Monday, December 13, 2004

More Phosphorus

The history of the match that I linked to yesterday (which really is an excellent little history -- read it) is part two of "Fire from Urine." Here's a link to Part One, about the history of phosphorus. We begin with a charming evocation of the stick-to-it-iveness of alchemists:

Phosphorus: fire from urine:
"'More than 300 years ago, in 1669, Hennig Brand, a Hamburg alchemist, like most chemists of his day, was trying to make gold. He let urine stand for days in a tub until it putrified. "

I'm sure he had many people who just dropped by to hang out for hours.

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