This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
The mystery of the " wonderful bottle," from which can be poured in succession port wine, sherry, claret, water, champagne, or ink, at the will of the operator, is easily explained. The materials consist of an ordinary dark-colored pint wine bottle, seven wine glasses of different patterns, and the chemicals described below:
Solution A: A mixture of tincture of ferric chloride, drachms vi; hydrochloric acid, drachms ii.
Solution B: Saturated solution of ammonium sulphocyanide, drachm i.
Solution C: Strong solution of ferric chloride, drachm i.
Solution D: A weak solution of ammonium sulphocyanide.
Solution E: Concentrated solution of lead acetate.
Solution F: Solution of ammonium sulphide, drachm i; or pyrogallic acid, drachm i.
Package G: Pulverized potassium bicarbonate, drachm iss.
Having poured two teaspoonfuls of solution A into the wine bottle, treat the wine glasses with the different solutions, noting and remembering into which glasses the several solutions are placed. Into No. 1 wine glass pour one or two drops of solution B; into No. 2 glass pour one or two drops of solution C; into No. 3 one or two drops of Solution D; leave No. 4 glass empty; into No. 5 glass pour a few drops of Solution E; into No. 6 glass place a few grains of Package G; into No. 7 glass pour a little of solution F.
Request some one to bring you some cold drinking water, and to guarantee that it is pure show that your wine bottle is (practically) empty. Fill it up from the carafe, and having asked the audience whether you shall produce wine or water, milk or ink, etc., you may obtain any of these by pouring a little of the water from the bottle into the prepared glass. Thus No. 1 glass gives a port-wine color; No. 2 gives a sherry color; No. 3 gives a claret color; No. 4 is left empty to prove that the solution in the bottle is colorless; No. 5 produces milk; No. 6, effervescing champagne; No. 7, ink.