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Characters involved in the Phosphorus Story
Hennig Brand (1630 - c. 1710)
Transcripts of Publications (1677 - 1853)
Aerial Noctiluca : Robert Boyle 1680
HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
A Paper of the Honourable Robert Boyl's, Deposited with the Secretaries of the Royal Society Octob. 14 1680 and Opened Since His Death; Being an Account of His Making the Phosphorus, etc.
Sept 30 1680
There was taken a considerable quantity of Man's Urine (because the liquor yields bit a small proportion of the desired quintessence) and of this a good part at least, had been for a pretty while digested before it was used. Then this liquor was distilled with a moderate heat, till the spirituous and saline parts were drawn off; after which the superfluous moisture also was abstracted (or evaporated away) till the remaining substance was to the consistence of a somewhat thick syrup, or a thin extract.
This done, it was well incorporated with thrice its weight of fine white sand; and the mixture being put into a strong stone-retort, to which a large receiver (in good part filled with water) was so joined, that the nose of the retort did almost touch the water: Then the two vessels being carefully luted together, a naked fire was gradually administered for five or six hours, that all that was either phlegmatic or volatile might come over first. When this was done, the fire was increased, and at length for five or six hours made as strong and intense as the furnace (which was not bad) was capable of giving: (which violence of fire is a circumstance not to be omitted in this operation.)
By this means there came over good store of white fumes, almost like those that appear in the distillation od Oyl of Vitriol; and when those fumes were passed, and the receiver grew clear, they were after a while succeeded by another sort that seemed in the receiver to give a faint blueish light, almost like that of little burning matches dipped in sulphur. And last of all, the fire being very vehement, there passed over another substance, that was judged more ponderous than the former, because it fell through the water to the bottom of the receiver; when being taken out, (and partly even whilst it stayed there, it) appeared by several effects, and other phenomena, to be such a kind of substance as we desired and expected.
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