A very short and easy Lemery recipe that might be full of alchemical consequences. Raw Tartar of barrels, calcined at coal and deliquescent in a cellar. And rainwater.
Nicolas Lemery uses this recipe to “implement” his Aqua Regia for metallic gold to get dissolved in it. As per se, this salt is already a step above and beyond the common Aqua Regia made out of Ammonium chloride and Saltpetre (1).
We have already treated Salt Armoniac and Saltpetre according to the french chemists (2) and see how these salt did undergo processes more sophisticated than the modern ones we are used to.
In addition, it was not uncommon for a deliquescent stage in a cellar for our labors of Hercules or preparatory works (3). We know that passages of state were a method to “free” Secret Fire” from molecular matter (4) as well as the use of rainwater, a substance that tends to retain Secret Fire from the Sky.
Of course, the process as we read it is not of alchemical relevance, but you could try to repeat this recipe more than a few times to see what happens. We know that reiterated volatilization of salts may bring us to achieve our Mercurius. And the mythic Alcahest is not so far from this concept. We have already seen in my article Starkey Pyrotechnie & Volatilization of Alkalis that salts from Tartar were considered important and how George Starkey said: “Among Salts Fixum no one has most virtue than Tartar Salt, this is why we called it Alcalium Republica or the Republic of Alkalis”.
Nicolas Lemery from its Cours de la Chymie Paris, 1675. My translation is from french. Page 442: The Fixed Salt of Tartar and its Liquor, Called Oil by Deficiency:
“Break the horn you have used for the distillation of tartar and get hold of the black mass you will find inside, calcined it at coal till white, then throw it into a big volume of hot water and lixiviate, filter it and pour it in a glass, or earthen, vessel and let evaporate the humidity at sand heat. It will remain a white salt, called Salt Alkali of Tartar.
This salt is an aperitif and is used to extract the Vegetal Tincture. The dosage is from ten to thirty grains. If you expose this salt for a few days on a glass platter in a cellar, it will reduce in a liquor called Oil of Tartar by deficiency. It is a remedy against cancer ( note the order of importance).
Through these operations, we have extracted all we can from Tartar, but those who are interested neither in Oil nor in Spirit and want to extract the Salt can employ the untreated, or raw, Tartar and having wrapped it up in a paper, calcine it in red hot coal till it is reduced in a white mass, after that they extract the salt by lixiviation, as mentioned above.
The liquor, or oil, made by deficiency, is just a Salt of Tartar dissolved in a cellar humidity. This Salt has to be melted only in well-filtered rainwater. “
Here the verb to melt is used in a liquefying sense. But why has the salt been filtered only in rainwater? Wasn’t common water enough for a liquefying action? And what’s more, why this strange name: “ by deficiency”, in french par défaillance (5)? Lemery said this salt could be used to extract the vegetal Tincture.
- See Aqua Regia and Fulminating Gold ;
- See Lemery & Aqua Regia First Step/ Sal Armoniac , Lemery & the Spirits of Salt Armoniac , Lemery & the Spririts of Common Salt with wine, Lemery, Saltpeter & the Blood of Salamander and Aqua Regia and Fulminating Gold According to Lemery;
- See Archarion & an Opus Magnum scheme ;
- See also Archarion & Analysis inside a Mortar , Cesare Ripa and the Hot Frozen Ourobos World Machine , Wenceslaw Lavinius and the Sky and Earth Properties , Stoll, the Lacinius Translator on Male and Female Elements , Glaser’s Frontispiece and Basilius Valentinus and the Solve et Coagula Tree ;
- Pernety, Dictionnaire Mytho Hermétique Paris 1758, under Défaillance: Défaillance, or Deficiency. In terms of chemistry, Deliquium is a resolution in the liquor of a dry and coagulated body. The bodies taking part in salts are unique to fall into “deficiency”.
There are three kinds of deficiencies. One is called cold descension, which is made by exhibiting in a cellar or other wet and cool places, a coagulated or burned body on a marble stone or glass table, or in a heated Hippocrates. This body resolves to liquor and falls into the container placed below. The second is the vaporous deficiency, performed in the open air, called sub dio. The third is that Rulandus called Deliquium embapticum, deficiency by immersion. It is done in two ways: first, with the body that we want to solve in water, in a vessel through which pores the water in which it is immersed can not pass, or a bladder, or a wax vase, so that the bath water can penetrate and ooze. If the liquor in which these kinds of vases are plunged is hot, this is what is called deficiency in a water bath. When the deficiency occurs in cold water, it retains the name of deliquium or deficiency. The second way is also done by immersion. Still, the body is only put in a canvas bag or barely immersed in any liquid to be solved, as it is done with the gums, coagulated juice, sugar, etc. . Particularly, in this case, we must choose for the operation liquors through which the deficiency is done, which can be easily separated from the dissolved body, in the case we want to have this since the solvent liquid and the dissolved body sometimes have opposite qualities.