An Alchemists Glossary of Terms, Definitions, Formulas & Concoctions - Part 1

Dictionary Table of Contents Dictionary - Part 2 (I-R) Dictionary - Part 3 (S-Z)

Return to Top

Absorbent Earth
Chalk, marble, and clays. No specific formulas. Generally carbonates, silicates, and sulfates.
Any substance which is slightly acid, or turning sour.
Acetated Earths, Metals, Etc.
Acetates (C2H3O2¯).
Acetous Acid
Impure Acetic Acid from vinegar.
Referring to vinegar, or to a compound made from vinegar, as in "acetum radicatum."
Acid Air (Priestley)
Hydrogen Chloride (HCl).
Acid of Ants
Formic Acid (HCOOH).
Acid, Nitri Phlogistic
See Nitrous Air.
Acid of Amber
Succine Acid (C4H6O4). Also written HOOCCH2CH2COOH  
Acid of Apples
Malic Acid (C4H6O5).
Acid of Arsenic
Arsenic Acid (H3AsO4).
Acid of Barberry
Malic Acid.
Acid of Benzoin
Benzoic Acid (C6H5COOH).
Acid of Borax
Boric Acid (H3BO3).
Acid of Burning Sulphur
Sulfurous Acid (H2SO3).
Acid of Four Spar
Hydrofluoric Acid (mixed usually with silicon fluoride) (HF; SiF4).
Acid of Lemons
Citric Acid (C6H8O7).
Acid of Milk
Lactic Acid (C3H6O3).
Acid of Milk-Sugar
Mucic Acid (COOH(CHOH)4COOH).
Acid of Molybdaena
Molybdic Acid (H2MoO4).
Acid of Nitre
Nitric Acid (HNO3).
Acid of Phosphorus
Phosphoric Acid (H3PO4).
Acid of Salt
Hydrochloric Acid (HCl). (Acidum Salis, Marine Acid, Muriatic Acid, Spirit of Salt). [Scheele]
Acid of Sea-Salt
Hydrochloric Acid, alone, or in a compound (i.e., the Cl¯ radical).
Acid of Sorrel
Oxalic Acid (COOH COOH).
Acid of Sugar
Oxalic Acid (COOHCOOH). Also written (COOH)2.
Acid of Tamarinds
Tartaric Acid (C4H6O6).
Acid of Tartar
Tartaric Acid.
Acid of Urine
Phosphoric Acid (H3PO4)
Acid of Vinegar
Acetic Acid (CH3COOH).
Acid of Vitriol
Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4)
Acidium Aereum
Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
Acidium Mephiticum
Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
Acidium Pingue
J.F. Meyer's hypothesized "fatty acid."
Acidium Sacchari
Oxalic Acid (COOH COOH).
Acid Vitriolated Tartar
Potassium Hydrogen Sulphate (KHSO4).
Small, circular vessels with a necked opening and a spout opposite. They were connected between the distilling head and the receiver.
A union or combination into one.
Ad Siccum
To dryness, as in evaporation to dryness. [Scheele]
Aerated Alkali
Any alkali Carbonate (e.g., K2CO3).
"Aerated" Compounds (Bergman)
Carbonates (CO32¯).
Aerated Lime
Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3).
Aerated Water
Water containing dissolved carbon dioxide.
Aer Hepaticus
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S).
Aerial Acid
Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Which forms Carbonic Acid, in aqueous solution [Scheele]
Aerugo (Aeruca) (Rust of Copper)
See Verdigris.
Aer Urinosum
Ammonia (NH3).
Aes cyprium
Cyprian Brass or Copper.
Aethiops Mercuriales
See Athiops Mineralis.
Aethiops Mineralis (Aethiops Mercuriales)
Black Mercuric Sulphide (H2S).
Generally, any substance in gaseous state.
Air (Priestley)
A gaseous substance which could not be liquified by cold.
Air, Dephlogisticated
Oxygen (O2).
Air, Fixed
Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
Air, Hepatic
Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S).
Air, Inflammable
Hydrogen (H2).
Air, Marine Acid
Hydrogen Chloride (HCl).
Air, Mephitic
Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
Air, Phlogisticated
Nitrogen (N2).
Air, Vital
Oxygen (O2).
Air of Flour Spar
Hydrofluoric Acid, HF,  gas (usually with Silicon Fluoride).
Air of Vitriol
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2).
Alumina (Al2O3).
Alcali Volatil 
Ammonium Hydroxide.
Alcohol Sulphuris 
Carbon Disulfide, CS2; not an alcohol at all, but a volatile liquid that contains Sulfur.
Usually spirit of wine (CH3CH2OH) (sometimes any very fine powder).
A type of distillation apparatus.
Alembroth, Salt of
A double Chloride of Mercury and Ammonium, Hg2(NH4)2Cl4.H2O; See White Precipitate [Lavoisier]
A remedy or preservative against poison.
Algaroth, Powder of
Antimony Oxychloride, SbOCl, an emetic named after its inventor, a Vittorio Algarotti. [Lavoisier]
Alicant Kelp
Crude Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3).
1,2-Dihydroxyanthraquinone, C14H8O4, a red dye long extracted from Rubia tinctorium (madder), synthetically prepared from Anthracene in the 19th century. Click here for structures.
Alizarin , Black
Naphtharazine, 5,8-dihydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone, C10H6O4, a black dye.
Alizarin , Blue (Anthracene blue)
A Dihydroxyanthraquinone Quinoline, C17H9O4.
Alizarin , Bordeaux (Brown)
1,2,3-trihydroxyanthraquinone, C14H8O5, a dye derived from anthraquinone
Alizarin , Red
Alizarin Sodium Sulfonate, NaC14H7O7S, the Sodium Salt of the Sulfonic Acid of Alizarin; an acid-base indicator that changes from red to yellow as the pH is raised through 5.5
Alizarin , Yellow
Sodium p-Nitraniline Salicylate, C13H10NO5, an acid-base indicator that changes from yellow to purple as the pH is raised through 11.1
Alk. Min. Vitriol
Sodium Sulphate (Na2SO4).
An alchmeical term invented by Paracelsus to denote a universal solvent. [Boyle]
Alkahest Glauber
See Fixed vegetable alkali (K2CO3)
Alkahest of Reapour
See fixed vegetable alkali (K2CO3)
Alkahest of Van Helmot (Glauber's Alkahest)
concentrated Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3)
Any substance which is slightly alkaline or turning alkaline
Alkali, Caustic
Hydroxides (OH¯). See Alkaline Air, Fossil Alkali, Marine Alkali, Mineral Alkali, Vegetable Alkali, Volatile Alkali.
Alkali, Common Mineral
Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3 . 10H2O)
Alkali, Concrete Volatile
Ammonium Carbonate (NH4)2CO3)
Alkali, Fossil
Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3)
Alkali, Marine
Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3)
Alkali, Mild
Carbonates (CO32¯)
Alkali, Vegetable, Fixed
Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3)
Alkali, Vegetable, Mild
Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3)
Alkali, Volatile
Ammonia (NH3)
Alkali of Soda
Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3)
Alkali of Tartar
Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3)
Alkali of Wine Lees
Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3)
Alkali Veg. Saltium
Potassium Chloride (KCl)
Alkali Veg. Vitriolat
Potassium sulphate (K2SO4)
Alkaline Air (Priestly)
Ammonia gas (NH3)
Alkalized Nitre
See fixed nitre
See Adopters
Anything which alters of changes the state of another
A unit of a mutiple-head, earthenware distilling apparatus. Usually used for sublimations.
Potassium Aluminum Sulfate, KAl(SO4)2.12H2O; more recently the term also includes salts in which Sodium or Ammonium substitute for Potassium. [Black, Lavoisier]
Mixed double salts of Aluminum Sulphate with Potassium, Sodium, or Ammonium Sulfate. (Potassium salt, when pure, was most commonly called "Alum."). (Al2(SO4)3 . K2SO4 . 24H2O); (Al2(SO4)3 . (NH4)2SO4 . 24H2O); (Al2(SO4)3 . Na2SO4 . 24H2O).
Aluminum Sulphate (Al2(SO4)3.
Alumen Ustum (Burnt Alum)
alum dehydrated by heating
Aluminum Hydroxide. (Al(OH)3
Any Mercury alloy
Ammoniacal Nitre
Ammonium Nitrate (NH4NO3)
Ammonium Fixatum (Fixed Ammoniac)
The residue on heating sal ammoniac with lime, i. e., Calcium Chloride (CuCl2)
Ammonium Nitrosum
Ammonium Nitrate (NH4NO3)
Derives from amylum, starch. Some terms (amylase, amylose, amylo-pectin) are still directly related to starch. The following terms come from starch-derived amyl alcohols.
A pentyl radical or substituent, C5H11-.
Pentene, C5H10, usually 1-pentene or 2-pentene; isoamylene is one of the isomers of 2-methyl-2-butene.
Amyl Hydrate
An Amyl (i.e., pentyl) alcohol
Aniline Purple
Mauvein, C27H24N4, the first aniline dye, 1856 (Perkin's mauve).
Animal Alkali
Ammonium Carbonate [(NH4)2CO3]
A medicine or drug which alleviates pain.
Hydrated Sodium Thiosulfate (Na2S2O3)
Antimonial Caustic
Antimony Trichloride (SbCl3)
Antimonium Diaphoreticum
Mixture of Antimony Oxide and Potassium Antimoniate (Sb2O3; KSbO3)
Antimony Sulfide (Sb2S3) (pre-18th. century). Pure Antimony was called "regulus of antimony."
From latin "antimonium" used by Constantinius Africanus (c. 1050) to refer to Stibnite.
Antimony Black
Antimony Trisulfide. Antimony (III) Sulfide, Sb2S3, a grey-black powder.
Antimony Bloom, White
Antimony Trioxide. Antimony (III) oxide, Sb2O3.
Antimony Glance
Antimony Trisulfide. Stibnite, a native Antimony (III) Sulfide. (See Glance.)
Antimony Red
Antimony Oxysulfide.
Antimony Vermilion, (Red, Flowers)
Antimony Oxysulfide. Antimony (III) Oxysulfide, Sb2O3.Sb2S3, containing some SbOS2. See Flowers.
Opposed to fermentation
Apothecary Measures, Dram (Drachm)
Unit of weight equal to 3.888 g. [Black]
Apothecary Measures, Fluid Dram (Drachm)
Unit of volume equal to 3.55 mL (60 minims). [Scheele]
Apothecary Measures,  Minim
Unit of volume equal to 0.0616 mL
Apothecary Measures,  Pound (Libra) Troy
Unit of weight equal to 373.2 g
Apothecary Measures, Scruple
Unit of weight equal to 1.296 g. [Black]
Literally water (Latin). In addition to terms denoting a condition or source of water (such as aqua tepida, warm water, or aqua nivialis, water from snow), some aqua terms denote aqueous solutions.
Aqua Fortis
Concentrated Nitric Acid (HNO3). Literally "strong water". See Nitrous Acid, Spirit of Nitre. [Bacon, Black, Scheele]
Aqua Phaganeda or Phagadenica
A mixture of corrosive sublimate and limewater
Aqua Regia
Literally "Water of the King" or "Royal Water". A mixture of Nitric Acid, HNO3 and Hydrochloric Acid, HCl capable of dissolving the "Royal Metal" gold. Various proportions were used, depending on the material to be dissolved. Commonly, more Nitric Acid than Hydrochloric Acid was employed.  [Bacon, Scheele]
Aqua Secunda
Dilute Nitric Acid , often used for cleaning metals and minerals.
Aqua Tofani
Arsenious Oxide. Extremely poisonous. Used by Paracelsus.
Aqua Vitae
Literally, "Water of Life"; concentrated Aqueous Ethanol, C2H5OH, typically prepared by distilling wine [Arnald of Villanova] (Spirit of Wine)
Ardent Spirit
Ethyl Alcohol obtained after repeated distillations (CH3CH2OH)
Latin for Silver hence the symbol Ag; argentum vivum, literally "Living Silver", is native Mercury [Pliny]
Argillaceous Earth
Arnaudon's Green, (Plessy's Green)
Chromium (III) Phosphate, CrPO4, a green pigment.
Aromatic Oil
Any "oil" with a sweet or exotic odor. Often an essential oil.
Arsenic Trioxide (As2O3)
Arsenic, Red
Arsenic (II) sulfide, As2S2 (Realgar, Red Orpiment).
Arsenic, White
Arsenic (III) oxide, As2O3.
Arsenical Sal Ammoniac
Ammonium Arsenate (NH4)HAsO4.
Ash, Black
Impure Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3).
Ash, Pearl
See Pearl Ash
Ash, Pot
See potash
Ashes of Tin
Stannic Oxide (SnO2)
A quantitative determination of the metal in an ore or alloy
Astrum Lunare Microcosmicum (Phosphorus, Phospheros, Fosperus)
Elemental Phosphorous (P)
Does not necessarily correspond to the modern picture of the ultimate particle of an element.  Dalton, for example, meant something more along the lines of "ultimate particle of a substance"; to him the smallest unit of a chemical compound was a compound atom (molecule in modern terminology), while the smallest particle of a chemical element was a simple atom (now just atom, although several of Dalton's simple atoms turned out to be molecules of elements, such as O2). (See Molecule.)
Ferrous Sulfate (FeSO4)
The action of rubbing one body against another; mutual friction.
Arsenic trisulfide (As2S3)
Latin for Gold, hence the symbol Au; aurum fulminans (fulminating gold): gold hydrazide, AuHNNH2, an olive-green powder that can explode on concussion [Black, Scheele]
Aurum Fulminans
An explosive gold compound prepared from gold dissoled in "Aqua Regia" and a solution of Ammonium Carbonate. The exact formula is still in doubt.
Evaporation,escape, act of "flying away."
Azote, Asotic Air
Nitrogen (N2) (Phlogisticated Air; see also Mephitic Air), named because it did not support respiration and was therefore "lifeless". Azote is still the French word for this element. [ Lavoisier, Prout, T. Thomson]
A blue pigment from cobalt
Basic Copper (cubric) Carbonate (2CuCO3 . Cu(OH)2

Return to Top

Baker's Salt
Ammonium Carbonate, (NH4)2CO3.
Baking Soda
Sodium Bicarbonate (NaHCO3)
Vessels used to receive condensation products in distillation.
Balneum Mariae
The water bath used for heating more delicate materials such as animal and vegetable matter.
Light oily aromatic extracts from trees which cure into resins.
Impure soda extracted from soap-wort (impure Sodium Carbonate, Na2CO3) [Rey]
Barite, Baryte(s)
Barium Sulfate (BaSO4)
Barium White
Barium Sulfate, BaSO4.
Baryta, Barytes
Barium Oxide (BaO)  Used for the earth from which Barium was eventually isolated, namely Barium Oxide, BaO. [Dalton, Lavoisier, Ramsay, et al.]. Barytes can also refer to barite, a Barium Sulfate (BaSO4) mineral also known as heavy spar. Baryta can also refer to Barium Hydroxide (caustic baryta) or its hydrate. Barytium is an older name for Barium [Pasteur, Prout].
Basis or Base
Any substance "A" which (1) is dissolved by substance "B"; (2) receives "B" and "fixes" it; (3) forms a compound of "B."
Bath Metal
A 4:1 alloy of Copper and Zinc, respectively.
Bay Salt
Sodium Chloride (NaCl).
A tube, usually tapered, attached to a vessel to allow the exit of its contents.
Ligroin or Petroleum Ether [Rayleigh]; sometimes Benzene, C6H6
Berlin Blue
Ferric Ferrocyanide (Fe4[Fe(CN)6]3.
Berlin Green
Ferric Ferricyanide (Fe[Fe(CN)6].
Berthollet's Salt
Potassium Chlorate (KClO3).
Bezoardicum Minerale
See Bezoar Mineral.
Bezoar (Bezoar Stone, Bezoardicum Minerale)
A counter-poison or antidote, especially a stony calculus from an animal's stomach. [Mayow]
Bezoar Mineral
Antimonic Acid (H3SbO4).
Bismuth Corne
Bismuth Oxychloride (BiOCl).
Bitter Cathartic Salt
Magnesium Sulfate (MgSO4).
Bitter Earth
Magnesium Oxide or Carbonate (MgO; MgCO3).
Liquor remaining after salt-boiling; a solution containing Magnesium salts and bromides from the preparation of salt from sea-water by evaporation.
Bitter Salt
Magnesium Sulphate (MgSO4 . 7H2O).(Epsom Salts)
Bitter Spar
"Dolomite" -Calcium and Magnesium Carbonate (CaCO3 . MgCO3).
An amorphous grouping of resinous and petroleum products: crude oil, amber, asphaltum, coal.
Black Ash
Impure Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3) mixed with unburnt Carbon (hence "black") and incombustible mineral residue.
Black Copper
Copper Sulfide (CuS).
Black Flux
A mixed product from the deflagration of charcoal, metal filings, nitre, and excess tartar.
Black Jack
See Blend.
Black Lead
Natural graphite of the sort used in pencils.
Black Wad
Manganese Dioxide.
Bleaching Powder
Formed by passing Chlorine Gas (Cl2) over dry Calcium Hydroxide Ca(OH)2, hence also called Chlorinated Lime. When dry the substance is mainly Calcium Oxychloride, CaOCl2; after absorbing moisture, it becomes a mixture of Calcium Chloride, CaCl2 and Calcium Hypochlorite, Ca(OCl)2.
A mineral which looks very much like galena (PbS) and thus sometimes called "false galena." Now known as sphalerite. Primarily Zinc Sulfide (ZnS).
Blind Head
The top portion of a distilling apparatus which is not equipped with a beak or spout.
Blue Copperas
Copper Sulfate.
Blue Salts
Nickel Sulfate
Blue Stone
A native crystalline Copper Sulfate, CuSO4.5H2O.
Blue Vitriol or Bluestone
Cupric Sulfate (CuSO4)
Bole, or Bolar Earth
Clays which adhere to the tongue when applied dry and which are colored yellow and red by a ferruginous (Iron Oxide) earth.
Bone Ash
Impure Calcium Carbonate. (CaCO3). Also an impure Calcium Phosphate, Ca3(PO4)2
Bone Black
Animal charcoal prepared from bones and blood charcoal.
Sodium Tetraborate (Na2B407 . 10H2O).
An alloy of Copper and Zinc.
Manganese Dioxide (MnO2).
An isotope of Protactinium produced in Uranium decay, namely 234Pa (half-life = 1.6 min) [Fajans 1913] (Yes, Yes, I Know. It doesn't belong in this section.)
(from German Brennstein "burning stone") Sulphur (S). [Boyle]
Bromcresol Green
C21H14Br4O5S, an acid-base indicator that changes from yellow to blue as the pH is raised through 5
Bromcresol Purple
C21H16Br2O5S, an acid-base indicator that changes from yellow to purple as the pH is raised through 6
Bromphenol Blue
Tetrabromophenolsulphonphthalein, C19H10Br4O5S, an acid-base indicator that changes color from yellow to blue as the pH rises through 3.8
Bromphenol Red
Dibromophenolsulphonphthalein, C19H12Br2O5S, an acid-base indicator that changes color from yellow to red as the pH rises through 6.5
Bromthymol Blue
Dibromothymolsulfonphthalein, C27H38Br2O5S, an acid-base indicator that changes from yellow to blue as the pH rises through 6.8.
An alloy of Copper and Tin.
Brunswick Green
A basic Copper Oxychloride, CuOCl.Cu(OH)2, or a green Copper Carbonate.
Buddling Dish
A flat pan or vat used in washing ores.
Burning Spirit of Saturn
Impure Acetone (CH3COCH3).
Burnt Alum
Exsiccated Alum (AIK (SO4)2. Product of heating Potassium Alum.
Burnt Lime
See Quicklime.
Butter of Antimony
Deliquescent  white crystalline Antimony Trichloride (SbCl3).  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 Arsenic
Arsenic Trichloride (AsCl3); Arsenic III Chloride [J. Davy, Lavoisier]
Butter of Tin
Hydrated Stannic Chloride, SnCl4.5H2O + 1/2 its weight in water.
Butter of Zinc
Zinc Chloride (ZnCl2) + 1/4 its weight in water.
Butyrum Antimonii
See Butter of Antimony.

Return to Top

Cadet's Fumming Liquid (Cadet's Lequid)
A heavy brown liquid first prepared by the French chemist Louis Claude Cadet de Gassicort. Cadet's liquid is highly toxic, smells strongly of garlic, and spontaneously bursts into flame when exposed to air. It is mainly Cacodyl Oxide, ((CH3)2As)2O, with other Cacodyl compounds such as Dicacodyl, ((CH3)2As)2). Berzelius coined the name Kakodyl (later changed to Cacodyl) for the Dimethylarsinyl Radical, (CH3)2As, from the Greek Kakodes (evil-smelling) and Hyle (matter).
Cadmia (Cadmia Fornacea, Cadmia Fornacum )
A term used for various forms of several substances, including Cobalt. Minerals containing Carbonates of Zinc and various compounds of Iron, among other things, were often called cadmia or "calamine."  It was also called Tuttia or Tutty.   An older name for the common zinc ore Calamine; also applied to a sublimed Zinc Oxide and to a Cobalt Ore. (The element now called Cadmium is often found associated with Zinc.) [Agricola]
In its purest form, Zinc Carbonate (ZnCO3). Two ores of Zinc were known by this name: Zinc Carbonate (ZnCO3, also known as Smithsonite) and Hydrous Zinc Silicate (Zn2SiO4.H2O). They were distinguished by Smithson in 1802, but the term continued to be applied to both ores. The Silicate was sometimes distinguished as siliceous or electric calamine. calamine
Calamy (Calamine)
Zinc Carbonate (ZnCO3), sometimes (Zn2SiO4 . H2O).
Calcareous Earth
Calcium Oxide, CaO (Lime, Quicklime). [Black, Lavoisier
Calcareous Earth, Caustic
Calcium Hydroxide, Ca(OH)2 (Slaked Lime)  
Calcareous Earth, Mild
Usually chalk (CaCO3). Also possible magnesia and/or alumina and/or barytes. Also lime. (Chalk, Carbonate of Lime).
Calcarium Potentiale
Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3).
Calcic Liver of Sulfur
Calcium Sulfide (CaS).
The action of fire on mineral substances in which the reactants (a) often lose a noticeable amount of weight, (b) acquire
a white color, (c) become friable (easily crumbled or pulverized). Almost always, a very high heat is employed. Formation of a Calx, i.e., oxidation of a metal, often by roasting. [Bacon, Black, Rey]
Calcined Metals
Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3)
Any hard formation on the surface of a liquid or another solid.
Mercurous Chloride (Hg2Cl2)  Also known as Mercury (I) Chloride.  Purgative, made by subliming a mixture of Mercuric Chloride and metallic Mercury, triturated in a mortar. This was heated in a iron pot, a crust of calomel formed on the lid which was ground to powder and boiled with water to remove the very poisonous Mercuric Chloride.
a postulated Elastic Fluid associated with heat. [Avogadro, Davy, Dalton, Lavoisier, et al.]  
Plural Calces. Any powder obtained by strongly heating a substance in air. Almost always a Metal Oxide (Earth), the result of roasting a metal or mineral. [Rey, Stahl] Sometimes used for a particular calx, namely Lime.
Calx Acetosell
Calcium Oxalate (CaC2O4)
Calx Aerata
Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3)
Calx Citrata
Calcium Citrate (Ca3(C6H5C7)2. 4 H2O).
Calx Molybdaenata
Calcium Molybdate (CaMoO4)
Calx of Antimony
Antimony Trioxide (Sb2O3)
Calx of Gold
Not a true compound, but small discolored pieces of gold formed after exposure to relatively high heat.
Calx of Stone
Calcium Oxide (CaO).
Calx Plumbi Aerata
See White Lead.
Calx Saccharata
Calcium Oxalate (CaC2O4).
Calx Tartarisata
Calcium Tartrate (CaC4H4O6. 4H2O).
Calx Viva
Quicklime (CaO).
Camphire (Camphora, Canfora, Etc.)
See Camphor.
An aromatic extract from the sap of certain trees found in Brazil and the Far East.
Caput Mortum
Most commonly signifies any solid residue remaining after dry distillation. Sometimes used for Ferric Oxide (Fe2O3)
Carbolic Acid
Phenol, C6H5OH.
Carbonate of Lime
Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3).
Carbonic Acid
Formerly referred to Carbon Dioxide (CO2). (Fixed Air) [Dalton; but also Arrhenius, Maxwell, Mendeleev, Rutherford, J. J. Thomson et al.]
Carbonic Oxide
Carbon Monoxide (CO).  [Dalton, Gay-Lussac, Maxwell, Ramsay, T. Thomson et al.]
Carburetted Hydrogen Gas
Methane (CH4) [Prout]
Caro's Acid
Permonosulfuric acid (i.e., Peroxymonosulfuric acid), H2SO5, first prepared by Heinrich Caro in 1898.
Cassel Yellow
Lead Oxychloride, PbCl2.2PbO (Mineral Yellow).
Auer von Welsbach's name for lutetium, Lu.
Cathartic Salt of Glauber
Sodium Sulphate (Na2SO4).
Cathode Rays
Sometimes Kathode Rays in 19th century English translations: streams of electrons issuing from the cathode of an evacuated tube. They were identified as what are now called electrons late in the 19th century. [Perrin, Rutherford, J. J. Thomson] Hydroxides.
Caustic Alkalis
Hydroxides (-OH¯).
Caustic Baryta
Barium Hydroxide (Ba (OH)2. 8H2O).
Caustic Calcareous Earth
Calcium Hydroxide (Ca(OH)2).
Caustic Ley (Caustic Lees, Etc.)
See Caustic Lye.
Caustic Lye
Since "lye" had several meanings, this phrase was often used to refer specifically to the three strong mineral (NaOH, KOH, and NH4OH) bases and usually meant Potassium Hydroxide (KOH).
Caustic Ponderous Earth
Hydrated Barium Hydroxide (Ba (OH)2 . 8H2O).
Caustic Marine Alkali 
See Caustic Soda. Sodium hydroxide. Made by adding lime to natron.
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.
Causticuni antimoniale
Probably Antimony Trichloride (SbCl3)
Barium Sulphate (BaSO4)
Celsius Scale
Temperature scale devised in the early 18th century by a certain Elvius from Sweden (1710), a Christian of Lyons (1743), and the botanist Linnaeus (1740), apparently independently. Temperatures on this scale are denoted by °C. The normal freezing point of water is 0°C and the normal boiling point of water is 100°C. The scale was named after Anders Celsius who proposed a similar scale in 1742, but designating the freezing point to be 100 and the boiling point to be 0. The scale is sometimes also called the Centigrade scale. (See Fahrenheit Scale, Kelvin Scale, Rankine Scale, Réaumur Scale.)
Any process by which a solid is caused to penetrate and combine with another substance.
Cendres Gravellees
Potassium Carbonate (K2CO2).
Cerusa (Ceruse) (Cerussa)
See White Lead.
Cerusse Antimony
White Antimony Trioxide (Sb2O3).
Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3).  (Carbonate of Lime, Mild Calcareous Earth). [Lavoisier; Priestley; T. Thomson]. Acid of chalk is Carbon Dioxide, CO2 (Carbonic Acid, Fixed Air) [Lavoisier]
Chalybeate (Water)
Any water which is impregnated or flavored with Iron.
Chalybs cum Sulphure Preparatus
Ferrous Sulfide (FeS).
Chalybs Tartar (Tartarified Iron)
A substance produced by the action of Cream of Tartar on Iron filling. Probably (FeC4H4O6).
Chamber Crystals
Nitrosyl Sulfate, NO.HSO4, formed in lead chambers of sulfuric acid manufacture.
Chile Nitre
Sodium Nitrate (NaNO3)
Chile Saltpeter
Sodium Nitrate (NaNO3)
Chrome Green
Mixture of Chromic Oxide, Cr2O3, and Cobalt Oxide.
Chrome Orange
Mixture of chrome yellow and chrome red.
Chrome Red
Basic Lead Chromate, PbCrO4.PbO.
Chrome Yellow (Paris Yellow, Leipzig Yellow)
Lead Chromate, PbCrO4.
Chromic Acid
Chromium Trioxide, Chromium (VI) oxide, CrO3, or its formal hydrate, H2CrO4
Sometimes the modern term alchemical is more accurate than chemical. Similarly chymist often means alchemist. [Boyle
Chymists Spirit
Any solution of Ammonia (NH4OH).
Cineres Clavellati
Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3).
Cinnabar or Vermillion
Mercuric Sulfide (HgS).
Cinnabar of Antimony
Mercuric Sulphide (HgS), when produced by heating together Mercuric Chloride and crude Antimony (Antimony Trisulfide).
Cyclic distillation or refluxing.
Citrated Alkalies
Any stiff but malleable and sticky mineral solid.
Any vapors from the detonation of nitre with other substances which have been condensed and collected, as in clyssus of Sulphur.
Reducing fluids to solid form.
A precipitate.
Cobalt ore. Pure Cobalt was regulus of cobalt (CoAsS).  Named by the copper miners of the Hartz Mountains after the evil spirits the "kobolds" which gave a false copper ore.
Cobalt, Black
A native, earthy Cobalt
Cobalt, Blue
A pigment containing Cobalt (II) Oxide, CoO; Zinc Oxide, ZnO; and chalcedony, an amorphous quartz, SiO2.
Cobalt, Green
A green pigment, solid solution of Cobalt (II) and Zinc Oxides, CoO and ZnO
Cobalt, Red
Erythrite, a native Cobalt Arsenate, Co3(AsO4)2.8H2O
Cobalt, Violet
Cobalt (II) Phosphate, Co3(PO4)2.2H2O, a pigment in oil paints.
Cobalt, Yellow
Cobalt (III) Potassium Nitrite, K3Co(NO2)6.xH2O
A scarlet dye made from the insect Coccus cacti, native to Mexico and Central America.
Any process in which heat was applied over a long period. This term usually implied less strenuous applications of heat than calcination, but it was used more broadly than decoction.
Repeated distillations, or any cyclic process in which a liquid is vaporized and condensed as, for example, in refluxing.
Any colorless Sulfates (Vitriols) in which the water of hydration was removed (-SO4).
Ferric Oxide (Fe2O3), by-product from Sulfuric Acid, H2SO4 manufacture (Paris red) [Lavoisier]
Colcothar Vitrioli
Red Oxide of Iron (Fe2O3 . FeO) produced by heating Green Vitriol.
Filtration through a relatively coarse filter, e.g., a hair sieve, woolen cloth, etc.
A resinous substance from distillation of light oil from turpentine.
An older name for Niobium, Nb
Common Ammoniac
Ammonium Chloride (NH4Cl).
Common Caustic
Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) or, less often, Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH).
Common Magnesia
Magnesium Carbonate (MgCO3).
Common Mineral Alkali
Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3).
Common Nitre (Saltpeter)
Potassium Nitrate (KNO3).
Common Salt
Sodium Chloride (NaCl).
Any process in which the solute/solvent ratio is increased. Less often, this term was used to describe the separation of
a substance A from a substance B joining it to a third substance, C.
Solidified, congealed, coagulated, or (as verb) to unite, combine physically, as in solidity. Very rarely used for chemical combinations.
Concrete Volatile Alkali
Ammonium Carbonate ((NH4)2CO3).
Congo, Blue, (Diamine Blue, Niagara Blue, Trypan Blue)
C17H12N3O7S2Na2, A blue dye and antimalarial compound.
Congo, Red
C32H22N6O6S2Na2, a red azo dye and acid-base indicator that changes from blue to red as the pH rises.
Congo Yellow
An orange-yellow dye, C24H18O4N5SNa
Copperas, See Vitriol.
Originally Blue Vitriol. Also Ferrous Sulfate (FeSO4 . 7H2O).   Later sometimes used for the entire class of Vitriols (Sulfates).
Copperas, Blue
Copper Sulfate, CuSO4
Copperas, Green
A native Iron (II) Sulfate, FeSO4.7H2O
Copperas, White
Coppiapite (native Fe4S5O18.H2O)
Copperas, Yellow
Zinc Sulfate, ZnSO4.
Copper Glance
Cuprous Sulphide ore.
Corneous (Horn) Lead
Lead Chloride (PbCl2).
Any process in which a whole or coarsely ground substance is granulated.
Cornu Cervi
Impure Ammonium Carbonate ((NH4)2CO3).
Generally (and still) a small particle; in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a competing name for the electron. [J. J. Thomson]
Corrosive Sublimate
Mercuric Chloride (HgCl2). First mentioned by Geber, who prepared it by subliming Mercury, Calcined Green Vitriol, Common Salt and Nitre. [Scheele]
Aluminum Oxide. (Al2O3)
To give off intermittent flashes of light, to sparkle.
Coupier's Blue
Azodiphenyl, C24H18N2, a blue dye. 
Cream of Lime
Fine precipitate of Calcium Hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) from water.
Cream of Tartar (Tartar)
Potassium Hydrogen Tartrate (KHC4H4O).
Calcium Sulfate (CaSO4).
Any scum gathering at or near top of a liquid. Also, a thickening or change in color or consistency on top or within a liquid.
Cresol, Purple
m-cresolsulfonphthalein, C21H18O5S, an acid-base indicator that changes from red to yellow as the pH rises through 2.
Cresol, Red
o-cresolsulfonphthalein, C21H18O5S, an acid-base indicator that changes from yellow to red as the pH rises through 8.
Creta Alba
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate Dihydrate) (CaSO4 . 2H2O).
Any solid of a saffron or reddish color, as in Crocus of Mars. A yellow or reddish powdered calx (Oxide)
Crocus of Antimony (Antimonii, Metallorum)
An impure antimony oxysulfide
Crocus of Copper
Cuprous Oxide, Cu2O.
Crocus Martis
Ferric Oxide (Fe2O3).
Crocus of Iron
Ferric Oxide. Also referenced as Iron Sesquioxide or Iron Peroxide. [Scheele].
Crocus of Mars
Ferric Oxide.
Crocus Saturni
Red Lead (minium) (Pb3O4).
Crookes Tube
A highly exhausted electrical discharge tube, named for William Crookes, who experimented with such tubes.
Crude Antimony
Natural Antimony Sulfide (Sb2S3).
Crude Flux
Nitre and tartar mixed in any proportion without detonation.
Crystalline Earths
Any solid which is (1) not attached in acids, (2) friable, (3) hard enough to strike fire with steel.
Crystallized Alkali
Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3).
Crystallized Verdigris
Cupric Acetate (Cu(C2H3O2)2 . H2O).
Crystallized Volatile Alkali
Ammonium Carbonate (NH4)2CO3.
Any process in which crystals are formed from a liquid. Usually accomplished through concentrating and/or cooling a solution.
Crystals of Copper
Mostly Copper Acetate (Cu(C2H3O2)2).
Crystals of Silver (Lunar Crystals)
Silver Nitrate, usually as a powder (AgNO3).
Crystals of Venus
Copper Acetate (Cu(C2H3O2)2).
Crystal Violet
Hexamethyl-p-rosaniline hydrochloride, C25H30N3Cl, an acid-base indicator that changes from green to blue as the pH passes through 1.0.
Cubic Nitre
Crystallized Sodium Nitrate (NaNO3).
The lower part of an alembic. Shorter, more squat and ovoid than a matrass.
Red Cuprous Oxide ore.
Cyprian Vitriol
Copper Sulfate (CuSO4).

Return to Top

Any dangerous vapors in caves, mines etc.
To a separate the supernatant liquid from a solid precipitate by pouring the liquid off, being careful that all of the solid remains in the vessel.
Continuous application of boiling heat to a reaction mixture.
Doubly compounded, or composed of three or more substances.
Rapid physical decomposition of some crystals when heated. Characterized by a crackling noise.
To cause a substance to burn rapidly, with flame.
The property some crystalline substances have of dissolving spontaneously in liquid absorbed from the air.
Change of salt from a solid to a fluid state by contact with air only.
See Semi-Metals
To remove water from a solution, usually one of an acid or alcohol. There is a sense of purifying about the term, as opposed to simple concentration.
Dephlogisticated Acid of Salt
Chlorine (Cl2).
Dephlogisticated Air
Oxygen (O2).
Dephlogisticated Calx of Iron
Ferrous Oxide (Hydroxide) (FeO or Fe(OH)2).
Dephlogisticated Marine Acid
Chlorine (Cl2). (Oxymuriatic Acid). See Marine Acid. [Scheele]
To free from impurities, purify.
The process of removing scaly crusts which form on a surface.
Any rapid chemical reaction accompanied by noise and often heat and light, e.g., explosions.
Any substance which induces perspiration when administered to a patient.
Diaphoretic Antimony
Mixture of a Antimony Oxide and Potassium Antimonate (Sb2O3; KSbO3).
A mixture of Praseodymium, Pr, and Neodymium, Nd, believed to be an element until 1885. [Mendeleev, Newlands].
The process in which heat is continuously applied to a substance without boiling it (usually in open vessels).
Digestive Salt
Potassium Chloride (KCl).
Digestive Salt of Sylvius
Potassium Chloride (KCl).
Diminished Nitrous Air (Priestly)
Nitrous Oxide (N2O).
A process in which all or some portion of a substance is vaporized and then condensed and collected.
Distillation Per Ascensum
Distillation with the collecting vessel above the heated vessel.
Distillation Per Decensum
Any distillation where the collecting vessel is below the heated vessel.
Distillation Per Obliquium
Distillation in a retort used for substances of (a) relatively low vapor pressure and (b) other properties that make distillation difficult, e.g., honey.
Distillation with Addition
Adding some substance prior to distillation that will aid the process by (1) loosening the desired volatile product chemically from its compound; (2) fixing the product not desired, thus retaining it in the vessel; (3) by adding a volatile substance desired, thus making the fixed substance volatile (addition of properties).
Diuretic Salt
Potassium Acetate (KC2H3O2).
Any process in which mixtures are separated into their homogeneous components by mechanical means.
Dram, Drachm
See Apothecary Measures.
Dry Way
Term used for all operations that are conducted without adding a liquid medium. Reactions done through fusion, however, are still regarded in the dry way.
Any process in which a caustic substance is rendered less corrosive.
Dutch Oil (Dutch Liquid, Oil of the Dutch Chemists)
Ethylene Chloride, C2H4Cl2, first prepared by the action of Chlorine on Ethylene (hence Olefiant Gas) in 1794 by four Dutch chemists: Johann Rudolph Deimann, Adrien Paets van Troostwyck, Anthoni Lauwerenburgh and Nicolas Bondt. [Wurtz].
Dutch White
Mixture of one part of White Lead to three of Barium Sulphate, (BaSO4).

Return to Top

Usually a Carbonate, Oxide or Hydroxide. Earths were originally classified by physical properties as absorbent, crystalline, and dry, insipid, not inflammable, fusible solids which often recovered their original texture after fusion. A Metal Oxide (Calx); see Calcareous Earth, Magnesian Earth, Siliceous Earth. [Dalton, Priestley, Scheele, T. Thomson]
Earth, Calcareous, Caustic
Calcium Hydroxide (Ca(OH)2).
Earth, Mild Calcareous
Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3).
Earth, Mild Magnesian
Magnesium Carbonate (MgCO3)
Earth, Silicous
Silica (SiO2)
Earth Rhubarb
Calcium Oxalate (CaC2O4)
Earthy Salts
Compound of acids and earths.
Eau Forte
(Strong Water) Usually concentrated Nitric Acid (HNO3), sometimes (1) spirit of wine (Ethanol, CH3CH2OH), (2) Caustic Soda solution.
The agitating, bubbling action of a liquid that is undergoing rapid, active boiling.
Edulcorated Quicksilver
Mercurous Chloride (Hg2Cl2)
The washing of a solid (often a precipitate) with water to free it from soluble impurities such as salts and acids. Because of the latter, there are overtones of sweetening, purification, and softening with this term.
A mixture of an oil and sugar. Used to make oils soluble in water, wines, spirits, etc.
Elastic Fluid
Usually a descriptive term for gas (Air) [Black, Dalton, Gay-Lussac, Lavoisier, T. Thomson et al.]; however, certain elastic fluids were postulated that correspond to no actual material (Caloric, Ether, Phlogiston). A gas is an "elastic fluid," elastic in that it is compressible in a reversible way and fluid in that it flows.
Medicinals in the form of a paste or conserve.
The action of boiling or stewing.
Separation and purification of a mixture of granular solids with water by (a) decanting, (b) straining, or (c) washing.
A radioactive gas (Radon) produced in the decay of other radioactive elements. Specifically, Thorium Emanation (also Thoron) is 220Rn (half life = 55 s) produced from the decay of Thorium; Radium Emanation is 222Rn (half life = 3.8 d) produced from the decay of Radium; Actinium Emanation (also Actinon) is 219Rn (half life = 4 s). See Niton and Table of Isotopes.
Any substance that induces vomiting.
Emetic Powder
Potassium Antimonyl Tartrate (KSbC4H4O7 . (1/2) H2O)
Emplastrum Simplex
Impure Lead Oleate (Pb(C18H33O2)2)
Tasting or smelling or burnt organic matter.
Empyreumatic Oils
Liquid oils that (a) are acid, (b) are soluble, (c) do not retain the taste and odor of the substance from which they are obtained, (d) have a taste and/or odor of burnt organic matter.
Enfiladid Ballon
A spherical vessel with opposed, necked openings.
English Laxative Salt
Magnesium Sulphate (MgSO4)
English Salt
See Bitter Salt
Ens Martis
A mixture probably consisting of Iron Chlorides and Ammonium Chloride. Used as a medicine.
Ens Veneris
A mixture probably consisting of Copper Chlorides and Ammonium Chloride. Used as a medicine.
Epsom Salts
Magnesium Sulfate, MgSO4.7H2O; See Bitter Salt.
See Assay
Any essential oil.
Essential Oil
Any oil that smells the same as the vegetable from which it was obtained and has a low boiling point (below that of water)
Essential Oil of Turpentine
The most volatile portion of turpentine.
Etain de Glace
Bismuth (Bi)
In the 18th century, Alykyl Chlorides and Nitrates often were confused with true ethers, such as Ethyl Ether (CH3CH2-O-CH2CH3).
Ether, Chemistry
Originally the name of a volatile compound resulting from the action of an acid on alcohol. The current meaning is an organic compound whose formula is ROR', where R and R' are alkyl or aryl groups; especially Diethyl Ether, C2H5OC2H5. Some ethers in the older sense include: Acetic Ether, (Ethyl Acetate, C2H5O2C2H3); Muratic Ether, (Ethyl Chloride, C2H5C); Nitric Ether, (Ethyl Nitrate, C2H5NO3. Also referred to as Aether Nitri [Scheele]); Nitrous Ether, (Ethyl Nitrite, C2H5NO2. Also referred to as Spirit of Nitre); Sulfuric Ether, (Diethyl Ether, C2H5OC2H5 [Gay-Lussac]).
Ether, Physics (Aether, Luminiferous Ether)
A hypothetical Elastic Fluid postulated to support the transmission of light. [Clausius, Röntgen, J. J. Thomson ].
Ether of Benzoin
Ehtyl Benzoate (C9H10O2)
Ether of Nitre
Mainly Ethyl Nitrite (C2H5NO2)
Ether of Vinegar
Ethyl Acetate (C4H10O2)
Ether of Vitriol
Ethyl Ether (C4H10O)
Ethiops Mineral, Aethiops Mineral
Mostly black Mercury (I) Sulfide (Hg2S).
Ethyl, Aethyle
The hydrocarbon radical C2H5-.
Ethyl Gas, Ethyl Gasoline
Leaded gasoline, i.e., gasoline including Tetraethyllead, (C2H5)4Pb, as an additive.
Ethyl Red
According to Hackh's dictionary, C23H23N2, a Quinoline dye and acid-base indicator that changes from colorless to red as the pH rises through 5.4; current chemical catalogs say C17H19N3O2.
Name given by Humphry Davy to a bright green gas he believed to be a compound of Chlorine and Oxygen; in fact, it seems to have been mixture of Chlorine Dioxide and Chlorine. [H. Davy, J. Davy].
Any process in which the liquid portion of a solution or mixture is vaporized, often with the help of heat.
Everitt's Salt
Potassium Ferrous Ferrocyanide, K2Fe[Fe(CN)6]
To make more spiritous, volatile, or generally more active; activate.
To dry; remove moisture.
When parts of substances are separated by heat from the solid and fly off into the air. Used as a tool to obtain fixed parts as well as volatile parts. This includes calcination, distillation, etc.
To separate a component from organic matter or any other solids or semisolids by squeezing the material in a press. A mechanical rather than chemical means of separation.
Extemporaneous Alkali
See white flux.
To separate one substance from others by using solvents.
Extract of Lead
Impure Lead Acetate (Pb(C2H3O2)2).
Extract of Mars
Solid Ferrous Tartrate (FeC4H4O6).
The escape of an organic fluid (e.g., blood, sap) from its proper vessels into surrounding tissues.

Return to Top

Fahrenheit Scale
The temperature scale devised in 1717 by D. G. Fahrenheit and denoted by °F. The normal freezing point of water is 32°F and the normal boiling point of water is 212°F. (See Celsius Scale, Kelvin Scale, Rankine Scale, Réaumur Scale.)  
The second identifiable, thin, and light liquid fraction from distillation.
To pulverize or mascerate.
Febrifugal Salt
Potassium Sulphate (K2SO4).
Febrifugal Salt of Sylvius
Potassium Chloride (KCl).
A substance actually fermenting, inclined to ferment, or used to cause fermentation, e.g., yeast.
Ferro Prussiate
Potassium Ferricyanide.
Latin for Iron, hence the symbol Fe
Fetid Oil
Any oil substance that was empyreumatic, i.e., had the odor of burned animal matter.
To separate a liquid from a particulate solid by passing the liquid through a porous material, e.g., cloth or paper.
Finery Cinder
Iron Oxide (Fe3O4).
Fire Air (Scheele)
Oxygen (O2).
Fixed Air
Carbon Dioxide (CO2).  [aer fixus Scheele]
Fixed Alkali (Soda)
Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3).
Fixed Alkali Salt
Solid Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3).
Fixed Ammoniac (Fixed Sal Ammoniac)
Calcium Chloride (CaCl2).
Fixed Nitrate
Usually Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3); sometime Potassium Sulfate (K2SO4).
Fixed Sulphur of Antimony
Oxides of Antimony, probably primarily the Trioxide (Sb2O3) which forms when Antimony Ore (Sb2S3) is heated in air. Antimony Calx.
Fixed Vegetable Alkali
Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3).
The degree of solidity of a substance as measured by the ability of that substance to resist the action of fire. The opposite of volatility.
See Flowers.
Flores ac Vitrum Antimony
Probably Antimony Trioxide (Sb2O3) with small amounts of Antimony Trisulfide (Sb2S3).
Flores Antim
See Flowers of Antimony.
Flores Benzoini
Benzoic Acid (C6H5COOH).
Flores Martiales (Ens Veneris)
Impure Ammonium Chloride (NH4Cl). Also includes iron filing used in the reaction, with possibly some Chlorides of Iron. Also Ferriammonium Chloride, NH4FeCl4. See Flowers.
Flores Martis
Anhydrous Ferric chloride.
Flores Sulfurous
See Flowers of Sulfur.
Flores Viridis Aeris
Crystallized Cupric Acetate (Cu(C2H3O2)2).
Flores Zinc
See Flowers of Zinc.
Flowers (Flores)
Any solid, often an Oxide, product of sublimation. Usually a powder.
Flowers of Antimony
Antimony Trioxide (Sb2O3). Also referrenced as Antimony Oxysulfide, Sb2O3.Sb2S3 (also called Antimony Red);
Flowers of Arsenic (White Arsenic)
Arsenious Oxide (As2O3). [Lavoisier, Priestley] Also called Pompholix.
Flowers of Benjamin
See Flowers of Benzoin.
Flowers of Benzoin
Benzoic Acid (C6H5COOH).
Flowers of Phosphorus
Volatile Oxides of Phosphorous (P2O3; P2O5).
Flowers of Sulfur
Sublimed and condensed sulfur vapors (S). Light yellow crystalline powder, made by distilling sulphur.
Flowers of Tin
Tin Oxide, SnO2 [Lavoisier, Priestley] Also called Pompholix.
Flowers of Zinc
Volatile Zinc Oxide (ZnO). [Lavoisier, Priestley] Also called Pompholix.
Fluor (as adjective)
Flowing, an adjective indicating that the substance cannot be made solid, e.g., flour volatile alkali,; or, in referring to a mineral, a solid that is easily fusible.
Fluor Acid Air
Silicon Fluoride (SiF4).
Fluorspar (Fluor Spar, Fluor)
Calcium Fluoride (CaF2). Fluor was originally applied to readily fusible minerals, particularly those containing Fluorine, espeically Fluorite (Calcium Fluoride, CaF2). Fluorspar for CaF2 dates to the late 18th century; Fluorite to the 1860s.
Focus of a Furnace
That part of a furnace where the fuel is actually burned.
Foliated Earth of Tartar
Potassium Acetate (KC2H2O2).
Any mineral substance.
Fossil Alkali
Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3). (Common Mineral Alkali, Marine Alkali, Soda)
Fossil Cadmia
A Cobalt mineral, probably Cobaltite (CoAsS).
Fossil Oil
Clear, distilled crude oil.
Having property of producing cold.
A substance which can act as a (usually opaque) surface coloring agent.
Soot or any black deposit from flames of oily substances.
A compound containing the CNO- ion, named because such compounds are explosive (from Latin, fulminare, to strike with lightning.
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.
Any very rapid reaction which produces heat, light, and noise; e.g., explosions.
Fuming Liquor of Boyle
Ammonium Polysulfide ((NH4)2Sy).
Fuming Liquor of Libavious
Stannic Chloride solution (SnCl4).
An invisible membrane postulated to hold up a column of mercury in the Torricellian experiment [Linus].
The changing a solid body to a liquid by the action of fire.

Return to Top

Lead sulfide (PbS). Plumbic sulphide. Chief ore of lead.  The slag remaining after refining lead.
A type of furnace in which several vessels are heated side by side simultaneously.
Parasitic growths, commonly found on oaks, which, when dried, ground, and dissolved were useful indicators for iron.
Gentle Calx of Lead
Lead Nitrate (Pb(NO3)2.
German Ash
Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3).
German Potash
Probably a mixture of Potassium Carbonate and Oxide.
German Vitriol
An ore with both Copper and Ferrous sulfates (CuSO4, FeSO4).
Galacial Oil of Antimony (Butter of Antimony)
Antimony Trichloride (SbCl3).
Glass-like, crystallized. This usage persists in terms such as glacial Acetic Acid and glacial Phosphoric Acid.
A mineral with a glassy appearance.
Glance, Antimony
See Antimony Glance.
Glance, Bismuth
Bismuthinite, Bi2S3
Glance, Iron
Hematite, Fe2S3
Glance, Nickel
A native arsenic sulfide, Ni2AsS.
Glance, Silver
See Silver Glance.
Glance, Tellurium
Nagyagite, a lead sulfotelluride that also contains gold and antimony.
Glass of a Substance
The fused form of the substance, especially if semitransparent.
Glass of Antimony
Antimony Oxysulfate (Sb2O2SO4). Prepared by fusion of Antimony Sulfide, Antimony, and an Oxide of Antimony. Impure Antimony Tetroxide, obtained by roasting Stibnite. Used as a yellow pigment for glass and porcelain.
Glass of Borax
Fused borax.
Glass of Lead
Any fused lead compound (especially ceruse, minium, or litharge).
Glauber's Alkahest (Alkahest of Van Helmont)
Concentrated Potassium Carbonate solution (K2CO3(aq)).
Glauber's Sal Ammoniac
Ammonium Sulphate (NH4)2SO4).
Glauber's Salt (Sal Mirabilis)
("sal mirabile" - wonderful salt) Sodium Sulphate (Na2SO4.10H2O). Named for Johann Glauber who prepared it.
Glauber's Spirit of Nitre
Fuming Mitric Acid (HNO3).
Globuli Martiales
Iron powder boiled in Cream of Tartar solution. Presumably contains some Ferrous Tartrate (FeC4H4O6). A pharmaceutical preparation of Iron.
Glucinum (Glucinum)
Beryllium (Be). [Berzelius, Marignac, Newlands, Ramsay].
Golden Spirit of Sulphur
Ammonium Sulphide ((NH4)2S).
Unit of mass. The English grain was equal to 1/7000 the mass of a pound avoirdupois, or 0.0648 grams; the French grain was 1/9216 of a Livre or about 0.0531 grams. For late 18th. century French system, see Livre. [J. Davy, Lavoisier, Priestley, Proust].
Grain Alcohol
Ethanol or Ethyl Alcohol.
Grain Vitriol
Ferrous Sulfate.
The residue left after extracting oils from animal fat by means of heat and moderate pressure.
Heavy or dense.
Green Salt
Uranium (IV) fluoride, UF4.
Green Vitriol (Vitriol of Mars)
Ferrous Sulfate (FeSO4).
Unit of mass in late 18th. century France; see Livre.
Grume(s) (Grumous)
(1) Viscous, clotty; (2) heap(s), clusters.
Guaic (Guyac, Guacium)
A tropical wood sometimes used for the resinous extract of that wood.
Resinous or musiloginous extracts from plants, shrubs, or trees.
Gum Acacia
Like gum arabic, but thought to be distinguishable from it; the dried resinous exudation of certain varieties of the acacia tree.
Gum Arabic
The dried exudation of certain varieties of the acacia tree.
Gum Benzoin
The dried resin of the tree Styrax benzoin.
Gum Dragon
See Gum Tragacanth.
Gum Lac
Dark-red resionous incrustation produced in certain trees by the insect Carteria lacca. When refined by certain processes it beomes "shell-lac" or "shellac."
Gum Tragacanth (Gum Dragon)
Dried gummy exhudation of the tree Astragalus gummifer and related speices.
Gypseous Earths
Used for both gypsum or the "earth" contained in it , i.e., Calcium Oxide. Sometimes the Oxide was confused with Carbonate as the "earth" of gypsum.
Gypseous Substances
Solid substances which (a) are not soluble in acids, (b) are not hard enough to strike fire from steel, (c) when mixed with water may form a paste which hardens into a solid, and (d) becomes powdery when exposed to fire.
Calcium Sulfate Dihydrate (CaSO4 . 2H2O).

Return to Top

Matter in a very subtile form, as a "vapor" or "exhalation." Like these, a "halitus" was often hypothesized if a phenomenon was ascribed to material causes, but no material could be detected by known means.
Hard Oil
Boiled Linseed Oil.
Hartshorn (Hart's Horn)
Ideally, the horn of the male European red deer, but the horns of other deer species were acceptable substitutes.
Hartshorn Calcined to Whiteness
Hartshorn subjected to heat over a long period and developing into a white substance.
Hartshorn Prepared Philosophically
Much like hart's horn calcined to whiteness, but usually with less heat and for a longer period.
The upper part of a distillation apparatus. Also, the bulb or other enlargement at the end of a tube.
Heavy Carburetted Hydrogen
Ethylene (C2H4).
Heavy Earth
Barium Oxide (BaO). Also Barium Hydroxide and Barium Carbonate.
Heavy Inflammable Air
Used at various times for (a) Carbon Monoxide (CO), (b) water gas (a mixture of H2 and CO), or (c) Methane (CH4).
Heavy Spar
Barium Sulfate (BaSO4).
A plant of the genus Helleborus. Usually Helleborus niger, the so-called "Christmas rose." The poisonous extract was used in dilute preparations as a medicinal in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The vulgar name for the poisonous plant Conium maculatum and/or its extract.
The plant Lawsonia inermis. The dried and powdered shoots and leaves were used as a dye or, with suitable medium, a cosmetic.
Hepar (Hepars)
This Latin word for liver referred to reddish-brown (i.e., liver-colored) metal Sulfides (-S2¯). See Sulphuret.
Hepar Antimonii
Antimony Trisulfide (Sb2S3).
Hepar Calcis
Calcium Sulfide (CaS).
Hepar Sulphuris (Liver of Sulphur)
Produced by heating Potassium Carbonate with sulphur. Not a true compound, it was a metastable mixture of Potassium Polysulfides and Sulfate (K2S, K2S2, K2S3, K2S4, K2S5, K2SO4). Hepar Sulphuris was synonym either for potassa sulphurata (a mixture of various compounds of Potassium and Sulfur made by fusing Potassium Carbonate and Sulfur) [Cavendish, Priestley, Stahl] or, in homeopathic contexts, for Calcium Sulfide, CaS.
Hepatic Air
Hydrogen Sulfide gas (H2S).
Hessian Crucible
A type of crucible made in Hesse, Germany, of a mixture of native clay and fine sand. Such crucibles were noted for being able to withstand sudden changes in temperature.
Homberg's (Sedative) Salt
Boric Acid (H3BO3 (ortho); H2B4O7 (tetra)).
Homoiomereia, Doctrine of (Homogeneity)
The parts of a body are in all respects similar to the whole. According to Democritus and the atomic school, after a certain number of sub-divisions, the drop would be divided into a number of parts each of which is incapable of further sub-division. We should thus, in imagination, arrive at the atom, which, as its name literally signifies, cannot be cut in two. This is the atomic doctrine of Democritus, Epicurus, and Lucretius.
According to Anaxagoras, on the other hand, the parts into which the drop is divided, are in all respects similar to the whole drop, the mere size of a body counting for nothing as regards the nature of its substance. Hence if the whole drop is divisible, so are its parts down to the minutest sub-divisions, and that without end.
Anaxagoras did not assert this of the parts of organised bodies such as men and animals, but he maintained that those inorganic substances which appear to us homogeneous are really so, and that the universal experience of mankind testifies that every material body, without exception, is divisible. The doctrine of atoms and that of homogeneity are thus in direct contradiction.
Horn (Corneous) Lead
Lead Chloride (PbCl2).
Horn Mercury
Chloride of Mercury (HgCl2; Hg2Cl2).
Horn Silver (Luna Cornea)
Fused Silver Chloride (AgCl).  Argentum Cornu, a glass like ore of Silver Chloride.
Horn Tin
Stannous Chloride (SnCl2).
Hungarian Vitriol
Usually Ferrous Sulfate (FeSO4) but also used for Copper Sulfate (CuSO4).
Latin for Mercury, hence the symbol Hg
Mixture of honey and water, usually in equal proportions. Ferments into "mead."