By T. Maben.

The arrangement here described is one that may readily be adapted to, and is specially suited for, the old fashioned stills which are in frequent use among pharmacists for the purpose of distilling water. The idea is extremely simple, but I can testify to its thorough efficiency in actual practice. The still is of tinned copper, two gallon capacity, and the condenser is the usual worm surrounded with cold water.

The overflow of warm water from the condenser is not run into the waste pipe as in the ordinary course, but carried by means of a bent tube, A, B, C, to the supply pipe of the still. The bend at B acts as a trap, which prevents the escape of steam.


The advantages of this arrangement are obvious. It is perfectly simple, and can be adapted at no expense. It permits of a continuous supply of hot water to the still, so that the contents of the latter may always be kept boiling rapidly, and as a consequence it condenses the maximum amount of water with the minimum of loss of heat. If the supply of water at D be carefully regulated, it will be found that a continuous current will be passing into the still at a temperature of about 180° F., or, if practice suggest the desirability of running in the water at intervals, this can be easily arranged. It is necessary that the level at A should be two inches or thereabout higher than the level of the bend at C, otherwise there may not be sufficient head to force a free current of water against the pressure of steam. It will also be found that the still should only contain water to the extent of about one-fourth of its capacity when distillation is commenced, as the water in the condenser becomes heated much more rapidly than the same volume is vaporized.

By this expedient a still of two gallons capacity will yield about half a dozen gallons per day, a much greater quantity than could ever be obtained under the old system, which required the still to be recharged with cold water every time one and a half gallons had been taken off.

The objection to all such continuous or automatic arrangements is, of course, that the condensed water contains all the free ammonia that may have existed in the water originally, but it is only in cases where the water is exceptionally impure that this disadvantage will become really serious. The method here outlined has, no doubt, occurred to many, and may probably be in regular use, but not having seen any previous mention of the idea, I have thought that it might be useful to some pharmacists who prepare their own distilled water. - Phar. Jour.