A Dictionary of Alchemical Substances and Processeses

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A Dictionary of Alchemical Substances and Processeses

Post  deviadah on Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:16 pm

I take no credit for this list, and there is also another one here.

Ablation
The separation of a component by removing the upper part, sometimes by skimming it off the surface or by wicking it up using a feather or cloth.

Ablution
The purification of a substance by successive washings with a liquid.

Aes cyprium
Cyprian brass or copper.

Air
Cold, dry and melancholic.

Albification
The making of the matter in the alchemical work become white.

Amalgamation
Formation of an amalgam, or alloy, of a metal with mercury. This term is sometimes extended to mean any union of metals.

Antimony
From Latin antimonium used by Constantinius Africanus (c. 1050) to refer to Stibnite.

Argentum cornu
A glass like ore of silver chloride. Also called Horn Silver.

Aqua Fortis
Geber made this strong water, or nitric acid, by distilling Green Vitriol with saltpetre and alum. When pure it is also a colourless liquid, but is often tinged brown by dissolved nitrogen oxides which also give it a peculiar smell. It reacts vigorously with most metals, but Gold will withstand its action. It is also a powerful oxidising agent, and will react with most substances.

Aqua Regia
A mixture of one part Nitric acid (Aqua Fortis) and three or four parts hydrochloric acid (Spirit of Salt). It was called the ‘King’s water’ because it was able to corrode and dissolve the king of metals, Gold.

Aqua tofani
Arsenious oxide. Extremely poisonous. Used by Paracelsus.

Ascension
When the active or subtle part rises up in the flask, usually by heating.

Assation
The reduction of a substance to a dry ash by roasting.

Auripigment
A bright yellow ore of Arsenic used as a pigment under the name of King’s
(or Opriment) Yellow. Arsenic Trisulphide.

Blue vitriol or bluestone
Cupric sulphate.

Brimstone
Sulphur. From German Brennstein ‘burning stone’.

Butter of Antimony
White crystalline antimony trichloride. Made by Basil Valentine by distilling roasted stibnite with corrosive sublimate. Glauber later prepared it by dissolving stibnite in hot concentrated hydrochloric acid and distilling.

Butter of tin
Hydrated stannic chloride.

Cadmia
Also called Tuttia, or Tutty, and was probably zinc carbonate.

Calamine
Zinc carbonate.

Calcination
The breaking down of a substance by fierce heating and burning usually in an open crucible.

Calomel
Mercurous chloride. Purgative, made by subliming a mixture of mercuric chloride and metallic mercury, triturated in a mortar. This was heated in a iron pot and the crust of calomel formed on the lid was ground to powder and boiled with water to remove the very poisonous mercuric chloride.

Caustic marine alkali
Caustic soda. Sodium hydroxide. Made by adding lime to natron.

Caustic volatile alkali
Ammonium hydroxide.

Caustic wood alkali
Caustic potash. Potassium hydroxide. Made by adding lime to potash.

Cementation
Acting upon a substance by mixing it in layers with a powdered (often corrosive) material, such as lime. This mixture is then be made to react and weld together by heating to a high temperature in a cementing furnace.

Ceration
The making of a substance to soften and appear like wax. This is often accomplished by continually adding a liquid and heating.

Chalk
Calcium carbonate.

Chrome green
Chromic oxide.

Chrome orange
Mixture of chrome yellow and chrome red.

Chrome yellow
Lead chromate.

Chrome red
Basic lead chromate.

Chrome yellow
Lead chromate.

Cineration
The reduction of a substance to ashes by heating.

Cinnabar
Mercuric sulphide. The main ore of Mercury, from which the metal is extracted by distillation. It is a heavy red powder. Mercuric sulphide. When used as a pigment it is called Vermillion.

Circulation
The purification of a substance by a circular distillation in a pelican or closed distillation apparatus. Through heating the liquid component separates, is condensed and descends again to the substance in the flask.

Coadunation
Another term for coagulation.

Coagulation
The conversion of a thin liquid into a solid mixture through some inner change, as with the curdling of milk. This can be accomplished by a variety of means - by the addition of a substance, by heating or cooling.

Cobalt
Named by the copper miners of the Hartz Mountains after the evil spirits the kobolds which gave a false copper ore.

Coction
The cooking or heating of a substance at a moderate heat for an extended period.

Cohobation
The frequent removal of the moist component of a substance by heating. Often the moist component (or some other liquid) is added and the process continued.

Colliquation
The conjuction or melting together of two fusible substances.

Coloration
Tinging a substance by adding a dye or coloured tincture. Colouring can by either by tinging the whole body or by producing a surface coating.

Combustion
The burning of a sustance in the open air.

Comminution
The reduction of a substance into a powder, either by grinding, pulverising, or forcing it through a sieve.

Common salt
Sodium chloride.

Composition
The joining together of two different substances.

Conception
The marriage or union of the male and female aspects of substances.

Concoction
The cooking or heating of a mixture of substances at a moderate heat for an extended period.

Congelation
The conversion of a thin flowing liquid into a congealed thick substance, often by heating.

Conglutination
The conversion of a substance into a gluey mass, often by a putrefaction.

Conjunction
The joining of two opposite components, often seen as the union of the male and female, the subtle and gross, or even the elements.

Contrition
The reduction of a substance into powder only by means of fire.

Copper glance
Cuprous sulphide ore.

Copulation
A conjunction, or joining of two opposite components, seen through the metaphor of the union of the male and female, or the union of the fixed and the volatile.

Corrosion
The eating up of a substance by an acid, alkali or corrosive material.

Corrosive sublimate
Mercuric chloride. First mentioned by Geber, who prepared it by subliming mercury, calcined green vitriol, common salt and nitre.

Cribation
The reduction of a substance to a powder by forcing through a sieve or mesh.

Crystallization
The formation of crystals out of a solution of the substance usually in water, either by their gradual formation from the liquid, or by evaporation of the liquid.

Cuprite
Red cuprous oxide ore.

Dealbation
The making of the black substance of the alchemical process become brilliant white.

Decoction
The digestion of a substance in the flask without the addition of any other material.

Decrepitation
The crackling and spliting apart of substances, for example common salt, on heating.

Deliquium
The reduction of a solid placed in a damp place to a liquid by its absorbing water from the air.

Descension
When the subtle or active part of a substance is made to go down to the bottom of a flask, rather than ascend as a vapour.

Dessication
The drying or removal of all the moisture in a substance.

Detonation
The explosive burning of substances on heating, for example substances mixed with nitre.

Digestion
The slow modification of a substance by means of a gentle heat.

Disintegration
The breaking down or dissociation of a substance into different parts.

Dispoliaration
The dissolving or transforming of a dead substance into a liquid.

Dissociation
The breaking down or disintegration of a substance into different parts.

Dissolution
The dissolving or transforming of a substance into a liquid.

Distillation
The separation of a volatile component from a substance by heating so as to drive off the component as a vapour which is condensed and collected in a cooler part of the apparatus.

Divapouration
An exhalation of dry vapours from a substance, which can occur at different degrees of heat.

Division
The separation of a substance into its elements.

Dutch White
Mixture of one part of white lead to three of barium sulphate.

Earth
Cold, wet and phlegmatic

Ebullition
An effervescence produced through fermentation.

Edulceration
The washing of a salty substance till all the salts are removed.

Elaboration
The general term for the process of separating the pure from the impure, and leading a sustance towards perfection, which can be done through a variety of means and processes.

Elevation
The raising of the subtle parts of a substance upwards, away from the bodily residues, into the upper parts of the vessel.

Elixeration
The conversion of a substance into an elixir.

Evaporation
The removal of the watery part of a substance by gentle heating, or being left a long time in a dry place.

Exaltation
An operation by which a substance is raised into a purer and more perfect nature.

Exhalation
The release of a gas or air from a substance.

Expression
Extraction of juices by means of a press.

Extraction
The preparation of the subtler and purer parts of a substance, usually by macerating it in alcohol. The extract can then be separated from the residue.

Fermentation
The rotting of a substance, usually of an organic nature, often accompanied by the release of gas bubbles.

Filtration
The process or removing the grosser parts of a substance by passing through a strainer, filter or cloth.

Fire
Hot, wet and sanguine.

Fixation
The make a volatile subject fixed or solid, so that it remains permanently unaffected by fire.

Flowers of sulphur
Light yellow crystalline powder, made by distilling sulphur.

Foliation
The making some substances puff up in layers, like leaves lying on top of one another, usually undertaken by heating.

Fulminating gold
Made by adding ammonia to the auric hydroxide formed by precipitation by potash from metallic gold dissolved in aqua regis. Highly explosive when dry.

Fulminating silver
Silver nitride, very explosive when dry. Made by dissolving silver oxide in ammonia.

Fulmination
The preparation of a fulminate or explosively unstable form of a metal. Sometimes applied to any process in which a sudden eruptive event occurs.

Fumigation
The alteration of a substance by exposing it to a corroding smoke.

Fusion
The joining of powdered substances together, or the conversion of a substance into a new form, by means of an extremely high degree of heat, sometimes using a flux.

Galena
Plumbic sulphide. Chief ore of lead.

Glass of Antimony
Impure antimony tetroxide, obtained by roasting stibnite. Used as a yellow pigment for glass and porcelain.

Glauber's Salt
Sodium sulphate.

Glutination
Turning a substance into a gluey, glutinous mass.

Gradation
The gradual purification of a substance, often through a series of stages.

Granulation
The reduction of a substance to grains or powder. There are various means of doing this such as pounding, grinding, using thermal shock by heating and rapid cooling, and many others.

Green Vitriol
Ferrous sulphate.

Grinding
The reduction of substances to a powder, usually through the use of a mortar and pestle.

Gypsum
Calcium sulphate.

Horn silver
A glass like ore of silver chloride. Also called Argentum cornu.

Humectation
A process by which humidity is given to the substance, usually not by the direct additon of liquid, but by a gradual process of absorbing moisture.

Ignition
The self-calcination of a substance by it burning itself in a crucible.

Imbibition
The feeding of a process by the gradual and continuing addition of some substance.

Impastation
When the matter undergoing putrefaction thickens or congeals into the consistency of molten black pitch.

Impregnation
The alchemical process is sometimes paralleled with the gestation of a child. Thus impregnation follows from the union or copulation of the male and female, and leads to the generation of a new substance.

Inceration
The making of a substance into a soft waxy consistency, usually by combining it with water.

Incineration
The conversion of a substance to ashes by means of a powerful fire.

Incorporation
The mingling of mixed bodies into a conglomerate mass.

Ingression
This occurs when substances combine in such a manner that they cannot afterwards be separated.

Inhumation
To bury under the earth, sometimes used to mean any process that buries the active substance in a dark earthy material. Also applied to placing a flask in the warm heat of a dung bath.

King's Yellow
A mixture of orpiment with white arsenic.


Last edited by on Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:37 pm; edited 7 times in total

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Re: A Dictionary of Alchemical Substances and Processeses

Post  deviadah on Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:26 pm

Lac sulphuris
White colloidal sulphur. Geber made this by adding an acid to thion hudor. Also called Milk of sulphur.

Lapis infernalis
Silver nitrate. Also known as Lunar caustic.

Lead fume
Lead oxide obtained from the flues at lead smelters.

Litharge
Pale reddish-yellow crystalline form of lead monoxide, formed by fusing and powdering massicot.

Liquefaction
The turning of a solid material into a liquid, either by melting or dissolving.

Liver of sulphur
Complex of polysulphides of potassium, made by fusing potash and sulphur.

Lixiviation
The oxidation of sulphide ores by exposing them to air and water. This forms vitriols.

Luna cornea
The soft colourless tough mass of silver chloride, made by heating horn silver till it forms a dark yellow liquid and then cooling. Described by Oswald Croll in 1608.

Luting
The sealing of a flask or other apparatus through the use of a lute, or resinous paste which once applied sets hard and produces an airtight seal.

Marcasite
Mineral form of Iron disulphide. Oxidises in moist air to green vitriol. Iron Pyrites, or Iron disulphide. A hard yellow substance resembling brass. The term Marchasite is also sometimes applied to Bismuth

Massicot
Yellow powder form of lead monoxide.

Maturation
A general term applied to identify the appearance of a degree of perfection in the work.

Melting
The reduction of a metal or substance to a liquid through heating.

Mercurius praecipitatus
Red mercuric oxide. Described by Geber.

Mercury
Hot, dry and choleric.

Milk of sulphur
White colloidal sulphur. Geber made this by adding an acid to thion hudor. Also called Lac sulphuris.

Minium or Red Lead
Triplumbic tetroxide. Formed by roasting litharge in air. Scarlet crystalline powder. Red Lead is an oxide of Lead

Mortification
Here the substance undergoes a kind of death, usually through a putrefaction, and seems to have been destroyed and its active power lost, but eventually is revived.

Mosaic gold
Golden-yellow glistening scales of crystalline stannic sulphide, made by heating a mixture of tin filings, sulphur and salammoniac.

Multiplication
The operation by which the powder of projection has its power multiplied.

Naples yellow
An oxychloride of lead, made by heating litharge with sal ammoniac. Also known as Cassel yellow.

Natron
Native sodium carbonate.

Nickel
Named by the copper miners of Westphalia the kupfer-nickel or false copper.

Nitre
Saltpetre. Potassium Nitrate. Made by lixiviation. A pile of soil rich in animal
dung was exposed to the air (protected from rain) and a crust of nitre formed on the windward side of the pile. When purified by re-crystallisation this formed a white crystalline powder. It is a powerful oxidising agent. When heated with Vitriol (sulphuric acid) it produces the strong water Aqua Fortis (nitric acid).

Nitric Acid
Aqua Fortis or Strong Water.

Nitrum flammans
Ammonium nitrate made by Glauber.

Nix Alba (white snow)
Also known as Philosophers' Wool. Zinc oxide made by burning zinc in air. Called Zinc White and used as a pigment.

Oil of Vitriol
Sulphuric acid made by distilling green vitriol. Made by distilling Green Vitriol (Iron Sulphate). This is now known as Sulphuric acid and is one of the strongest of mineral acids.

Orpiment
Auri-pigmentum. Yellow ore of arsenic. Arsenic trisulphide.

Pearl white
Basic nitrate of bismuth, used by Lemery as a cosmetic.

Philosophers' Wool
Also known as Nix Alba (white snow). Zinc oxide made by burning zinc in air. Called Zinc White and used as a pigment.

Potash
Potassium carbonate made from the ashes of burnt wood. Also called Wood-ash.

Powder of Algaroth
A white powder of antimonious oxychloride, made by precipitation when a solution of butter of antimony in spirit of salt is poured into water.

Precipitation
The descent of a substance out of a solution. The precipitate descends to the bottom of the flask.

Preparation
The process by which superfluous substances are removed from the matter and that which is wanting is added to it.

Projection
The throwing of a ferment or tincture onto a substance in order to effect a transformation of the substance.

Prolectation
The separation of a substance into a subtle and more coarse part by the thinning or rarefaction of the subtler parts of the substance, rather than the coarsening of the earthy part.

Pulverisation
The breaking down of a substance to smaller fragments through being repeatedly struck with a blunt instrument, such as a hammer, or mallet.

Purgation
The purging or purifying of a sustance by it casting forth a gross part.

Purple of Cassius
Made by Andreas Cassius in 1685 by precipitating a mixture of gold, stannous and stannic chlorides, with alkali. Used for colouring glass.

Putrefaction
The rotting of a substance, often under a prolonged gentle moist heat. Usually the matter becomes black.

Pyrites
Mineral form of iron disulphide. Stable in air.

Quicklime
Calcium oxide. Produced by burning chalk or limestone. It is a powerful desiccating agent as it reacts strongly with water to produce slaked lime, that is lime whose thirst has been squashed. Calcium Oxide. Pure white powder. Very reactive when heated with most substances.

Quinta Essentia
The making of a quintessence, or highly elevated form of a substance.

Rarefaction
The making of a substance extremely subtle or thin and airy.

Realgar
Red ore of arsenic. Arsenic disulphide. Mineral ore of Arsenic. Red brittle vitreous or crystalline solid, which sublimes like Sal Ammoniac.

Rectification
The purification of the matter by means of repeated distillations, the distillate being again distilled.

Reiteration
The repetition of a process, particularly applied to circular distillation, in which the distillate is returned to the vessel, and the process continued for many cycles.

Resin of copper
Cuprous chloride. Made by Robert Boyle in 1664 by heating copper with corrosive sublimate.

Resolution
This occurs when substances which are mixed together become violently separated by being placed into a solution. Thus milk is in this sense resolved by vinegar. This process is similar to coagulation.

Restinction
Here a substance at white heat is brought to perfection by being quenched in an exalting liquid.

Reverberation
An ignition or calcination at a high temperature, in a reverberating furnace.

Revivification
The bringing of a mortified matter back to life, or reactivating it.

Rouge
Red varieties of ferric oxide are formed by burning green vitriol in air. Also known as Crocus and Colcothar.

Rubification
The making of the matter in the alchemical process from white to red.

Sal Ammoniac
Ammonium Chloride. Described by Geber. Ammoniumin Chloride. Probably originally made from ammonia rich urine and salt. A white granular and fibrous solid, which has the property that it will sublimate at a relatively low temperature. That is if heated in a flask it will not melt, but turn into a white vapour which will rise in the flask and condense in the cooler neck back to the characteristic fibrous crystals of Sal Ammoniac.

Salt
The contractive force in Nature. Crystallisation. Condensation.

Sal volatile
Spirit of Hartshorn. Volatile alkali. Ammonium carbonate made from distilling bones, horns, etc.

Segregation
The separation of a composite substance into its parts.

Separation
The making of two opposite components separate from each other. Often alternated with the conjunction process.

Slaked lime
Calcium hydroxide.

Soda ash
Sodium carbonate formed by burning plants growing on the seashore.

Spirit of Salt
Made by distilling common salt and Green vitriol. This is the strong acid now known as Hydrochloric acid, and is very reactive with most substances.

Spiritus fumans
Stannic chloride, discovered by Libavius in 1605, through distilling tin with corrosive sublimate.

Stibnite
Antimony trisulphide. Grey mineral ore of antimony.

Stratification
An operation which produces layers in the substance in the flask.

Subduction
The separation of abstraction downward of the subtle part, as in filtration.

Sublimation
This occurs when a solid is heated and gives off a vapour which condenses on the cool upper parts of the vessel as a solid, not going through a liquid phase. An example is sal ammoniac.

Subtilation
The separation of the subtle part of a substance from the gross.

Sugar of Lead
Lead acetate. Made by dissolving lead oxide in vinegar.

Sulphur
The expansive force in Nature. Dissolution. Evaporation.

Tartar
Found in the lees of wine. Often scraped from the insides of wine barrels. Now
known as Potassium Hydrogen Tartrate. When reacted with calcined antimony this formed Tartar Emetic, a powerful emetic used in medicine, though with significant danger, for it is a poisonous substance.

Thion hudor
A deep reddish-yellow liquid made by boiling flowers of sulphur with slaked lime. Zosimus refers to this as the divine water or the bile of the serpent.

Tin salt
Hydrated stannous chloride.

Transudation
This occurs if the essence appears to sweat out in drops during a descending distillation.

Trituration
The reduction of a substance to a powder, not necessarily by the use of grinding, but by the application of heat.

Turpeth mineral
A hydrolysed form of mercuric sulphate. Yellow crystalline powder, described by Basil Valentine.

Venetian White
Mixture of equal parts of white lead and barium sulphate.

Verdigris
The green substance formed by the atmospheric weathering of copper. This is a complex basic carbonate of copper. In more recent times the term verdigris is more correctly applied to copper acetate, made by the action of vinegar on copper.

Vermillion
Mercuric sulphide. See Cinnabar for more information.

Vinegar
Made by distilling wine that has been allowed to go sour. A medium strong acid which reacts with most organic substances, and forms salts with some metals (for example Lead acetate, or sweet lead).

Vitrification
The making of a substance into a glass but strong heating and sometimes the addition of lime.

Vitriolification
The making of a vitriol. Most often from a metal by the direct action of oil of vitriol, but sometimes by a more indirect route.

Water
The integrative force, interweaving and balancing that of the Salt and Sulphur. Circulation. Dynamic equilibrium.

White arsenic
Arsenious oxide. Made from arsenical soot from the roasting ovens, purified by sublimation.

White lead
Basic carbonate of lead. Used as a pigment.

White vitriol
Zinc Sulphate. Described by Basil Valentine. Made by lixiviating roasted zinc blende (zinc sulphide).

Wismuth
Bismuth.

Wood-ash
Potassium carbonate made from the ashes of burnt wood. Also called Potash.

Zaffre
Impure cobalt arsenate, left after roasting cobalt

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