Chemists are right from their point of view of his discipline (and within the limit of their concepts). For alchemists, instead, tartar is presented in four different forms:
- as Tartarus Crudus;
- as Tartarus Depuratus;
- as Tartarus Depuratus Calcinatus;
- as Volatile Tartar.
The apparent confusion is just a matter of terms. Alchemy does not contradict chemistry, but it is on a different level as for the concepts and way of operating. The engineer who builds a hydroelectric power plant is almost concerned to the jump and flow of water and the exploitation of the forces of gravity acting on these, because they will turn the turbines. While the gardener, however, will be interested in the vital forces of water. We must not confuse the categories and different levels. Accordingly, Basil Valentine taught ‘the proper use’ among the fundamentals of alchemy.“
- The solubility of potassium acid tartrate is reduced by the alcohol which arises during the fermentation, thus the salt precipitates as red or raw tartar.
- Coobation: the action of redistilling a liquid on the same material from which it was extracted as the first product of distillation. According to alchemists this process leads to a relaxation of the structure of the material processed in this way.
Now it will be enough putting some order in the nomenclature of Tartari proposed by Junius:
Tartarus Crudus. That’s to say the salt of dextrorotatory tartaric acid formed by the replacement of a hydrogen atom with a potassium. This is potassium bitartrate or potassium hydrogen tartrate, which is dextrorotatory and which can be found at the free state in nature. Alchemists simply called it Tartar, with little or no importance given to the purity of the original matter. We have also seen that the solubility of potassium acid tartrate is reduced by the alcohol which arises during the fermentation, thus the salt precipitates as red or raw tartar.
Tartarus Depuratus. As above mentioned, a treatment with charcoal, clay and heat (classic alchemists propose tiles powder) can ‘purify’ the tartar, which thus becomes Tartarus Depuratus, also called cream of tartar, with not more calcium tartrate inside, in fact, it is composed of about 99% of potassium hydrogen tartrate. The latter is no soluble in alcohol, but in water heated at 100 C. (for example, one may dissolve 1 part of tartrate in 20 parts of water).
Tartarus Depuratus Calcinatus. That’s to say the result obtained by the calcination of Tartarus Depuratus. This substance has already little in common with tartar, it makes a black alkaline substance (the roasting and baking are intended to coagulate and insolubilize the protein nature of impurities).
The latter substance is further transformed with the processes of volatilization. There are several ways to get to the volatile state of tartar, including the coobation process with wine vinegar.
Let’s say frankly: the salt must help itself. The salt should already have within itself the origin of volatilization. Also from the chemical point of view.