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Medieval Distillation

Medieval Distillation

C030/4211

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36.9 MB (5.8 MB compressed)

5100 x 2532 pixels

43.2 x 21.3 cm ⏐ 17.0 x 8.4 in (300dpi)

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SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

As alchemy evolved into the science of chemistry, vessels called retorts became used for distillations. Both alembics and retorts are forms of glassware with long necks pointing to the side at a downward angle which acted as air-cooled condensers to condense the distillate and let it drip downward for collection. Later, copper alembics were invented. Riveted joints were often kept tight by using various mixtures, for instance a dough made of rye flour. These alembics often featured a cooling system around the beak, using cold water for instance, which made the condensation of alcohol more efficient. These were called pot stills. Today, the retorts and pot stills have been largely supplanted by more efficient distillation methods in most industrial processes. However, the pot still is still widely used for the elaboration of some fine alcohols such as cognac, Scotch whisky, tequila and some vodkas. Pot stills made of various materials (wood, clay,.

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