EARLY MATERIALS, METALS AND CHEMICALS [PRIOR TO GEBER]

Click here to return to HOME page.
This post is in category OTHER SCIENCES

<><><> start of synopsis ><><><><><>

Muslims invented a blazing process that kept colors bright.
Damascus steel was not invented by Muslims, but was copied from the wootz steel developed by Hindus in South India. It is a stretch for Muslims to call this Indian technology “nanotechnology”.
Alkalis were known to many ancient civilizations.

Sulfuric acid was made in ancient times.

Muslims copied alchemy techniques from the Byzantines.
<><><> end of synopsis ><><><><><> .

watered_pattern_on_sword_blade1-iran-1-800x563-1

Damascus steel (invented by Hindus in India) used in a sword


bands of iron carbide particles in swords made of Damascus steel, which was invented by Hindus in South India in the 6th century BC, but later copied by Muslims

DAMASCUS STEEL
Damascus steel was not invented by Muslims, but was copied from the wootz steel, a steel developed by Hindus in South India in the 6th century BC. This high-carbon steel may contain some carbon nanotubes, but it is a stretch to call this Indian technology “nanotechnology”.

ALKALIS
Alkalis were known to many ancient civilizations, and the “Sushruta Samhita” describes the use of an alkali to treat wounds.

ACIDS
Sulfuric acid was made in ancient times (produced by roasting alum, which is aluminum sulfate chemically bound to water molecules).
Tartaric acid, also known as tartar, was produced by ancient Greeks and Romans, from the residue of wine making.

The 3rd century BC alchemist Theophrastus (not to be confused with the 16th century alchemist Philippus Theophrastus) produced acetic acid by evaporating vinegar.
[Geber discovered citric acid by evaporating lemon juice. Nitric acid and hydrochloric acid were unknown during the Islamic Golden Age but were invented around the 13th century by Christians such as a Catholic monk known as Pseudo-Geber.]

PROCESSES USED IN ALCHEMY
The processes of calcination ( roasting while excluding air), fusion (melting), sublimation, distillation (called decensory when the heat is applied to the top of the container), and crystallization, were used by alchemists in pre-Islamic times.
Capillary siphoning (a thread or strip of cloth draped over the edge of the container) was a filtering technique used in 400 BC by Socrates.
Filtering (liquidating) liquids through wool cloth and through sand had been known by the Greeks.

DISTILLATION
Many ancient civilizations distilled seawater aboard ships to provide drinking water.
Muslims did not invent distilling of alcohol. Alcoholic beverages were distilled by the Chinese in 800 BC, in the Roman Empire, and in Britain prior to its conquest by Rome.
In pre-Islamic times crude oil was distilled to separate it into its components.
http://www.madehow.com/Volume-7/Kerosene.html#b
Asphalt had been used for waterproofing, and used as a road paving material in Babylon around 625 BC.  https://www.asphaltpavement.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21&Itemid=41  

EARTH AIR FIRE WATER
Aristotle wrote that everything on earth was composed of a mixture of the 4 basic substances earth, air, fire and water, each of which had 2 out of 4 of the basic qualities of hotness, coldness, dryness, and moistness.
Early Greek alchemists built upon Aristotle, believing that each of the 4 basic substances had 2 of the 4 basic qualities as external qualities and the other 2 as internal qualities. Therefore, if you had an elixir that could mediate in the rearrangement of qualities making external qualities internal and internal qualities external, you could transmutate lead into gold. Fixing refers to futile attempts to transmutate liquid mercury into a solid metal.

TIN-GLAZED EARTHENWARE
Use of tin-glazed earthenware was invented by the Assyrians in pre-Islamic Mesopotamia that would later become Iraq.

STONEPASTE
Stonepaste was invented in Iraq in the 9th century as an attempt to copy the porcelain invented in China.

POTTERY LUSTERS
Painting of pottery with lusters (metallic salts) was borrowed from pre-Islamic Egypt.
Muslims in what is now Basra Iraq invented, in the 8th or 9th century, the use of luster glazes (low melting point overglazes) on pottery. These were later used on tiles. An advantage of these glazes is that they prevent cobalt (II) oxide from losing its blue color.

BLOWING GLASS INTO MOLDS
Blowing glass into molds was not a Muslim invention. For example, it had been done in the first century BC by Jews in Jerusalem to make glass bottles, and had been done in what is now Lebanon when it was part of the Roman Empire. Ancient Phoenicians had made glass vessels, but probably not by glass blowing. The claim is obviously false that Ibn Firnas was the first to make glass vessels.

CRYSTAL GLASS
The term “crystal glass” has 3 different meanings. The modern meaning is glass with a high titanium dioxide or zirconium dioxide content, giving it a high refractive index. Traditionally called flint glass, this modern crystal glass originates with George Ravenscroft in 1662 in England, who used high amounts of lead(II) oxide in his glass.
The second meaning is glass (usually a clear glass vessel) that has been carved, sometimes to look like crystals. Muslims borrowed this from Romans who borrowed it from the Sasanian Empire (224–651). [In modern times, the glass is sometimes poured into molds instead of being carved.]
The third meaning is glass vessels decorated with hot glass, a technique which Muslims borrowed from the Romans.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_glass

SAND CASTING
Sand casting of metals was not invented by Muslims. Actually, sand casting was done in Syria in the 7th century BC, and earlier than that in China.

DYEING WITH A TINCTURE
Muslims did not invent the dying of cloth with a tincture (dye dissolved in alcohol). Actually, a papyrus dating from about 300, AD written in Greek, which was found at Thebes in Egypt, mentions dying cloth red using the dye orchanet. Since orchanet (made from the root of the plant Alkanna tinctoria) when dissolved in water dyes cloth brown but when dissolved in alcohol dyes cloth red, dying with a tincture must been in use in pre-Islamic Egypt.

ARSENIC
Arsenic and antimony were being refined in 2500 BC. Arsenic oxide was used by Greek women to paint their faces.

NATRON
Natron (which was mostly sodium carbonate with some impurities of baking soda) was not a Muslim discovery, but had been used by the ancient Egyptians for many of the purposes we today use baking soda for.

ALUM
Ancient Egyptians roasted alum (hydrated aluminum sulfate) or “green vitriol” (hydrated iron (II) sulfate) in a closed iron retort, causing sulfur dioxide fumes and water of hydration to combine to form sulfuric acid.

LYE
Many ancient civilizations knew how to produce potassium hydroxide lye by trickling water through wood ashes.

POTASSIUM CARBONATE
People in pre-Islamic times produced potassium carbonate by trickling water through the ashes of burned wood, and produced sodium carbonate by trickling water through the ashes of burned seaweed or plants that grew in a salty soil.

LEAD CARBONATE
Ancient Romans had poisoned themselves by using lead carbonate in paint.

FIRE GILDING
The ancient Egyptians coated objects with gold, using the fire gilding process in which objects were painted with an amalgam (water gold) of gold and mercury, and the surface was heated to emit very poisonous fumes of mercury.

SAL AMMONIAC
In pre-Islamic Egypt, near the temple of Amen near Memphis, a mixture of camel urine, salt, and soot (from the burning of camel dung) was heated to create sal ammoniac. Sal ammoniac could also be gathered at volcanic vents. The sublimation of sal ammoniac was not true sublimation; heating sal ammoniac (ammonium chloride) causes it to decompose into ammonia and hydrochloric acid fumes.

Image by Rahil Alipour Ata Abadi, via Wikimedia Commons.
Image was cropped by William Siepmann.
image credit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Watered_pattern_on_sword_blade1.Iran.JPG

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s