Amber (Succinum) is a hard, bituminous substance, possessing a resinous taste, and a fragrant aromatic smell. It is the production of many countries, but the best sort is that which is found in various parts of England, especially in the clay and gravel-pits between Tyburn and Kensington, as well as behind St. George's hospital, near Hyde-Park Corner, where fine specimens of this concrete are occasionally discovered. Prussia possesses it in great abundance, and the king derives from this article alone an annual revenue of 26.000 dollars; on -which account the late Frederic professed himself to belong to the trade of amberThose parts of the earth which produce this bitumen, are generally covered abound with vitriol. Its mostre-markable properties tracts other bodies as paper, hair.. . c. and that it presents a appearance in the dark. In its native form, under ground, it resembles various as pears: peas, etc. ; but, when broken, leaves, insects, and other small objects, frequently appear inclosed : hence it has been supposed, that amber was originally in a fluid state or that from its exposure to the sun, it became softened, so as to be susceptible of those impressions As these insects are never found in its centre, but always, near it surface, the latter seems the more probable conjecture. Animals of all kinds, are extremely fond of it, and pieces are frequently disco ed in their excrements. Several centuries before the Christian it was in high esteem as a medicine; and Plato, Aristotle, other waiters, have commended its virtues: among; the Romans it valued as a gem, and in NERO, brag i where it was highly prized by the fashionable ladies, themselves with trinkets substance; a custom which is still Munster in Westphalia, and other. catholi countries, where it is converted into amulets, crosses, etc. medicine, amber is at present but in little repute, though is still given fluor albus, hysteric. affections, and in those diseased which proceed from debility, For merly it was used in a variety of preparations, but of late, an aroma;;. 11, a powder- an oil, are the only which it is employed.
Lastly, this bituminous matter constitutes the basis of varnish. It is used for the coat of various toys, for the papier mack, and for the varnishing of carriages ;for which last; it is more profitable to dissolve the gum copal The following is a simple; and efficaciouss recipe for making the am-.
Melt the amber slowly in a cru-, till it becornes reduce it to a tine powder, and boil it in lintseed oil, or in a mixture of tins : oil of turpen-.—See Varnish. Ambergrise, or Grey Amber, is a solid, opake, bituminous, substance, of a greyish or ash colour, usually intermixed with yellow and blackish veins. This concrete is . on the sea, or thrown on the . and is produced in the greatest. by the Indian Ocean. It ! sometimes also:.' - fisher-men in the bellies of whales, in lumps of various sizes, from half ounce to one . pounds in . Hence it is supposed to be an animal production CLUSIUS, 3 that it is an indu-. and indigested of the food collected by these fish, and on with that of the bezoar found in the stomach of other animal When pure, it softens between the fingers; melts into an oil, in a moderate degree of heat, and, in a stronger proves highly volatile. Slightly warmed, it emits a fragrant oC: and when set on fire, smells like amber. It dissolves, though with spirits of wine, and essential oils, but not in those which are expressed from vegetables, nor in water.
In Asia, and part of Africa, am-bergrise is not only used in medicine, and as an article of perfumery, but also applied to the purposes of cookery, by adding it as a spice to several dishes. It is valued by the Turks as an aphrodisiac, and erroneously supposed to promote longevity.
In this country, it was formerly esteemed a cordial, and to be of great service in disorders of the Head, and nervous complaints; but it now chiefly serves as an agreeable perfume, and is certainly free from many of those inconvenien-cies which usually accompany substances of this description.
Amber. - A method of making artificial amber has lately been discovered by Prof. HeRmbstaedt, of Berlin. He placed rectified petroleum, about one line in thickness, on water, in a china saucer, which was exposed to the rays of the sun, for several months, beneath a glass-bell, containing oxygen. At length, the petroleum had absorbed the oxygen, and sunk a little beneath the surface: the glass was removed ; when, after pouring off the water, and evaporating by a gentle heat, that part of the petroleum which retained its fluidity, the condensed residuum was found to possess all the properties of amber. Such mode of preparing that valuable bitumen, however, would be too tedious to be generally adopted; but Prof. H. from this ingenious experiment, justly infers, that amber originates from petroleum, oxygenated and inspissated by its contact with the atmosphere, under the action of the sun.