Robert Boyle (1627-91): Work-diary XIV ('A Private Philosophicall Diary Begun this First Day of January 1655/6')

Content: Medical and chymical recipes in English, September 1656-June 1657; sources of recipes and informants are not noted

General Information


Work-diary entries

/original pagination, p. 1/

/BP 25, p. 157/

[Authorial heading]:
A Private
Philosophicall Diary
Begun this first day of January 1655/6

Entry 1: Editorial notes:

1, Take of Tartar or Argoll 2 parts of Saltpetre one part powder these grossely & mix them & of this mixture take one part & of powdered Lead Oare an equall quantity (not in weight but in measure) melt these downe together & let them stand in fusion too ['t' altered from 'e'] digest about half an houre or longer if need be then poure out the liquid matter & you shall find the perfect Lead at the Botthom


Entry 2: Editorial notes:

2, Take Beane <huskes> [ replacing 'stalks' deleted] (the beanes being taken out) stamp them in a cleane mortar and then distill them over in an ordinary Rose-water Still & of this liquor give about a quarter of a pint at a time


Entry 3: Editorial notes:
Marginal notes integral to entry text

3, Take Linseed Oile 3 quarts neates foot oile and stronge new Ale of each 3 quarts boyle each of these liquors severally over a gentle fire to the consumption of a full third part then mix the 3 remaineineinge Liquours together & with a soft fire boile away 6 qts of that composition till the come to 3, Then ['T' altered from 't'] take any Leather which you would have keepe out water & by the fire rub & chafe in this mixture & by degrees till the Leather will imbibe noe more which being soe prepared is that of which [' approximately 2-3 characters, illegible, ' deleted] will ['w' altered from 'S'] not grow hard & will keepe out any water


Entry 4: Editorial notes:

4, The way of makeing pot=ashes here in London is as Gratorax tells me this they take any wood ashes & make of it & <water> [ replacing 'ashes' deleted] as strong a lyle as they can without boileinge in this liquor they ste [ep] [supplied, tear at edge of page] Beane straw till it have soaked up as much of /original pagination, p. 2/ /BP 25, p. 158/ The Liquor as it will imbibe then they set this Straw on fire takeing great care that it flame not; which they prevent by a constant smothereinge it with more of the same moist Straw this ashes they put in a furnace wherein the fire being placed on both sides in certaine Troughs the flame onely touchs the matter upon which when it has placed about 6 or 8 houres the worke is done


Entry 5: Editorial notes:

5, They make <Medea> [ replacing 'Stipony' deleted] thus they take to six pound of Maligo Raisons & six ounces of Coriander seeds foure gallons of faire water. This in the Summer time the set in an open vessell in the sunne till it begin to have a kind of skin at the top & to tast but a litle & a litle sowrish then the Bottle it up & if they will have <stipony> [ replacing 'Medea' deleted] they put a quart Botle about a Spoonefull of the Juice of Sorrell & if they would have it Nectarell ['N' altered from 's'] insted of the juice of Sorrell they put a Spoonefull (more or lesse) of strong infusion of Cloves Cinnamon & a litle Nutmeg made in faire water in a vessell kept a competent time in a moderate heat


Entry 6: Editorial notes:
Marginal notes integral to entry text

6 Take of Tin 12 parts of good Regulus Martis (made with 3 parts of Antimony to one of Iron) one part, beat the Regulus very small & when the Tin is melted strow on the powder by degrees till that & the Mettall be very well incorporated which when you perceive remove the Mars from the fire & poure it out


Entry 7: Editorial notes:

7 Take Italian Fritters & put to in a litle Manganese poure them out into a masse which being polished will looke like black Marble & will cut glasse


Entry 8: Editorial notes:

8 Take Cristall & calcine it per se (onely heateing it red hot & quenching it in faire water) till you can bring it to an impalpable powder, then with Sal Alcali & a litle Rubigo melt it in a strong Crucible with a graduated fire which must at lenght to keepe the matter in fusion till the desired Colour appeare & the masse be freed from Bullæ then immediatly take it of the fire /original pagination, p. 3/ /BP 25, p. 159/ for otherwise it will change its Colour Note that the Minerall Colours must be exquisitly with the aforesaid Masse before it be put into the Crucible, Note also to keepe it from stickeing to the Moulds it is cast in you must powder the inside with Alcohol of Brine to keept it from stickeing,


Entry 9: Editorial notes:

9 Take of Tinglasse one part & of Lead 1 part melt them together & then take of quicksilver 2 parts Amalgam them wel & poure them them hot into the <glas> vessel very well heated before


Entry 10: Editorial notes:

10 Take fritta & calcine Tin & melt them together & you shall have a white masse but you must have a Care to watch it very diligently & as soone as it has ever attained the desired Colour you must remove it from the fire els you may loose your Colour. Of the same fritta mix with appropriated Colours by the same way you may make all the other kinds of Enamells


Entry 11: Editorial notes:

11 Take a sixpence & a peny weight of Antimony & the weight of them both of red Oker melt these together & poure out the masse which being powdered very small & dexterously applyed upon Heated Glasse will tinge it a golden Colour one <side> [ replacing 'way' deleted] & blue ['anot' deleted] on the other.


Entry 12: Editorial notes:

February the 8th

12 Take infernall Ice draw thence in a Retort a penetrant & sowrish Spirit 5 or 6 parts of this Spirit put upon Sal Sulphuratum & then draw it of in a Retort with a graduall fire & there will come over at the first or second impregnation a very peirceing Spirit & which towards the later end of the distillation will bring the Sal Sulphuratum over the helmet


/original pagination, p. 4/

/BP 25, p. 160/

Entry 13: Editorial notes:

13 Take Calcined Seasalt allum & Salpetre & of these accordinge to the prosses of the Tyrocinium Chymicum make an Aqua fortis then beat some Chaos into fine powder & cast it into the Menstruum by degrees till the Menstruum be tinged of a deepe green Colour & a white powder fall to the botthom this Tincted Menstruum must be decanted & poured into a sufficient quantity of faire water & there will præcipitate in the botthom a greene powder which must be afterwards proceeded with accordinge to Art


Entry 14: Editorial notes:

14 Take good Spirit of wine that hath not been rectifyed & in a gentle heat dissolve in it as much Salt of Tartar as <it> will in this Menstruum digest for 2 or 3 weekes the Species of the Pill de Tribus Then filtre it well & draw of the Spir of wine till you leave the consistence of thin Sirup of which put [{drachm}] [unclear, unusual symbol; difficult to interpret] i to an ounce of any Pestorall Sirrup & take of it 2 or 3 times a day when the stomach is most empty


Entry 14a: Editorial notes:

14 Take the tops of wormewood & then ['en' altered from 'is'] digest them with Spir of wine draw a very strong Tincture of them to [{drachm}] [unclear, unusual symbol; difficult to interpret] i of this tincture put {ounce} ; of gum-Dragon & as much good beare as will serve to make it up into a Pulp with which you must anoint that side of the leaves which you are to past to the paper <Dr Howe> [insertion in line, Boyle hand][insertion in line][in Boyle hand]


Entry 15: Editorial notes:

15 Take Merc. vitæ & mix with one part of it 2 or 3 parts of fixed petre & let them flow together for 2 or 3 houres ['&' deleted] the Crucible being for the later half of that wel covered & red hot then take out the matter and the Merc vitæ will work neither by vomits or stoole


Entry 16: Editorial notes:

16 To 15 gallons of wort put a Decoct: as stronge as can be made by {ounce} iii of Sem. Dauci & some of the same worts & then let it worke