The Dry Distillation & Sublimation of Zinc
(From Das Aceton - Dr. C.A. Becker translated: Schuck & Nintzel 1981 RAMS)
The wine spirit is chemically always the same, but technically and physiologically it is different depending on its preparation from grain, rice, potatoes, wine, etc.; the same holds true for the acetone depending on the various bases of the acetate salts; that is why I will give the individual descriptions as follows:
1. ACETONE FROM ZINC (RESPUR FROM MINERALGEISTE - p 116)
Zinc flowers were dissolved in a distilled wine-vinegar, then filtered and evaporated to oil consistency; when removed from the fire, the substance coagulates forming a salt. This was put into a glass retort and distilled. First it was flowing, then it started to pass over like a secret wine spirit in fine veins, however tasteless; then followed a thick and reddish water. With strong heat the whole substance swelled up and from it rose a ghostlike (spirit) snow which deposited in large amount, a thumb's thickness, and which fell down in some parts due to its volume. That which penetrated the receiver's paper seal had a smell as pleasant as Bernhard von Trevis has described it in his "left-out word,"* and I was quite surprised. After everything had cooled off, a thin coat with silverwhite shine and prettier than Oriental pearls appeared all around; it could be touched with the fingers and had a smell like camphor.
Glauber (Furn. Phil. 2 Th. p. 99) also mixes the zinc acetate with sand, distills, notices however only that first a tasteless phlegm, then a subtle alcohol, and finally a yellow and red oil pass over.
Calcined Sphaelerite (zinc sulphide ore) or white zinc oxide powder from a pottery supplier which dissolves readily in strong vinegar. Filter through coffee filter and evaporate to crystalline acetate.
The crystal "flowers" of zinc acetate
Place in appropriate size flask to allow up to three times expansion with minimum B34 neck.
Bury flask in sand to three quarters in an old stainless steel pot.
Use a hotplate capable of 450 - 500 degrees C. (the sandbath will absorb more heat) and gradually raise heat every half hour to maximum over eight hours.
Use a torch to inspect the progress of leavening and liquifaction.
The ghost or fume
The volatile gas flows into the ice cooled receiver.
The flask after cooling
The volatile salt in the still-head (B34)
The sublimate: left- from condensor; right- upper flask & stillhead
The Golden Water distillate - unrectified acetone and oil
Rectification of the Golden distillate
The beginning of re-crystalisation with the phlegm (water of crystallisation) and fresh vinegar.
Zinc golden water distillate with sublimate added and digested.
Separated zinc oil in pure spirits of wine.
Acetone of the Wise