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Thread: Compendium of Processes about Tartar Salt Volatilization

  1. #1
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    Compendium of Processes about Tartar Salt Volatilization

    Here you can post what you find or experiment about the TARTAR SALT VOLATILIZATION

    Van Helmont :
    "Dissolve Salt of Tartar in warm wine vinegar and set it to digest in a warm place for 40 days. Remove the vinegar and a clear crystalline salt will remain. Dissolve this salt in distilled rainwater and filter several times. Evaporate the water and a clear snow-white salt remains. From this salt distill by water bath a spirit. Once the spirit has been removed, let the salt sit for another month in a sand bath. The salt will sublime and fix itself to the sides of the glass. This is the Volatilized Salt of Tartar."

    Now follows the preparation of the SAL TARTARI VOLATILE

    Von Helmont established the reputation of the high medical power of the volatile alkaline salt; in his description he says (page 377 of the German edition): if impurities are found in the first processes you must add dissolvents; if they persist, however, then you need the volatile alkaline salts which cleanse everything like soap. It is certainly astonishing how much a tartar salt, when volatilised, can do because it cleanses all veins of impurities.
    (On page 1142). When the fire-resistant salts are volatilised, their power becomes similar to that of the great medications. They proceed up to the entry of the fourth digestion process and dissolve all blockage.
    (On page 351). The first one is the alcahest. If that cannot be obtained, then you must learn at last how to volatilize the tartar salt so that you can prepare your solutions with their help.
    (On page 329). The tartar salt (Weinstein salz) can be completely volatile; it rises at times liquid and often like a sublimate. This salt has been proven in tests even though this measure is less known.
    De le Bo Sylvius, in his time the pride of the University of Leyden, and the founder of a new chemical-medical school, also knew the Sal Tartari volatile. The school, however, with its doctrinary exploitation of the consequences of the system, destroyed this reputation again, which should serve as a warning to us not to become the target of the opponents working in the form of Doctor opiatus. The solid tartar salt (Laugen salz), he says on page 850, may be volatilized by cohabitation with a volatile spirit. Such a volatile tartar salt rises and sublimates at medium temperatures. Such a volatile tartar salt (Laugen salz) is only granted to the artists with diligence and patience; not to others who avoid a long working time. Such a salt has great powers.
    Helmont's high regard consisted of an inducing invitation to experiments, which, however, did not give worthwhile results since they were done with ordinary wine spirit and not with the wine spirit of the experts.
    The inventor of that substance is Raymond Lull, and Weidenfeld gives us the method.


    Tartar salt (weinstein) is calcinated for 3 days until it runs white; then it is dissolved in the not yet rectified Spiritus Vini philosophici, heated for 2 hours in the ash-bath, and the solution is drained. The residue is again calcined, repeatedly treated in the manner until it is totally dissolved. The solutions are distilled in the water bath and the distillate is reserved. The residue is placed in the ash-bath for 3 hours to remove the phlegm. Then the reserved water is poured onto the residue distilled. This is repeated until the whole substance turns into an oil.
    Further treatment now follows. On this oil you pour 6 times as much Aqua Vitae rectificata, digest it for several days in "balneo." And distill it at low temperatures in the ash-bath until no more veins appear. As soon as the veins disappear, you take off the collector with the distillate and close it tightly: for now develops the Spiritus animatus, which is extracted at higher temperatures. The residue is ground, digested with four parts Aqua Vitae, and then distilled. Of the residue a small portion is placed on a red hot plate, and if it glows like wax without smoke, it is a sign of success; if that does not occur, the process has to be repeated until that sign happens.

    On this residue your pour 1/4 Spiritus animatus and let it congeal in the "Balneum," after which you evaporate the phlegm, which acts like pure water. Then you add fresh spirit and repeat that until the residue has absorbed all the alcohol, a sign of which is that if you place some of it on a red hot plate, most of it will dissipate in fumes. Now the substance is ready for sublimation, which is done at higher temperatures. The sublimate serves to fortify the Spiritus Vini philosophici.

    We know that the potassium carbonate as such cannot be volatile, which means that the Sal Tartari volatile is no longer a potassium carbonate, but a potash salt treated with Spiritus Vini philosophici, and thus transformed and whose composition remains to be explored.

    Acetone from Potassium (Agricola II. P. 15)
    Saturated potassium acetate liquid is kneaded into balls with pottery clay. These are dried in the air and then distilled from a retort. A strong but very lovely smelling spirit passes over, white as milk, which settles everywhere on the sides of the recipient, like a volatile salt. You let it stand for 24 hours, and it dissolves into a nice, clear, yellow oil.

    Pott (Exercit. Chym. De Terra foliat. Tart. P. 152) mentions that when he rectifies 1 part potassium acetate with 6 parts vinegar 3 times, during the 4th time half the salt has passed over and volatised.
    The Volatilized Salt by Steve kalec (rosemary process)

    150 mil of pure Rosemary oil was cohobated with 30 grams of our purified salts.
    Little by little the salts were added to the oil as the key described by our brother
    Rubellus Petrinus was observed and respected . For more information on this key, see The heating of our oil must be of a slow and gentle simmering level to prevent bumping and splattering into the upper half of the retort. The mixture of our oil and salt produces a dark coffee color in our retort.

    Approximately half way though the distillation our salts start to volatilize and begin to be seen as they deposit in the beak and the upper part of the retort. Nearing the end of the distillation the volatilization greatly increases so that a white vapor can be seen to fly upwards in the retort. The distilled oil is replaced into the retort after cooling and distilled
    again to wash the volatilized salts from the beak into the receptor . This process of simultaneous distilling and washing was repeated three times until satisfaction was had that all the salts have been volatilized. We can see the salts as ice formed, deposited and collected in the inner upper surface of the beak of the retort as a beautiful, bright, clear and crystalline substance.
    In Chemical Secrets, Digby.



    He took but lbj. of Tartar well calcined, and dissolved it in the air, free from the sun, then filtered, and congealed in a glass vessel, then he calcined it as the Dutchman doth (in the next process) to keep it glowing hot for six or eight hours; then dissolved it again in the air, and filtered; congealed, and calcined as before. He repeated this ten times, then dissolved it in distilled vinegar (he used Spanish and French vinegar the whole secret (as he saith) consisteth in well distilling of the vinegar, which must be done in B. M. but it must be so gentle, that you may receive the flegm by it self; and as soon as you perceive that the drops come acid, change the recipient, putting on another, and then distill the spirit with a stronger fire, so that you may tell eight or nine between every drop: Continue distilling until it become like a syrup, then change the recipient again, and distill with a stronger fire until it begin
    to smell of the fire, and that it be almost dry. Rectifie this last and strongest part by it self, and put it to the weaker part, (keeping the flegm by it self for another use) and rectifie it together so often until there remain not the least spot at the bottom of the glass after the distillations, which must be to dryness every time, and every time in a clean retort: This is not a strong spirit of vinegar, nor need it be, but this will do the work. Then take 7 onces. or 8. of your salt of Tartar and dissolve it in as much of the said spirit, or more, as will dissolve it; let it stand, and it will settle some black feces; then filter it, and congeal, and calcine it as before, but not with so strong a fire; it must be scarce red-hot, and one hour will suffice; grind it while it is hot, and dissolve it again in new distilled vinegar as before, let the feces settle, then filter it, congeal and calcine again as before. Repeat this, till~ it leave no feces behind, which will be in seven or eight times, if you have wrought well; then when it is very dry, take , 1 once. of it to make a tryal, put it into a clean glass body, and pour upon it so much high rectified spirit of wine, as will not only moisten it, but that it be very thin; let it stand thus twenty four hours close stopped in a very gentle heat, that it may be but blood-warm; then distill with a gentle fire. If the spirit stays, and the flegm come away, then proceed with the whole parcel; but if not, you must continue the dissolution in distilled vinegar, filtration, coagulation, and calcination, as before, until you find (by trying) that the spirit stayeth with the salt, which it will do in a few times: Then proceed with the rest of the parcel in the same manner as you did with the
    ounce; continue the imbibition and distillation with spirit of wine so often, till the spirit of wine come away as strong as it was put on. Then here lyeth the secret, to sublime it: Dissolve the said salt of Tartar impregnated in the flegm of yo~r distified vinegar, or in a very weak spirit of wine, using no more of the dissolvent than will dissolve it; shake them well together, and it will instantly dissolve all the best and finest part of the salt of Tartar, and leave the course part of it, for that will not so easily dissolve. Pour off the dissolution, and filter it, then put it into a cucurbite, and distill off the flegm off the vinegar, or the weak spirit of wine, and then win the dry spirit, or Aqua sicca ascend like the purest isickles dry that ever you saw; and this is the true volatile salt of Tartar, and spirit of wine, in forma salis, and is the vegetable Menstruum, which will dissolve gold leaf into an Oylish substance in a very gentle heat.

    The Tartar which remaineth in the bottom of this sublimation you must put to that which was left undissolved by the flegin of vinegar, or weak spirit of wine, and proceed to fix more spirit of wine upon that, being first calcined, but not so long, nor with so strong a fire as formerly; and then dissolve it once in the air, and it will leave more feces at this time than at any time before; then filter and congeal, and dissolve it in distilled vinegar as before. And now you shall do more in three times than you did all the times before, for the Tartar is altered in its nature; then proceed with it as before, imbibing with S. V. And thus you may fix as much S. V. as you please, and sublime as many pure and clear crystals as you please.
    —3 —
    Note, That when your spirit of wine is fixed on the Tartar, it will be as sweet as sugar; but when it is separated, as above-said, the Tartar will be of its old Nature, but fit to be impregnated again with much less trouble.


    Take Lees of Wine, (which you may have from the wine-coopers when they have pressed them out for making of vinegar) break them in small pieces, and let them dry; then being very hard and dry, bruise them grosly, and fill an earthen retort with it, or a glass one coated; distill in naked fire, fitting any recipient to it to receive only a sour flegm, which win come over first; as soon as you see any white fumes come over, (among which cometh the volatile salt) change the recipient, putting on another pretty large; lute the junctures well with paste and paper, then increase the fire by degrees, until you see the recipient filled with white fumes; continue the fire in that degree, until those white vapours diminish, anc~hat the recipient beginneth to grow cold: Then augment the fire to the highest degree, to force all over at last; when nothing more cometh over, cease. The distillation will be performed in three or four hours; you will have a whitish liquor, which contained in it the volatile salt, and part thereof will stick to the sides of the recipient, and a reddish foetide Oyl will swim upon the liquor. Pour out all the liquor that is in the recipient, then pour a little warm water in the recipient, and shake it to get out all the volatile salt: Separate the Oyl from the liquor by a glass funnel; then filter the liquor, to free it from all Oyliness: Put this liquor into a matrass with a long neck, to which fit a head and a small recipient; distill in sand with a very gentle heat, and the volatile salt will ascend into the head as white as snow; when you see that a pretty quantity is sublimed, take off the head, and stop the mouth of the matrass, if you have not another head to put on; be as quick as you can to gather the volatile salt that is in the head, and put it into a vial, which stop very close with a glass stopper, for it is very apt to resolve into liquor when it taketh air: Then put the head on again, and continue the sublimation until there sublime no more salt; gather this last salt, and put it to the rest: Then put on the head again, and augment the fire a little, and you shall have a fiery liquor, which is the volatile salt, mUd with some flegm, which makes it come over in a liquid form.

    This salt is much esteemed and recommended to purifie the blood by sweat and by urine. It is the best of all common remedics against hysterical fits and vapours, smelling to it, and taking it inwardly. It is excellent against the palsie, apoplexy, epilepsie, & c. against quartan and tertian agues. It opens all obstructions, and provokes the terms. The volatile spirit hath the same vertue as the salt; it is good for all obstructions, particularly of the spleen, and keeps the body open; it is far beyond the common spirit of Tartar in vertue. The dose is from eight to twenty or thirty drops in some fit vehicle.

    My Works

    "I want to transmute everywhere" ~ The Spirit of Alchemy.

  2. #2
    Can we use store bought chemicals for the tartar salt?
    Should I use potassium carbonate or potassium bitartrate?

  3. #3
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    My opinion is that both can be used. And commercial matters also.

    Other processes, sorry it's in french :

    From Jean Mavéric.

    Pour aider les chercheurs dans cette voie, nous leurs offrons plusieurs procédés, pris parmi
    les meilleurs.

    Faire dissoudre du sel de tartre très blanc dans du vinaigre distillé, filtrer et évaporer
    jusqu'à pellicule, puis y mêler deux fois autant de sable fin et blanc, les réverbérer ensemble
    pendant douze heures dans un vaisseau de terre non vernissé. Redissoudre en vinaigre ce sel
    réverbéré ; filtrer, évaporer, réverbérer et dissoudre tant que le sel de tartre soit blanc comme
    Redissoudre ce sel en vinaigre distillé, le faire évaporer au bain-marié et le dissoudre
    encore jusqu'à ce que le vinaigre devienne acre et piquant.
    Faire doucement sécher ce sel et y ajouter son poids d'esprit de vin, les digérant ensemble ;
    puis, distiller à lente chaleur et remettre de nouvel esprit pour digérera nouveau.
    Continuer ce travail tant que l'esprit de vin sorte aussi fort qu'avant son emploi.
    Faire évaporer doucement et sublimer le sel par feu de degré et le garder en vase clos.

    Arroser du sel de tartre pur avec son esprit jusqu'à complète saturation ; le mettre en un
    matras de verre avec son chapiteau et récipient bien luté et distiller jusqu'à siccité. Extraire le
    peu de sel fixe qui restera dans le matras après la distillation et le calciner en un creuset au feu
    de fusion.
    Remettre ce sel dans le matras et cohober dessus, la liqueur tirée en distillant.
    Distiller à nouveau comme la première fois et répéter cette opération jusqu'à ce que le sel
    fixe ait absorbé tout l'esprit de tartre, ce qui doit arriver à la septième distillation.
    Verser ensuite de l'esprit de vin, rectifier sur le sel ainsi préparé et faire distiller jusqu'à ce
    que le sel fixe ait absorbé tout l'esprit de vin.

    Piler à part sel de tartre et salpêtre de chacun une livre et les mêler ensuite. Mettre le tout
    dans une marmite de fer propre et faire détonner avec un charbon allumé, en agitant la
    matière avec une tige de fer, jusqu'à ce que la couleur rouge disparaisse et que le sel devienne
    très blanc. Pour avoir l'alcali de tartre pur, il faut le faire calciner au four jusqu'à ce qu'il soit
    en une masse blanche; puis, mettre en creuset au four à vent le tartre calciné par le nitre, cidessus
    décrit, jusqu'à ce qu'il fonde, le verser dans un mortier de bronze chauffé et il se
    dissoudra en une masse alcaline bleuâtre qui fond à l'air. Prendre ce sel calciné et le dissoudre
    en eau bouillante en agitant; laisser reposer jusqu'à clarification et que les impuretés restant
    au fond. Verser doucement le clair et faire évaporer jusqu'à sec.
    Pour l'avoir parfaitement pur, il faut prendre la dissolution de l'un des sels avant
    évaporation, et le mêler avec autant de chaux vive claire dans de l'eau et les laisser quinze
    jours fermenter en un vase de grès couvert, verser le clair doucement et évaporer à sec en
    vase propre et l'on aura un sel volatil blanc et pur.
    Le sel volatil ainsi obtenu, il faut le mettre à lente digestion avec l'huile exprimée de la
    plante qu'on aura choisie. Cette digestion doit être longue, selon Helmont, et se doit terminer
    par une longue circulation de manière à volatiliser à nouveau le sel obtenu. Ce sel digéré à
    très douce chaleur avec de l'esprit de vin, lui communique la teinture de la plante et laisse, par
    plusieurs opérations, le sel dépouillé de sa teinture. Cet esprit distillé à lente chaleur, laissera
    la teinture au fond du vaisseau, et ce sera le crasis pur de la plante, qui est un excellent
    remède, quand on désire avoir la teinture séparée du sel.

    Dissoudre une livre de cristaux de vinaigre ou tartre purifié dans cinq livres de vinaigre
    distillé et les digérer ensemble dans un vaisseau de rencontre par quinze jours au bain
    vaporeux. Distiller ensuite par la retorte au sable, jusqu'à siccité, en augmentant le feu sur la
    fin. Calciner à blancheur le résidu et y joindre encore une demi-livre de tartre pur. Mettre ces
    sels calcinés dans une retorte et les distiller en cohobant, tant de fois que l'esprit enlève avec
    soi une grande partie du sel fixe, ce qui arrive à la dixième distillation. Mêler alors cet esprit
    avec le premier obtenu et distiller lentement par trois fois en poussant le feu à la dernière
    rectification le menstrue peut pénétrer les métaux.

    My Works

    "I want to transmute everywhere" ~ The Spirit of Alchemy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    I hope this is not too far off the thread, but Urbigerus describes the volatisation of plant salts which have been philosophically calcined & prepared. This quote is part of his circulatum minor (which is used to extract the 3 essentials from any plant).
    He describes volatising the fixed alkaline salt of a plant using the volatile oil/sulphur, and a resin such as pine balsam

    Aphorism 10 - "...the pores of the salt being very much dilated and opened, it may easily determine itself to any other subject"

    Aphorism 12 - " ...when your imbibations are fully performed, your salt will then be in a convenient readiness to recieve its own spirit, by which it is made volatile, spiritual, transparent, and wonderfully penetrating, entering on a sudden into the pores and particles of every vegtable and separating in a moment their true essence or elements

    Too high a temperature would result in the fixation of the volatile parts of the fixed Salt, instead of its volatisation, so many distils & cohabitations should be done, with temp no hotter than a water bath.

    Also, Libavius described a Circulatum, as "the exaltation of a pure liquor/liquid through a circulating continuos dissoloution and coagulation in the pelican with heat as a source

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urbigerus
    your salt will then be in a convenient readiness to recieve its own spirit
    Interestingly enough, Urbigerus never once mentions what this spirit is, and many have assumed that it may be common SV.

  6. #6
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    Potentially useful for this thread:

    Distillation & Rectification of Vinegar

  7. #7
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    May 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Androgynus View Post
    Interestingly enough, Urbigerus never once mentions what this spirit is, and many have assumed that it may be common SV.
    Manfred Junius seems to suggest , for the circulatum minor (that for say plant kingdom), the spirit /mercury /tears of Diana, is the spirit of the plant generated during fermenatation, and maybe further prepared.

    But yes acetic acid would be a good option too as it is effectively a solvent produced after fermentation, and of course it can also be used in the metalic kingdom as well. From an alchemy point of view Acetic acid does seem to be an important substance with many more interesting properties (such as organic acids) compared to pure ethanol

    According to Bartlett, commercial acetic acid is not desirable as it does not have the same organic compounds

  8. #8
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    Jan 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Androgynus View Post
    Interestingly enough, Urbigerus never once mentions what this spirit is, and many have assumed that it may be common SV.
    We can clearly perceive that the spirit which he mentions at aphorism 12 (third way) is common spiritus vini. Dont confuse it with the tears of Diana, which is used in the first and more universal way of the same author.

  9. #9
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    Aug 2016
    I found another easy process by Joel Langelott from 1672 in his Epistola ad Praecellentissomos Naturae Curiosos de quibusdam in Chymia praetermissis.

    The following translation and reworked modern recipe is from

    I feel free to translate it for you:

    The first step is called "fermentation" of tartar.

    Take potassium bitartrate (crude tartar) and calcinate it until it's black (not until it's white!).
    Then pour 250 ml distilled water on 100g of this black calcined tartar and heat it to 40°C.

    Add spoonfulls of crude tartar to this and you see bubbles. Add more spoons of crude tartar each time the bubbles disappear and stop the process when no more bubbles appear.

    Then distill the mixture very carefully. There is the danger of bumping.

    Slowly heating your sand or oilbath up to 170°C while distilling will give you a milky looking liquid with the pH of 10. Stop if the pH gets neutral.
    Then you can distill this fraction again. To get purer volatile salts only use the first fraction.

    It is said it's possible to make all of the salt volatile. Of course the used crude tartar in former times was taken from wine barells and had quite some impurities (which may or may not play a role too).

    This recipie should give you at least some.

    It's said that Van Helmont praised this salt very much and it was even sucessfully used with cancer. I would be very careful and probably not ingest it.

    The milky liquid is furthermore called a menstruum and was used by Langelott to make the "true Elixir Proprietatis Paracelsi".
    Last edited by Florius Frammel; 10-29-2018 at 10:37 PM.

  10. #10
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    Nice work FF.
    Join me; on a voyage of stupidity, and self discovery:

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