Robert Boyle (1627-91): Work-diary XXV ('Loose Experiments, Observations & Notes about the Preservation of Bodyes')

Content: Accounts of experiments involving the preservation of caterpillars, milk and cream from the late 1660s

General Information

Work-diary entries

/BP 27, p.219/

[Authorial heading]:
Loose Experiments
Observations & Notes
The Preservation of

Entry 1: Editorial notes:
Marginal notes integral to entry text
Later marginal endorsements:

A great green Catarpillar or other Insect shap'd like a Silkworme being put into Alkohol of Wine was thereby preserv'd, & as it were dry'd, being after 2 or 3 weeks taken out stiffe, & much shrunk not only in bredth, but in length, which when it was alive & creeping I measurd to be about 4 Inches, but within not many days after it was put into the Liquor, it grew all over black.

Another (but not soe bigge as the former) beautify'd with yellow, black, & red spotts curiously plac'd haveing bin put into the like Liquor 5 or 6 days agoe & lookd upon this morning, is already growne black on the belly & sides.

Entry 2: Editorial notes:
Marginal notes integral to entry text

Three ounces of Milk & one of {spirit of wine} were mingld together the 1st of July & put into a Glasse (which they almost fill'd) with a Cork, neer 15 Months after I open'd the bottle & found noe ill smell nor any other signe of Putrefaction, the grosser parts of the milk were subsided to the lower part of the Glasse in the forme of a white soft curd, over which swamme a somewhat copious Liquor that seemd to consist partly of whey & partly of {spirit of wine}, not sowre, nor otherwise ill tasted or ill sented.

At the same time were put up as before {ounce} ii of Creame & {ounce} ; of {spirit of wine}, which being lookd upon likewise about one year & a quarterne afterward did not appear putrifyd or ill sented; but yet did not seem to have bin altogether soe well preserv'd as the plain milk which had a somewhat greater proportion of {spirit of wine} That mingld with the Creame soe well & incorporated with it, that not only I could not see any thin Liquor in the mixture, but the Glasse being inverted they would not run out at all.

At the same time (namely the 1st of July) there was placd in the same window (which was North East) with the two above mention'd Glasses a couple of others, of which each one had two Ounces of Creame in it, & the other as much of Milk, the former was stopt with a Cork, & the other left open, but neither had any {spirit of wine} put into it, when I lookd on them with the rest at the foremention'd time, the Creame had noe wormes in it but the inside of the Cork had a bluish mould, & the Cream smelt sourish, being partly concreted into white Curds, & partly /BP 27, p.220/ reduc'd into thin whey of a sourish tast. But the Milk that was unstopt had much degenerated from its whitenesse, was not curdld, had a stinking smell & furnishd the upper part of the Glasse with Magotts that stuck partly to it, & partly to one another.

Creame put up into a Vessell unstop'd I could find none, & soe cannot tell what Phænomena it would have afforded me.