Readers of Dickens can not fail to remember the bottle of "Nine Oils" which Sissy Jupe got for her father, and kept so long waiting for his return. This favorite old remedy has disappeared from modern pharmacopoeias, and few druggists know what it is. The following is the old recipe for compounding it: -
Train-oil 1 gallon, oil of turpentine 1 quart, oil of brick and amber, each 5 ozs.; camphorated spirits of wine, 10 ozs.; Bar-badoes tar, 2 1/2 lbs.; oil of vitriol, 1 oz.
It used to be a favorite remedy with farriers, and also with workmen who were much exposed to bruises, etc.
This ingredient is frequently named in old prescriptions and recipes. It is simply olive-oil, into which is thrown a few pieces of porous brick, made red-hot. The vessel is immediately covered over with a still or alembic head, and fire being put beneath, the oil is distilled. The product was supposed to possess very peculiar and valuable properties. It is extremely limpid, almost like water, is colorless, and does not dry up readily nor clog when drying, nor is it fat and greasy like the fixed oils. It is used in several quack medicines; and in mechanics is employed by the lapidary as a vehicle to hold the diamond-dust which he is in the habit of using.
An article very different from that just described, but which is generally sold in the shops for oil of brick, is composed of linseed-oil, 1 lb.; spirits of turpentine, 8 ozs.; oil of hartshorn, 1 oz.; Barbadoes tar, 1 oz. Mix together with aid of heat. This is useless for any purpose in the arts, but is sometimes employed as an embrocation in gout, rheumatism, palsy, etc.
During the days of oil-gas there was found in the vessels in which the oil was compressed for use in portable gas-lamps an oil known as "oil-gas oil." One thousand cubic feet of oil-gas yielded by compression nearly a gallon of this oil, which was used for dissolving india-rubber and for various purposes in the arts. Gray says that it is the best rubber solvent known, and that in the making of many varnishes which are required to dry quickly it is invaluable. It is entirely unknown now in the arts, but it is probable that it owed all its good properties to benzole (not the liquid commonly known as benzine).
The first of those phosphort which gave rise to what we now call luminous paint was that known as Bologuian stone. It was discovered by Vincenzio Cascariola, a shoemaker of Bologna, about the year 1630. This man having found near Monte Paterno a very heavy shining substance (sulphate of barytes or heavy spar) supposed that it must contain silver, and he consequently exposed it to heat, in the hope of extracting that metal. He failed to get any silver, but he found that whenever the mineral, after being heated and exposed to strong sunlight, was placed in a dark room, it continued to emit faint rays of light for some hours afterwards. In consequence of this interesting discovery the Bolognian spar came into considerable demand among natural philosophers and the curious in general, so that the best method of preparing it became an object of even some pecuniary importance; for, as the reader must remember, this was long before the day of lucifer matches. The family of Zagoni were the most successful in this pursuit; and in consequence furnished large quantities of Bolognian phosphorus to all parts of Europe, till the subsequent discovery of more powerful phosphori put an end to their monopoly.
The best method of preparing the mineral is first to heat it to ignition; then finely powder it, and make it into a paste with mucilage. This paste is to be divided into pieces about a quarter of an inch thick, which are then dried in a moderate heat and afterwards carefully calcined at a red heat. Some management is requisite in conducting the calcination that it may be neither too much nor too little, by either of which faults the luminous quality is very materially injured.
At present the sulphide of calcium is preferred to any other substance, - a paint made according to the following formula giving excellent results: -
Take oyster-shells and clean them with warm water; put them into the lire for half an hour; at the end of that time take them out and let them cool. When quite cool pound them fine, and take away any gray parts, as they are of no use. Put the powder in a crucible in alternate layers with flowers of sulphur. Put on the lid and cement with sand made into a stiff paste with beer. When dry put over the fire and bake for an hour. Wait until quite cold before opening the lid. The product ought to be white. You must separate all gray parts, as they are not luminous. Make a sifter in the following manner: Take a pot, put a piece of very fine muslin very loosely across it, tie around with a string, put the powder into the top, and rake about until only the coarse powder remains. Open the pot and you will find a very small powder. Mix it into a thin paint with gum-water, as two thin applications are better than one thick one. This will give a paint that will remain luminous far into the night, provided it is exposed to the light during the day.