Michael Schrick, Niitzlich Buchlein von Kunst und Tugend der ge-prenten Wassern. getruckt am 28. Mai zu Nurnberg 1517. New editions appeared in 1529 and 1601.
By Hubertus Barlandius in Namur: Epistola medica de aquarum destillatarum facultatibus. Antwerpiae 1536.
By the Canon Remaclius Fuchsius in Liege: Historia omnium aquarum, quae in commune hodie practicantium sunt usu, vires et recta destillandi ratio. Parisii 1542 - Veneti 1542.
The lesser significance of the volatile oils becomes apparent from the fact that, in spite of the thorough knowledge and even practical experience of the author, but a single volatile oil, viz., the oleum spicae,1) is mentioned and described in the first volume; and in the second volume only three additional ones, viz. oleum terebinthinae,-) oleum ligni juniperi3) and oleum rosmarini.4)
In harmony with the knowledge of his times, are Brun-schwig's views as to the nature and products of distillation. These are recorded in the following words in the introduction to the first volume of his treatise on distillation: "By distillation we understand nothing else than the separation of the subtle from the coarse, the coarse from the subtle, to render the fragile or destructible indestructible, the material immaterial, the bodily spiritual, the unhandsome handsome."
Ambiguous as were the conceptions of the nature of the constituents of the distilled parts of plants and their distillates, the technique of distillation, as becomes apparent from the next chapter, was well developed. For this very reason it seems strange that no mention is made of the observation of oils when such aromatic plant products as the umbelliferous fruits, the labiate leaves, juniper berries, cloves, cinnamon and other spices were subjected to distillation with water. Some of these non-aqueous "subtle" parts must have risen to the surface of the aqueous distillate, others must have collected at the bottom of the receiver, still others must have congealed. This silence is all the more remarkable since the specific object of distillation consisted in the separation and isolation of the volatile, the subtle, the quinta essentia from crude plant products and other natural objects; and since such oily separations had been known much earlier and had been mentioned in the literature of earlier periods.
1) Vol. I, fol. 72. „Das krut von de Iateinischen lavendula und in tut-scher zungen lavender genannt, ist em krut gemeiniglich yederman bekant, doch so ist syn zweingestalt, das ein von den Iateinischen spicula und von den tutschen spic genant, des vyl wachsen ist in dem lant provinz. Zu dyser zyt ouch in tiitscher nation glich dem gemeinen lavender, von des blumen ein 61 wird gemachet mit putrisieren un dystillieren genant oleum de spica."
2) Vol. I, fol. 33, cap. 25. The rectification of turpentine oil by repeated shaking with water, rosewater or wine and final distillation is also described.
3) Vol. II, fol. 289.
In Vol. I, liber 4, fol. 271 - 272 are likewise found descriptions for the preparation of a number of aromatic balsams (mixtures of volatile oils) by the distillation of mixtures of resins and spices to which turpentine oil has been added.
The explanation for this lack of correct observation and the ambiguity of views as to the nature of the products of distillation is possibly to be sought in the change which the concept quinta essentia underwent in the course of time. Originally applied to the spirit of wine only,1) it was later applied to aromatic and empyreumatic oils, even to acetic acid2) and other products of distillation.
The treatise of Brunschwig, which had received general recognition became the precursor of numerous other treatises on distillation which appeared in the course of the sixteenth century. They reflect the height of the faith which the medicine of that period had in the "burnt waters" and in the miraculous powers of the "most subtle" powers obtained from natural objects by distillation. Of the numerous treatises that made their appearance during the sixteenth century, the following are particularly worth mentioning, not only because of the fame of their authors, but also because of the influence which they exerted on the development of the art of distillation, and on a better understanding of the distilled oils, viz. those of Philipp Ulstad,3) physician and professor of medicine in Nuernberg (at the beginning of the 16. century), Walter Hermann Reiff (Ryff),1) surgeon in Strassburg (in the first half of the 16. century), Pierandrea Matthioli2) (born 1501 in Siena, died 1577 in Trient), Remaclius Fuchs3) (born 1510 in Limburg, died 1587 in Brussels), Valerius Cordus4) (born 1515 in Simshausen in Hessia, died 1544 in Rome), Conrad Gesner5) (Euonymus Phili-atrus, born 1516, died 1565 in Zuerich), Adam Lonicer6) (born 1528, died 1586), Giovanni Baptista della Porta7) (born 1537, died 1615 in Rome), Geronimo Rossi1) (Hieronymus Rubeus, born 1539 in Ravenna, died 1607 in Rome), C. C. Kunrath2) (about the middle of the 16. century) and Jacob Besson3) (about the middle of the 16. century).