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Part of Johann Rudolf Glauber's work ‘Philosophical Furnaces’, this plate shows ‘Wooden Instruments that are to be used instead of [copper] Stills, Baths, and Cauldrons’. Figure I features distillation equipment consisting of a furnace (A), copper globe (B), distilling vessel (C), refrigerator (D) and receiver (E). Figure II shows a ‘Balneum’ and a ‘Wooden Vessel for the making of Beer’. Figure III includes ‘A Tub for a moist Bath’ and ‘A wooden Box for a dry Bath to provoke sweat with Volatile Spirits’. Plate facing p. 55 in the book The works of the highly experienced and famous chymist, John Rudolph Glauber, containing great variety of choice secrets in medicine and alchymy … (English translation by Christopher Packe, London, 1689).
Glauber (ca. 1604–70), an alchemist, chemist and chemical engineer, made several improvements to chemical processes and equipment, including furnaces and devices used in distillation. He published more than 40 books in his lifetime, the most significant of which were collated and translated into English by Christopher Packe (a follower of Robert Boyle) to form a posthumous ‘collected works’ edition.