Take of any mineral liquor and set it in an open vessel in the sun for a good space, and it will be augmented in quantity and weight. But some will say that this proceeds from the air, to the which I answer and demand whether the air had not this impregnation from the sun, and what the air has in itself that proceeds not from the sun and stars.
Put this liquor in a cold cellar or in a moist air, and you shall find that it increases not in weight, as it does in the sun or in the fire (which has in this respect some analogy with the sun). I do not say but haply it might attract some little moisture which is soon exhaled by any small heat. Dissolve any sulphurous and imperfect metal, as iron, copper, or zinc, in aqua fortis or any other acid spirit. Then abstract the spirit from it. Make it glowing hot, yet not too hot, so that the spirit may only vapor away. Then weigh this metal calx and set it in a crucible over the fire. But melt it not, only let it darkly glow, let it stand so three or four weeks, and then take it off and weigh it again. You shall find it heavier than before.
Set any sulphurous metal, as iron or copper, with sixteen or eighteen parts of lead on a test made with ashes of wood or bones in a probatory furnace. First weigh the test copper and lead before you put them into the furnace. Let the iron or copper fly away with the lead, yet not with toe strong a heat. Then take the test out and weigh it, and you shall find it (though the metals be gone) when it is cold to be heavier than it was when it was put into the furnace with the metals. The question is now whence this heaviness of all the aforesaid minerals and metals proceeded, if that the heat of the sun and fire through the help of the minerals and metals be not fixed into a palpable mineral and metal body?
Set a test with lead or copper in the sun. With a concave glass unite the beams of the sun, and let them fall on the center of the metal. Hold the concave glass in your hand, and let your test never be cold. This will be as well done in the sun as in the fire. But this concave must be two feet in diameter, and not too hollow or deep, but about the eighteenth or twentieth part of the circle, so that it may the better cast its beams forth. It must be very well polished.
Calcine antimony with a burning glass and you shall see it smoke and fume and be made drier than before, yet weigh it and it will be heavier than before.
I shall take in, for the confirmation of all this, a relation of Sir Kenelme Digby concerning the precipitating of the sun beams. I remember (says he) a rare experiment that a nobleman of much sincerity and a singular friend of mine told me he had seen which was, that by means of glasses made in a very particular manner and artificially placed one by another, he had seen the sun beams gathered together and precipitated down to a brownish or purplish red powder. There (says he) could be no fallacy in this operation. For nothing whatsoever was in the glass when they were placed and disposed for this intent. And it must be in the hot time of the year, else the effect would not follow. Of this magistery he could gather some days nearly two ounces, and it was a strong volatile virtue, and would impress its spiritual quality into gold itself (the heaviest and most fixed body we converse withal!) in a very short time.
I leave it now to the reader to judge whether the beams of the sun and and the heat of the fire add weight to minerals and metals.
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