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Distillation in the 1500s

In its simplest form, the objective of distillation is to separate a mixture of liquid and nonvolatile solids. This fanciful depiction of distillation apparatus is from Hieronymus Brunschwig’s Liber de arte Distillandi . . . (Strasbourg, 1512).


Photo by Will Brown.

From the collections Donald and Mildred Othmer Collection at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. CHF is a non-profit library, museum, and center for scholars that's dedicated to the history of chemistry. To learn more, visit

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Taken on November 4, 2008