In this second letter I’m going to tell about all the experiences that will lead me to the conclusion I will disclose later on. For instance I wanted to experiment on the flame great mobility and to the purpose I had a special quadrangular lantern made. Three sides of cardboard and one of glass, to see the flame. I placed the lantern on a wooden pedestal 50 cm. high, and put my candle inside, and I saw no movement at all for at least a quarter-hour. Then I put another cardboard to partially close the superior part of the lantern, in a way that a lot of air could enter, in fact any other normal flame would not have suffer lack of air in that condition, but my flame instead soon began to shake. So I removed the cardboard. Then I made a huge hole in a side, and returned the cardboard over the flame. The flame began to shake dangerously and strangely bent towards the hole. But when I removed the superior cardboard, soon the flame got back to normality. I had the hole repaired and made another hole, this time at the level of the flame base. Soon the flame began to shake and lean at right angle, like the flames used by goldsmiths, towards the hole. The phenomenon was so dramatic that I removed the superior cardboard fearing for my flame to die out. I had this hole repaired too and planned another one, three fingers below the base of the flame. But if I had not hurried up to remove the superior cardboard, the flame would have certainly extinguished. I then tried with three great holes under the base of the flame and the cardboard over. Isn’t strange that the flame was in danger of dying out, just because the part above was partially occluded? After those experiences, I removed the lantern and replaced the candle on the wooden pedestal.
Some hours later I had a wooden cylinder made in the way I could place inside my candle. I also designed a nut on the base of the cylinder so to make it leaning with any inclination degree by degree by means of a graduated semi-circle. In three days time i had the device ready and could put my candle inside. So I began to lean very slowly the cylinder to my right. Only a degree was enough to made my flame to shake. The shaking violence increased as I increased the angle of inclination, since once arrived 45° I decided to return at 0, but unfortunately hit the candle and the flame was off. Once the flame died out, the matter remain so idle that it is impossible to light it again.
You would suggest to use the matter in the remaining two little flasks, but I have other plans for those, as I will tell you later.
After what you have read from me you cannot deny this is a very long-lasting candle. You know all about my time-consuming work on my family chapel. Yes, as you can guess, I mean to have a never-ending flame to beautify the shrine. What shall be the difference between this flame and the common ones? Apparently, to my eyes, the lasting. You know of that tomb excavated during Paolo III and probably dating back to 1600 years before. Soon after having been taken to open air the flame died out. There is much incredulity about that, some say that probably the flame was long time off and then a sudden breeze made to be instantly revitalized, I can assure you that my flame is instead perfectly able to be alive in the open air.
Plott, and also Chambers in his Encyclopedia, have expressed their opinion on the eternal flames to be certainly true, but nobody has ever seen one of his specimens in public, and almost they seemed to be just asbestos as wicks and naphtha as oil, or the bitumen from Pitkhfer mines, which is renown to burn without the need of a wick, nevertheless he didn’t care about the flame lasting. Concerning the lanterns of the ancient, the same author thought they can be imitated by adding liquid phosphor to a pneumatic machine plus a bit of air in it. You can note that I could use the matter in the remaining two little flask, to that I can object that I rather prefer to conserve them, since the matter was sent to a glassware laboratory for the final cooking and I don’t think to be able to recreate the same conditions of sun and fire cooking. I just remember that the matter was under cooking for some days, but don’t exactly know how many. And, also, I want to take the pair of flames in the chapel, not just one. The chapel will be illuminated from the dome. In the middle of the chapel, exactly under the dome, there will be a statue of Jesus Christ dead veiled in a marble shroud. The eternal candle will be there, one up and the other down.
My light will not have the name of lantern, but candles. Academic celebrities and notaries will be warned of the thing, to stay in imperishable memory, ad perpetuam rei memoriam.
You will ask me why I don’t make my discovery to be widely known. I prefer not. This is not only a prerogative of my church (2) and someone else could also claim his rights.
To be continued at Raimondo di Sangro and the Philosophical Candle. Part 2 .
- I decided to let the original words of Raimondo di Sangro;
- Raimondo di Sangro di San Severo was the great master of all the Neapolitan masonry lodges of his time;