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Karl
03-14-2013, 11:05 AM
I was going through Johan Isaac Hollandus The Hand of the Philosophers With Its Secret Signs and it occurred to me for the first time that his recipe for saltpetre was not potassium nitrate but calcium nitrate:


The Preparation of Saltpetre
Take living chalk (quicklime), according to the quantity of the substance. Pour on it a good amount of urine. Let the lime slake in it; after it is slaked, let it settle, and pour it off above. If there are 6 lb of saltpeter, take 12 lb or pints of pure urine, even a little more, but not less. Put it all together into a clean kettle. Boil it and skim it with an iron spoon. Put the latter occasionally into the Liquor and squirt it into the fire. If it burns, or the coal becomes ignited by it, it is enough: Take it off and let it cool somewhat. Now pour it into a large linen sack, like a claret sack. This sack has to hang above a barrel, 5 feet above. Soon there sprout cones in the water, one above the other, as if it were crystal. Take these out --- it is the purified saltpeter. Now take the other saltpeter which did not sprout into cones. Fish it out and put it into the urine. Let it boil again as before and pour it also through the sack. It will immediately crystallize into long streaks, like the first. What stays behind is good for nothing; it is only salt which can be coagulated, and then it is common saltpeter.

Probably a minor point but I thought I'd mention it in case I am missing something.

thoth
03-14-2013, 11:53 AM
You might be interested in the celestial agriculture thread, which is very good anyway, but the Hand of Philosophers is mentiioned there also, P39 and i think earlier as well

http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?2451-The-Celestial-Agriculture/page39

Karl
03-14-2013, 01:38 PM
Thank you thoth. That thread is epic- I'm going to print it out. Anyone know why rogerc was banned? I have been out of the loop- I want to catch up on the gossip.

thoth
03-14-2013, 09:37 PM
Yea I think that is one of the most illuminating threads on the forum, along with Spiritus Mundi.

Over the past week I have been reading it for the second time - in advance of the Spring, and the stellar shower from above - am planning a few experiments for the spring - dont want to miss the boat for another year.

Well near the end Roger did come on a little strong to some members, and so was banned. He did contribute a huge amount.

ghetto alchemist
04-03-2013, 10:24 AM
See this thread here (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?2851-Departure) for the reason why leoretilus / rogerc is no longer here. It was one of my favourite threads on this forum, and I have always felt sad that it was closed so quickly. Check it out, it´s a great read.

Still, I will always remember his final rant, far more interesting and entertaining than most of the stuff he published. I often picture him looking at me and calling me a ¨godless, immoral, drug using wraith¨, always brings a smile to my face.

I will also always remember his bizarre rant about himself being a master and having apprentices. That one also makes me smile :D

Good to see you back in the loop Karl, please post some pics of your current equipment sometime.
You must have made some new stuff by now, and I always love looking at distillation porn.

Regards
G Alchemist

Karl
04-06-2013, 09:02 PM
See this thread here (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?2851-Departure) for the reason why leoretilus / rogerc is no longer here. It was one of my favourite threads on this forum, and I have always felt sad that it was closed so quickly. Check it out, it´s a great read.

Still, I will always remember his final rant, far more interesting and entertaining than most of the stuff he published. I often picture him looking at me and calling me a ¨godless, immoral, drug using wraith¨, always brings a smile to my face.

I will also always remember his bizarre rant about himself being a master and having apprentices. That one also makes me smile :D

Good to see you back in the loop Karl, please post some pics of your current equipment sometime.
You must have made some new stuff by now, and I always love looking at distillation porn.

Regards
G Alchemist

Hi G-

Well, that thread explains it. Wow.

Thank you for the welcome back. I will post some photos- I've been focusing on the mineral kingdom for the past year. Did a journey into Northern Ontario to an area called Cobalt- historically one of the highest concentrations of silver in the world. Found some silver ore, camped on a remote lake called Anima during the full moon, was attacked by a swarm of bees and run off the road by a logging truck. Really fun journey. Amassed a collection of the ores of the seven planetary metals. Smelted copper. Been harvesting clay directly and firing in an open fire. Did glass blowing. Built a few furnaces. Gave a workshop on plant based dyes and inks. Did a meandering side root and took up plant fibre experiments - learned to spin linen on a spinning wheel. Been digging into the wonders of lime for many different things. I think those are the highlights. More interesting story with pictures though.

Eshai
06-02-2014, 04:30 PM
I was going through Johan Isaac Hollandus The Hand of the Philosophers With Its Secret Signs and it occurred to me for the first time that his recipe for saltpetre was not potassium nitrate but calcium nitrate:

Unless the linen sack he mentioned had been bleached and contained potash (in some cases, linen was bleached using plant ashes). His description would then correspond to the French/Swiss methods of forming potassium nitrate through a potash filter. I have been trying to figure out what he might have meant by "claret sack." Might he have simply meant sack that is red in color, or perhaps the word "claret" was something specific of the time: such as a person's name, or maybe a company? Any thoughts on this?

black
06-03-2014, 01:59 AM
Hi Eshai

Google: sack wine. Wiki will tell you about it.

Eshai
06-03-2014, 11:57 AM
Thanks, black.

I see. He was referring to the method of using the sack as a filter, and did not mean anything specific by the term "claret sack":

"Before “claret” was the nickname for Bordeaux wines, it meant “clear,” “pale” or “light-colored” wine (“claret” being derived from the Latin word for “clear”). This is back in the 14th and 15th centuries, when wines from Bordeaux were actually paler, almost like rosés. In the late Middle Ages, “claret” also referred to a heated wine poured over a bag of spices."
http://www.winespectator.com/drvinny/show/id/46560

And this coincides with the method he described.

The following gives an account of the French method for producing saltpeter, and the crystallization and refining processes described also coincide with Hollandus's description of producing saltpeter. There is also a reference to "mother-liquor," which Hollandus also references, which is apparently the solution in which the crystals form which is recycled to be used again.

http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/lecontesalt/leconte.html

Hollandus makes a distinction between common saltpeter (saltpeter with impurities), and purified saltpeter. Leconte also makes the distinction by describing the refining process, and though he describes it on a large scale (to be done by the state) it seems to be very similar with Hollandus's method for "The Preparation of Saltpetre." It seems as though Hollandus skipped straight to the refining process, so I would bet that his "quicklime/living chalk" already contained a significant amount of nitrates (a portion of which was probably calcium nitrate) and might have already been mostly common saltpeter.

EDIT:

I was thinking about how Hollandus makes a note to hang the bag 5 feet above the water barrel. It is my thought that this was done so that as the liquid dripped from the bag, it was sure to impact the water with enough force to deeply penetrate the water, and "draw out" the droplet so that it would crystallize more rapidly upon its descent. If the liquid was dropped into the water at a lower level, it would not spread out as rapidly, and you might not get the long, needle-like crystals he described.