acetone from this acetates. Potassium acetate gives
the higher yield, but sodium acetate also delivers much oil.

>My next question, then, is: what is the relationship between
>philosophic (crude or rectified) and chemical acetone?

In reference to the highly rectified acetone there is hardly a difference.
Because acetone owns a very low boiling point and forms only with few
substances an azeotrope, it can be gained in a very high purity by means of
fractional distillation. If one rectifies thus the raw philosophical wine
and compares the product to pure chemical acetone, so one hardly will be
able to ascertain a difference.

However not only the acetone as one of the main constituents of the raw
philosophical wine is important for the alchemical practice. Likewise the
byproducts - above all the yellow oil - play an important role. The present
preparation of chemical acetone doesn't use the dry distillation of
acetates. Today acetone predominantly is gained by catalytic decomposition
of acetic acid. There fully other byproducts emerge comparing the formerly
usual preparation. Thus raw philosophical acetone is not replaceable or
comparable to chemical acetone.

Lapis


Date: Thu, 02 Oct 1997
From: Greg

Beat Krummenacher wrote:
>
> Greg asked:
>
> >Whats the difference? Or should I say, from what substances
> >(or groups of) do these different acetates originate? I am aware
> >(I hope I have it right) that Sodium=metallic and potassium=vegetable.
> >If sodium is connected with the acetate derived from metallic
> >bodies I understand this well enough. But what of Potassium acetate?
>
> The identification of sodium with metallic and potassium with vegetable
> only is partially right. Potassium can be considered as the most important
> cation of the vegetable kingdom. Accordingly sodium is the most important
> metal cation of the animal kingdom, but not of the metallic kingdom.

Fool is me. Yes, of course. Thanks.


> The metallic main cation is the metal cation, which lies concealed
> in the so-called lead of the philosophers...

Yes I am familiar with this.

> I have pointed to the meaning of the byproducts regarding the dry
> distillation of acetates.

This I understand too.

> The yield of the so-called oils of acetone puts
> on weight with the basicity of the metal cation. Because potassium and
> sodium are much more basic than for instance iron or lead, one gets
> essentially more oil of acetone from this acetates. Potassium acetate gives
> the higher yield, but sodium acetate also delivers much oil.

Interesting . . .

> >My next question, then, is: what is the relationship between
> >philosophic (crude or rectified) and chemical acetone?

> In reference to the highly rectified acetone there is hardly a difference.
> Because acetone owns a very low boiling point and forms only with few
> substances an azeotrope, it can be gained in a very high purity by means of
> fractional distillation. If one rectifies thus the raw philosophical wine
> and compares the product to pure chemical acetone, so one hardly will be
> able to ascertain a difference.

Very interesting . . .

> However not only the acetone as one of the main constituents of the raw
> philosophical wine is important for the alchemical practice. Likewise the
> byproducts - above all the yellow oil - play an important role.

Yes I understand this . . .

> The present
> preparation of chemical acetone doesn't use the dry distillation of
> acetates. Today acetone predominantly is gained by catalytic decomposition
> of acetic acid. There fully other byproducts emerge comparing the formerly
> usual preparation. Thus raw philosophical acetone is not replaceable or
> comparable to chemical acetone.

I see. Much thanks again. Just what I wanted to hear Beat.

Do I dare press you with one more question?

Is it a done thing to experiment with potassium and sodium acetates
along the same lines as the wine of the Sages got from Old Saturn, with
the hope of attaining the same outcome? . . . or possibly some similar
outcome?

Regards

Greg


Date: Fri, 3 Oct 1997
From: Beat Krummenacher

Greg asked:

>Is it a done thing to experiment with potassium and sodium
>acetates along the same lines as the wine of the Sages got from
>Old Saturn, with the hope of attaining the same outcome? . . .
> or possibly some similar outcome?

That completely depends on the purpose of the experiments you are pursuing.
If you would like to manufacture only acetone - for instance for the
extraction of metallic tinctures - so the philosophical wine can also be
manufactured from potassium or sodium acetate. After the rectification a
difference hardly is to be ascertained to the acetone from the Old Saturn.
If you would like to focuse however on the byproducts, so the philosophical
materia remota can not be replaced by the acetates of the alkali metals.
For the formation of the byproducts is catalytically influenced by the
presence of metal cations. The spectrum of the obtainable chemical
compounds depends on the choice of the metal.

But the procedure remains the same with the most acetates. The differences
emerge in the optimal decomposition temperature, the stability of the
acetate etc.. For instance it is not possible to manufacture an acetate
from antimony with vinegar. Furthermore antimony acetate is unstable and
decays in the presence of remnants of water. Regarding lead there likewise
are differences, since beside the real lead acetate also so-called basic
acetates exist their decomposition yielding a different spectrum of
products.

In each concrete case one must examine experimentally, whether a substitute
is practicable or not.

Lapis


Date: Sun, 05 Oct 1997
From: Parush


Beat Krummenacher wrote,

> Greg asked:
> >Is it a done thing to experiment with potassium and sodium
> >acetates along the same lines as the wine of the Sages got from
> >Old Saturn, with the hope of attaining the same outcome? . . .

> That completely depends on the purpose of the experiments you are pursuing.

Acetone (Phil'Merc') and oil (Phil'Sulp') for the use in experimenting
with the production stones. I need to know more about the 'conjunctio'
process so this means lots of experimenting with different approaches to
'separation', 'purification' and final incubation temperatures in order
to see how differing the two initial stages will effect the last
process.

> If you would like to manufacture only acetone - for instance for the
> extraction of metallic tinctures - so the philosophical wine can also be
> manufactured from potassium or sodium acetate.

Thats helpful.

> After the rectification a
> difference hardly is to be ascertained to the acetone from the Old Saturn.

I shall have to get to work and see for myself. Thank you.

> If you would like to focus however on the byproducts, so the philosophical
> materia remota can not be replaced by the acetates of the alkali metals.
> For the formation of the byproducts is catalytically influenced by the
> presence of metal cations. The spectrum of the obtainable chemical
> compounds depends on the choice of the metal.

This is loosing me a little. Cations: my scientific dictionary states
that these are ions in an electrolyte which carry a positive charge and
migrate towards the cathode. I don't understand the connection, my
chemistry is rusty. By byproducts I take it you refer to Phil'Sulp' and
the (sometimes) small amount of Sal that sublimates? ... and that the
qualities inherent in any Met'Sulp'and Sal vary according to the metal
worked with?

> But the procedure remains the same with the most acetates. The differences
> emerge in the optimal decomposition temperature, the stability of the
> acetate etc.. For instance it is not possible to manufacture an acetate
> from antimony with vinegar.

(???)I think I have done work on this back somewhere. I will have to
check my notes.

> Furthermore antimony acetate is unstable and
> decays in the presence of remnants of water. Regarding lead there likewise
> are differences, since beside the real lead acetate also so-called basic
> acetates exist...

depending on what type of lead is used? Youv'e lost me (intentionally I
guess?)

> ...their decomposition yielding a different spectrum of
> products...
> In each concrete case one must examine experimentally, whether a substitute
> is practicable or not.

My concern at this point is just finding readily accessible ores to
experiment in various works with. In my country it is difficult to buy
native ores in workable condition. So we have to look within very narrow
limits for materials to gain experience with before looking overseas for
the 'real thing' because the cost is so high. We have a huge ready
supply of native iron sand, but of course iron is a little strange
compared to working with other ores so I am told. I does provide a
platform for gaining experience though.

Once again you are a great help

Regards

Greg.


Date: Sun, 5 Oct 97
From: Carlos Sorentino


Greg asked:

"This is loosing me a little. Cations: my scientific dictionary states that
these are ions in an electrolyte which carry a positive charge and migrate
towards the cathode. I don't understand the connection, my chemistry is rusty"

An "ion" is an electrically charged atom. Elements can either lose or win
electrons from its outer shell. Those elements that lose electrons acquire a
positive electrical charge, hence the name "cations". The ones that win
electrons become negatively charged and are known as "anions"

For example:

Na (metallic) --------------> Na(+) + e(-)

All metals ionize as cations, in other words, the property of being a "metal"
is synonymous with a "cation" (the reverse is not always true as there are
cations which are not metallic).

"By byproducts I take it you refer to Phil'Sulp' and the (sometimes) small
amount of Sal that sublimates? ... and that the qualities inherent in any
Met'Sulp'and Sal vary according to the metal worked with?"

Yes, that would have been Beat Krummenacher's meaning

Best Regards


Date: Sat, 22 Feb 1997 10:31:56 -0500
From: Raymond P. Cullen

While reading "The Making of the Atomic Bomb", by Richard Rhodes, I came
across a reference to the making of acetone, butyl alcohol and ethyl
alcohol in a 3:6:1 ratio utilizing the bacillus, Clostridium
acetobutylicum Weizmann, an anerobic organism that decomposes starch.
This process was used in 1915 to make acetone for the production of
cordite.

Does anyone have experience, that they will relate, in the use of this
or other bacilli to produce alchemically interesting products?

Ray


From: Landon Montgomery
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 97 20:31:03 PST


In response to the last mailing that I received, no, I do not have any experience with any of those chemicals. I do have a chemical equivilancy list for those of you who would like to have it. If it is permissable, I might send it through an email to you all, but I am not sure if it is permissible because of screening and main rules. I have a web site at "http://www.angelfire.com/in/montesque" if any of you would like to email me personally for this information. I do have questions though about the practicallity, and interests, and the application of alchemy in the modern world. If anyone would like to clarify any of the things listed... let me know.

Landon


Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997
From: Johann Plattner

Which role does acetone play as a solvent in mineral / metallic alchemy?

I was very confused when I`ve read the works of Dr. A. Becker (Spiritus
Vini Lulliani), Alexander v. Bernus (who ref. to Dr. A. Becker) and at
the end Frater Albertus.

Frater Albertus answered a question (Quinta Essentia) referring to
Philosophic Mercury, that aceton is a precursor to Philosophic
Mercury. Sometimes it is said the base material are acetates of
certain metalls, then it is said you only need FeS (Fr. Albertus)
and nothing else etc. etc. etc.

Is anyone in the group able to clear this controversal discussion about
acetone ?

Johann Plattner


Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997


>From: Johann Plattner

>Which role does acetone play as a solvent in mineral / metallic alchemy?

As a solvent it plays not so much of a leading role. The role played by
philosophically produced acetates is a very interesting chapter in
alchemical research for the P.STONE. I can post several pieces to modern
research that comes from alchemists in recent times that will perhaps
satisfy the questions you're asking here. Acetate research followed by
Newton, Le Sieur De La Violette, Cockren, and probably Von Bernus etc...see
below;


>I was very confused when I`ve read the works of Dr. A. Becker (Spiritus
>Vini Lulliani), Alexander v. Bernus (who ref. to Dr. A. Becker) and at
>the end Frater Albertus.
>
>Frater Albertus answered a question (Quinta Essentia) referring to
>Philosophic Mercury, that aceton is a precursor to Philosophic
>Mercury. Sometimes it is said the base material are acetates of
>certain metalls, then it is said you only need FeS (Fr. Albertus)
>and nothing else etc. etc. etc.
>
>Is anyone in the group able to clear this controversial discussion about
>acetone ?

Some theoretical keys regarding acetate path: developed from Jean Dubuis'
former LPN-France methods.

In a few words: The vegetable life settles in nature on carbon, which is a 4
electrons external layer element. The Mendeleiev's Table of elements shows
that these are:

Silicon Germanium Tin Lead

The transfer substance being acetic acid, it eliminates the first 3 because
the silicon, germanium and tin acetates decompose in water. Lead remains. In
these fields, the antimony acetate work is special, because it is impossible
to fix the vegetable life in antimony, since antimony has 5 external
electrons.
So there are 2 different ways for the acetates, one for lead, and
another for antimony. For the following acetate work keep these things in
mind:

Acetic acid (store bought) =Dead Acid
Distilled vinegar = Living Acetic Acid

Use lead: Galena or cerrusite. Use Antimony: powder, scrap according to
Flamel. Galena, lead sulfide, cannot be processed by distilled vinegar, it
must be transformed in oxysulfide by a long and painful calcination.
Cerrusite, lead carbonate, gives immediately the acetate.

Nota Bene: Experiments have shown us that the acetates could not lead to the
RED STONE. According to us (LPN-FRANCE), vegetable energy (life) cannot
initiate the metal in other levels than Yetsirah= WHITE STONE.

The red oils of acetates, either from Antimony or from Lead have the same
properties. But up to now, we believe that the best way consists in
animating lead through his richest oxide, minium, with the red oil of
Antimony that contains both a vegetable life (energy) fixed by distilled
vinegar and a metallic life fixed by antimony. If transfers have been
properly done we will then have 2 ways to proceed.

Imbibition of minium till saturation by red oil.
Up to now we think that in this case the sulfur to salt link is done without
the mercury obtained through the dry distillation, probably because the red
oils (meta acetone) are both sulfur and a bit of mercury. Once the minium is
imbibed, we can:
1.Either awaken the vegetable energy, 2. or extract the vegetable life and
awaken the fixed life of Antimony. In order to awaken vegetable life place
in incubator at 39-40 deg. C. This is an easy solution but very long. Up to
now we don't believe the incubator time to be less than 2 yrs. For the
metallic life, the temperature steps are shorter and the crucible cares are
detailed in the courses. Takes about 6 months.
Up to now we say:
WHITE WORK: cannot be multiplied
WHITE WORK: cannot be improved to RED

I have here given some general rules to follow for the acetate work for
obtaining the White Stone from Lead. I will develop this theme further in
greater detail in future postings on this subject.

Anthony


From: Adrian Monk
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 1997


>From: Johann Plattner
>Which role does acetone play as a solvent in mineral / metallic alchemy?
>I was very confused when I`ve read the works of Dr. A. Becker (Spiritus
>Vini Lulliani), Alexander v. Bernus (who ref. to Dr. A. Becker) and at
>the end Frater Albertus.

This is a question which has preoccupied me, too, for many years.
Unfortunately I do not have the answer. But apart from the Acetone per
se, do you know the reference in von Bernus' "Alchemie und Heilkunst"
where on p. 205 is written: "Nur bei Pott >Exerc.chym.Berlini 1738,
p.21< finde ich ihn [den Spiritus Vinii] mit den Worten beschrieben:
>Es gibt ein oeliges Menstruum, was noch keinen Namen hat und von
keinem Chemiker offenbart worden ist......< ? I have searched the
British Museum library but without success. Pott is there, but not
this particular work. One day I hope to go back to Berlin to have a
look....

And the other question, as posed by von Bernus in the same work, is:
"Das Geheime Feuer -- was ist es?" A good question, indeed! In fact,
probably the key.

Adrian Monk


From : Adam McLean
Date : 19th August 1997

Dear Adrian,

>Pott, Exerc.chym.Berlini 1738, p.21
>" finde ich ihn [den Spiritus Vinii] mit den Worten beschrieben:
>Es gibt ein oeliges Menstruum, was noch keinen Namen hat und von
>keinem Chemiker offenbart worden ist...... "?

>I have searched the British Museum library but without success.
>Pott is there, but not this particular work. One day I hope to go back
>to Berlin to have a look....


This book by

Johann Heinrich POTT, Exercitationes chymicę de sulphuribus metallorum, de auripigmento, de solutione corporum particulari, de terra foliata tartari, de acido vitrioli vinoso et de acido nitri vonoso. Sparsim hactenus editę, jam vero collectę... variisque notis, experimentis et discussionibus ab autore adauctę. illustratę. Berolini: J.A. Rüdiger, 1738,

is in the British Library catalogue. There are also copies in the Ferguson collection at Glasgow University Library and in the University of Wisconsin.

No need to go on a wild goose chase for the book to Berlin. You can order a microfilm from any of these libraries.

Adam McLean


Date: Tue, 19 Aug 1997
From: George Leake

>>I have searched the British Museum library but without success.
>>Pott is there, but not this particular work. One day I hope to go back
>>to Berlin to have a look....
>
>Johann Heinrich POTT, Exercitationes chymicę de sulphuribus metallorum, de
>auripigmento, de solutione corporum particulari, de terra foliata tartari,
>de acido vitrioli vinoso et de acido nitri vonoso. Sparsim hactenus editę,
>jam vero collectę... variisque notis, experimentis et discussionibus ab
>autore adauctę. illustratę. Berolini: J.A. Rüdiger, 1738,
>
>is in the British Library catalogue. There are also copies in the Ferguson
>collection at Glasgow University Library and in the University of Wisconsin.

We also have a microform of this work at Uuniversity of Texas. I would imagine
other major libraries around the country do too


George Leake


Date: Tue, 26 Aug 1997
From: Beat Krummenacher

Johann Plattner asked:

>Which role does acetone play as a solvent in mineral / metallic alchemy?
(18.8.97)

Some answers to this theme have appeared in the forum by now.
To it I would like to add some completions.

Acetone can be marked as the 'spirit of philosophical wine'. Indeed one
must consider, that there are two such 'spirits of philosophical wine'. The
one is acetone, the other a yellow oil, which is practically immiscible
with water. Frater Albertus long time believed acetone be the philosophical
mercury. However this is in so far inaccurate, as acetone alone is not the
philosophical mercury. Only afterwards Albertus realized, that acetone is
an initial stage to the philosophical mercury (precursor). Namely the
problem essentially is more complicated in fact.

The way to the formation of acetone always goes via the preparation of
acetates. If Frater Albertus said among other things, iron sulphide suffice
for the whole work, so he wanted to maintain, that from this mineral
acetone can be prepared. But the restriction on iron is not necessary.
Also other metals suit for the work.

Acetates of different metals form during the dry distillation a distillate,
which contains according to the basicity of the metal cation more or less
oily components beside the acetone. Certain metallic acetates decompose
without formation of acetone and byproducts into their original components,
so for instance copper acetate. Thus copper can be used for the
fortification of diluted acetic acid, because the dried copper acetate
develops during the dry distillation again copper, copper oxide and
concentrated acetic acid. Nickel acetate behaves similarly to copper
acetate.

If one takes sodium acetate or potassium acetate, so one gets a very oily
product. One receives more aromatic products with iron acetate or lead
acetate. I would not like to comment more in details at this point. Also
the chemical structure of the different reaction products should not be
discussed here. But I would like to still point to another important topic:


The dry distillate from a suitable metallic acetate always exists of a
complex mixture of different chemical compounds. This raw product was
marked as aqua ardens, chaos, philosophical wine etc. by the alchemists.
The distillation of the philosophical wine leads to a volatile spirit, the
'spirit of philosophical wine', which predominantly is acetone. Beside that
further fractions can be isolated, in them the philosophical sulphur is
contained among other things. Certain metals deliver even a volatile salt.
The 'lead of the philosophers' forms such a salt, while the ordinary lead
does not deliver a volatile salt in a considerable quantity.

The most modern alchemists, who have followed the wet or acetate pathway,
have manufactured the philosophical wine, and they have isolated the spirit
of philosophical wine. Unfortunately they usually have not considered, that
in the philosophical wine further substances are concealed, which are even
more important than the spirit of philosophical wine itself. These
byproducts are important in some respect, because no success is to be
reached on the wet way without their help. Therefore perhaps the most have
stopped there, where the real work begins.

Lapis