Illustration from an 1892 Chemistry book for distillation by means of a metallic still. Retort and attachments sits on a furnace; neck is connected to coils immersed in a container (cutaway for view) of cold water. The liquid in C is heated by the fire F. The vapors rise through the head A and pass by the tube T to the worm S placed in a vessel through which a current of cold water flows by means of tubes D and P. Distillation can be used to purify water or other substances, or to remove one component from a complex mixture, as when gasoline is distilled from crude oil or alcohol from a mash.
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