Of The Room For Distillation

We have hitherto considered the liquor as containing only principles

upon which the air has no action, and from which it can only extract

some watery vapors; and, in fact, all those principles contained in the

liquor are fixed. The action of the fire may concentrate, but not

volatilize them.

The liquor is now changed by the fermentation; it contains no longer the

same principles, but has acquired those wh
ch it had not, which are

volatile, and evaporate easily. They must therefore be managed

carefully, in order not to lose the fruits of an already tedious labor.

The spirit already created in the fermented liquor, must be collected by

the distillation; but in transporting it to the still, the action of the

external air must be carefully avoided, as it would cause the

evaporation of some of the spirit. A pump to empty the hogsheads, and

covered pipes to conduct the liquor into the still, is what has been

found to answer that purpose. A good distilling apparatus is undoubtedly

the most important part of a distillery. It must unite solidity,

perfection in its joints, economy of fuel, rapidity of distillation, to

the faculty of concentrating the spirit. Such are the ends I have

proposed to myself in the following apparatus.

The usual shape of stills is defective; they are too deep, and do not

present enough of surface for their contents. They require a violent

fire to bring them to ebullition; the liquor at bottom burns before it

is warm at the top.

My still is made upon different principles, and composed of two pieces,

viz. the kettle, and its lid. The kettle, forming a long square, is like

the kettle of infusion, already described, and only differs from it in

being one foot deeper. The lid is in shape like an ancient bed tester;

that is to say, its four corners rise into a sharp angle, and come to

support a circle 16 inches diameter, bearing a vertical collar of about

two inches. This collar comes to the middle of the kettle, and is

elevated about 4 feet from the bottom. The lid is fastened to the

kettle. The collar receives a pewter cap, to which is joined a pipe of

the same metal, the diameter of which decreases progressively to a

little less than 3 inches: this pipe, the direction of which is almost

horizontal, is 5 feet long.

My still, thus constructed, is established upon a furnace like that of

the infusion room. I observe that the side walls are only raised to the

half of the height of the kettle. A vertical pipe is placed on the side

opposite to the pewter one, and serves to fill up the still: it is

almost at the height of the fastening of the lid, but a little above. On

the same side, on a level with the bottom, is a pipe of discharge,

passing across the furnace: this pipe must project enough to help to

receive or to direct the fluid residue of the distillation; its diameter

must be such as to operate a prompt discharge of the still.