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By Neil Powell

Whereas dated--the quantity is a part of a suite at the occult released by way of Doubleday in 1976--the info contained inside is exact and well timed. additionally, the paintings comprises many beautiful illustrations/reproductions, making it a visually attractive resource. Contents: 1 The that means of Alchemy 2 the rules of Alchemy three Mysterious Frenchmen four The Medieval Masters five The Wandering Alchemists 6 What occurred to Alchemy? 7 intercourse and Symbolism eight Alchemy Lives On

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He knew the use of manganese dioxide in glassmaking, he described the making of steel, dyes, and varnishes, and he reported how to make acetic acid by distilling vinegar. Al-Razi, another great figure who lived a little later than Jabir, goes into even greater detail about the contents of the alchemist's laboratory. D. 826. The apparatus he described hardly changed within the next thousand years. In fact, although modern chemical research apparatus is highly sophisticated, most teaching laboratories are still stocked with equipment that would not have been unfamiliar to Al-Razi.

Below is a type of oven in which water is heated, with four distilling vessels embedded in sand in the top of it. Below: a German reconstruction of a 16th-century alchemical laboratory. The apparatus is neatly stored around the walls of the room, in which there are several furnaces. Judging from contemporary drawings and paintings, alchemists' workshops were seldom like this as far as tidiness is concerned. Left: apparatus that would have been used in a laboratory in the late 17th century. Although many of the vessels illustrated have since become obsolete, the following are still used in chemistry laboratories at the present time: two forms of the matrass, now called a flask, 4 and 6; the glass funnel, 14; and the retort, 16.

Above: the title page of a Latin work on alchemy attributed to Jabir, whose name is shown here in the Western form of Geber. He was recognized as the Father of Alchemy, and his reputation was so high that probably many books by other authors were attributed to him to give added authority. How many of them were actually written by Jabir is still vigorously debated by many scholars. For example, some of the correspondences of Venus were copper, the color green, the dove and the sparrow, and the power of love.

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