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will make them softer and softer. And this inquiry tendeth to two ends: first, for use; as to make iron soft by the fire makes it malleable. Secondly, because induration is a degree towards fixation, and mollification towards volatility; and therefore the inquiry of them will give light towards the other.
For tough and brittle, they are much of the same kind, hut yet worthy of an inquiry apart, especially to join hardness with toughness, as making1 glass malleable, etc. and making blades strong to resist and pierce, and yet not easy to break. . For Volatility and fixation. It is a principal branch to be inquired: the utmost degree of fixation is that whereon no fire will work, nor strong water joined with fire, if there be any such fixation possible. The next is, when fire simply will not work without strong waters. The next is by the test. The next is when it will endure fire not blown, or such a strength of fire. The next is when it will not endure, but yet is malleable. The next is when it is not malleable, but yet is not fluent, but stupified. So of volatility, the utmost degree is when it will fly away without returning. The next is when it will fly up, but with ease return. The next is when it will fly upwards over the helm by a kind of exsufflation without vapouring. The next is when it will melt though not rise. The next is when it will soften though not melt. Of all these diligent inquiry is to be made in several metals, especially of the more extreme degrees.
For transmutation or version. If it be real and true, it is the farthest part of art, and would lie well distinguished from extraction, from restitution^ and from adulteration. I hear much of turning iron into copper; I hear also of the growth of lead in weight, which cannot be without a conversion of some body into lead: but whatsoever is of this kind, and well expressed, is diligently to be inqidred and set down.
Dr. Meoerers answers to the foregoing questions, concerning the variation of metals and minerals.
1. For tinctures, there are none that I know, but that rich variety which springs from mixture of metals with metals, or imperfect minerals.
2. The imperfect metals are subject to rust, all of them except mercury, which is made into vermilion by solution, or calcination. The rest are rusted by any salt, sour, or acid water. Lead into a white body called cerussa. Iron into a pale red called ferrugo. Copper is turned into green, named cerugo, ces viride. Tin into white: but this is not in use, neither hath it obtained a name.
The Scriptures mention the rust of gold, but that is in regard of the allay.
3. Calcination. All metals may be calcined by strong waters, or by admixtion of salt, sulphur, and mercury. The imperfect metals may be calcined by continuance of simple fire; iron thus calcined is called crocus martis.
And this is their best way. Gold and silver are best calcined by mercury. Their colour is grey. Lead calcined is very red. Copper dusky red.
4. Metals are sublimed by joining them with mercury or salts. As silver with mercury, gold with sal armoniac, mercury with vitriol.
5. Precipitation is, when any metal being dissolved into a strong water, is beaten down into a powder by salt water. The chiefest in this kind is oil of tartar.
6. Amalgamation is the joining or mixing of mercury with any other of the metals. The manner is this in gold, the rest are answerable: take six parts of mercury, make them hot in a crucible, and pour them to one part of gold made red hot in another crucible, stir these well together that they may incorporate; which done, cast the mass into cold water and wash it. This is called the amalgama of gold.
7. For vitrification. All the imperfect metals may , be turned by strong fire into glass, except mercury;
iron into green; lead into yellow; brass into blue;
tin into pale yellow. For gold and silver, I have not known them vitrified, except joined with antimony. These glassy bodies may be reduced into the form of mineral bodies.
8. Dissolution. All metals without exception may be dissolved.
(1.) Iron may be dissolved by any tart, salt, or vitriolated water; yea, by common water, if it be first calcined with sulphur. It dissolves in aquafortis, with great ebullition and heat, into a red liquor, so red as blood.
(2.) Lead is fittest dissolved in vinegar, into a pale yellow, making the vinegar very sweet.
(3.) Tin is best dissolved with distilled salt water. It retains the colour of the menstruum.
(4.) Copper dissolves as iron doth, in the same liquor, into a blue.
(5.) Silver hath its proper menstruum, which is aqua fortis. The colour is green, with great heat and ebullition.
(6.) Gold is dissolved with aqua regia, into a yellow liquor, with little heat or ebullition.
(7.) Mercury is dissolved with much heat and boiling, into the same liquors which gold and silver are. It alters not the colour of the menstruum.
Note. Strong waters may be charged with half their weight of fixed metals, and equal of mercury; if the workman be skilful.
9. Sprouting. This is an accident of dissolution. For if the menstruum be overcharged, then within short time the metals will shoot into certain crystals.
10. For induration, or mollification, they depend upon the quantity of fixed mercury and sulphur. I have observed little of them, neither of toughness nor brittleness.
11. The degrees of fixation and volatility I acknowledge, except the two utmost, which never were observed.
12. The question of transmutation is very doubtful. Wherefore I refer your honour to the fourth tome of TheatrumChymicum: and there, to that tract
which is intitled Disquisitio Heliana; where you shall find full satisfaction.
The fourth letter of the cross-row, touching restitution.
First, therefore, it is to be inquired in the negative, what bodies will never return, either by their extreme fixings, as in some vitrifications, or by extreme volatility.
It is also to be inquired of the two means of reduction; and first by the fire, which is but by congregation of homogeneal parts.
The second is, by drawing them down by some body that hath consent with them. As iron draweth down copper in water; gold draweth quicksilver in vapour; whatsoever is of this kind, is very diligently to be inquired.
Also it is to be inquired what time, or age, will reduce without help of fire or body.
Also it is to be inquired what gives impediment to union or restitution, which is sometimes called mortification; as wlien quicksilver is mortified with turpentine, spittle, or butter.
JLastly, it is to be inquired, how the metal restored, differeth in any thing from the metal rare: as whether it become not more churlish, altered in colour, or the like.
Dr. MevereFs answers touching the restitutions of metals and minerals.
Reduction is chiefly effected by fire, wherein if they stand and nele, the imperfect metals vapour away, and so do all manner of salts which separated them in minimus partes before.
Reduction is singularly holpen, by joining store of metal of the same nature with it in the melting.
Metals reduced are somewhat churlish, but not altered in colour.
THE LORD VERULAM'S INQUISITION
Concerning the versions, transmutations, multiplications, and ejections of bodies.
Earth by fire is turned into brick, which is of the nature of a stone, and serveth for building, as stone doth: and the like of tile. Qu. the manner.
Naphtha, which was the bituminous mortar used in the walls of Babylon, grows to an intife and very hard matter like a stone.
In clay countries, where there is pebble and gravel, you shall find great stones, where you may see the pebbles or gravel, and between them a substance of stone as hard or harder than the pebble itself.
There are some springs of water, wherein if you put wood, it will turn into the nature of stone: so as that within the water shall be stone, and that above the water continue wood.
The slime about the reins and bladder in man's body, turns into stone: and stone is likewise found often in the gall; and sometimes, though rarely, in vena porta.
Query, what time the substance of earth in quarries asketh to be turned into stone?
Water, as it seems, turneth into crystal, as is seen in divers caves, where the crystal hangs in stillicidiis.
Try wood, or the stalk of herbs, buried in quicksilver, whether it will not grow hard and stony.
They speak of a stone ingendered in a toad's head.
There was a gentleman, digging in his moat, found an egg turned into stone, the white and the yolk keeping their colour, and. the shell glistering like a stone cut with coiners.
Try some things put into the bottom of a well; as wood, or some soft substance: but let it not touch the water, because it may not putrify.
They speak, that the white of an egg, with lying, long in the sun, will turn stone.
Mud in water turns into shells of fishes, as in . horse-mussels, in fresh ponds, old and overgrown.