GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coffey's still, historical artwork. This distillation apparatus was the invention of Irish engineer Aeneas Coffey (1780–1852). Distillation separates liquids with different boiling points, and here is being used to produce the alcoholic drink whiskey. Steam rising through the first column (left, the analyser) carries the alcohol into the second column (right, the rectifier). A system of water pipes condenses the alcohol, which is piped off at the required concentration. Coffey's still, a type of column still, improved on earlier designs as it allowed continuous distillation. This diagram is from a book published in 1893.
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