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An Account of the Extraordinary Medicinal Fluid, called Aether.   By: (-1788)

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LONDON: Printed by J. WILKIE, at the Bible in St. Paul's Church yard.

The Publisher of the following short Account of the AETHER having prepared, and successfully made Use of it in his private Practice, for several Years, has at length determin'd to endeavour to extend it's Utility, by thus making it public; as he knows of no one who has ever published it's medicinal virtues ; or offered it to Sale in it's Perfection ; or given the Criteria by which they who are unacquainted with it might distinguish the Genuine from the Spurious : And he doubts not but every candid Person who examines it, will agree with him, That it carries with it the strongest Marks of a valuable Addition to the Materia Medica , and therefore ought to lie no longer in Obscurity.


This truly extraordinary Chemical Preparation is not a new Discovery, having been known and esteemed, as a valuable Curiosity, by many of the greatest Chemists and Philosophers, both Ancient and Modern; particularly by Sir Isaac Newton [Footnote: Quere 31st, at the End of his Optics.], and the Honourable Mr. Boyle [Footnote: Treatise on the Producibleness of Chemical Principles.], who both mention it in their Works, tho' not by this Name: And therefore before any Thing is said of it's Virtues as a Medicine, it may not be improper to explain the Nature of it, and enumerate a few of it's remarkable Properties, considered as a Curiosity in Chemistry, in which Light chiefly it has hitherto been view'd by those who have been acquainted with it.

It is a kind of ETHEREAL OIL, produced by the Decomposition of the Vinous Spirit by Means of the Vitriolic Acid, and differs essentially both from Vinous Spirits and Essential Oils in several Respects, tho' it agrees with them in some, as will appear hereafter: But as the Vinous Spirit may be decomposed by means of all the three Mineral Acids, viz. the Vitriolic , the Nitrous and the Marine , and as these all act differently on the Spirit, they will, of Course, produce three different Kinds of AETHER, which, from the Name, of the Acid employ'd in making them, are term'd Marine, Nitrous , or Vitriolic : the last only is the Kind here understood, it's Properties being more singular and extraordinary, and, as an AETHER, more perfect than either of the others; the Reason of which seems to be, that the Vitriolic Acid is a much stronger Agent on the Spirit, and more perfectly decomposes it, than either the Nitrous or Marine .

It is the most light, most volatile, and most inflammable, of all known Liquids: It swims upon the highest rectified Spirit of Wine as Oil does upon Water, and flies away so quickly as hardly to wet a Hand it is dropped upon; from which Properties it probably has obtained it's Name. It is so readily inflammable, as to take Fire at the approach of a Candle, before the Flame touches it. Any Electrified Body will also produce the same Effect.

It is one of the most powerful Solvents known in Chemistry: It is neither acid nor alcaline , and therefore is perfectly free from that saline Acrimony with which all the common Volatile Spirits abound: It has a greater Affinity with Gold than Aqua Regia has, altho' it will not dissolve it in the Mass, or whilst in it's Metallic Form; but if you add AETHER to a solution of Gold in Aqua Regia, it presently takes all the Gold from it's former Solvent, keeping it perfectly dissolved and suspended, without the least Precipitation; and becomes of a yellow Colour: The AETHER, thus saturated with the Gold, does not mix with the Aqua Regia, but may readily be separated from it by simple Decantation, and thus a true and safe Aurum potabile is readily prepared for those who want such a Medicine... Continue reading book >>

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