Page 1 of 1

What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:39 pm
by guthrie
A bit of market research here - what does the topic of alchemy and alchemists suggest to you? Any legends or ideas that you don't know if they are true or not?

Same goes for bronze casting - is it of any interest? Do you realise how many things were made out of cast copper alloys, before and after the medieval period?

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:44 pm
by sally
as a broad term without reference to any specific dateline, to me alchemist evokes the idea of a worker and experimenter in chemical compounds, distillation, medicines, perfumes and related compounds who is interested in demonstrable and repeatable experiments but who is also open to more esoteric ingredients, methods, end goals or explanations for what he cooks up in his laboratory. As likely to be interested in astrology as astronomy I suppose

A stuffed crocodile may or may not feature in this image, there should definately be a pelican retort and a decent furnace :wink:

Of course, pick a specific date and it would be easier to describe a specific image, the above is a generalisation based purely on what the name evokes

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:47 pm
by sally
As for bronze casting, essential stuff and the results are the bread and butter finds of many archaeologists. I've done a bit of iron age style bronze smelting and casting, would like to learn and do more to reflect changing approaches for different periods.

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:48 pm
by guthrie
I had a pelican but it blew up. THe stuffed crocodile thing is a little harder, I don't suppose you have seen one somewhere?

Personally I divide European medieval alchemy up into several stages, you've got the first transfer and interest up to around 1300, then a great deal of argument and a bit of repression during the 14th century, by the 15th things are getting annoyingly allegorical and astrological, and of course by the 16th it all changes again, what with the greater paranoia about magic and the rise of Paracelsus.

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:54 pm
by Foxe
sally wrote:as a broad term without reference to any specific dateline, to me alchemist evokes the idea of a worker and experimenter in chemical compounds, distillation, medicines, perfumes and related compounds who is interested in demonstrable and repeatable experiments but who is also open to more esoteric ingredients, methods, end goals or explanations for what he cooks up in his laboratory. As likely to be interested in astrology as astronomy I suppose

A stuffed crocodile may or may not feature in this image, there should definately be a pelican retort and a decent furnace :wink:


For me... what Sally said, but with the addition of a large astronomical instrument (doesn't matter what type, as long as it's BIG) on the wall and a ridiculous hat.

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:18 pm
by sally
ooh yes, how could I forget the hats. I do marvelously ridiculous hats if you ever need something suitable. There are even a few images of medieval alchemical types in pointy hats if I recall correctly :D

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:21 pm
by sally
I wonder how a 'fake' stuffed crocodile would look in lieu of a real one. Nicely sewn from leather with carved bone teeth and all that, artfully made so its obviously a made up job, but as a medieval European alchemist you personally havent ever seen a live croc, so you can swear to all who see your display that it must be real as you bought it from ever such a reputable salesman.... Bit like those dried mermaids you see in museums sometimes that are made from a small monkey sewn to a large fish and dried.

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:20 am
by guthrie
Foxe wrote:
sally wrote:as a broad term without reference to any specific dateline, to me alchemist evokes the idea of a worker and experimenter in chemical compounds, distillation, medicines, perfumes and related compounds who is interested in demonstrable and repeatable experiments but who is also open to more esoteric ingredients, methods, end goals or explanations for what he cooks up in his laboratory. As likely to be interested in astrology as astronomy I suppose

A stuffed crocodile may or may not feature in this image, there should definately be a pelican retort and a decent furnace :wink:


For me... what Sally said, but with the addition of a large astronomical instrument (doesn't matter what type, as long as it's BIG) on the wall and a ridiculous hat.

I would like an astrolabe, but don't have the money or a reasonabe supplier of a period replica lined up.

Hats - now there's a tricky thing- we have a period illustration or two showing magician types with pointy hats, but thatw as as much an anacronism then as it is now, it was used in some pictures to show that these people were magi.

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:30 pm
by lucy the tudor
Base metal into gold, old fellow, every time- if you can't do it yet, you should be trying... :thumbup:

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:35 pm
by guthrie
lucy the tudor wrote:Base metal into gold, old fellow, every time- if you can't do it yet, you should be trying... :thumbup:

You've not seen my white work, copper into silver, have you?
Gold is a bit trickier.

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:18 pm
by Lord High Everything Esle
guthrie wrote:
lucy the tudor wrote:Base metal into gold, old fellow, every time- if you can't do it yet, you should be trying... :thumbup:

You've not seen my white work, copper into silver, have you?
Gold is a bit trickier.

Ah but you should see Jack Greene turn copper into gold (brass)

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:18 pm
by guthrie
Lord High Everything Esle wrote:
guthrie wrote:
lucy the tudor wrote:Base metal into gold, old fellow, every time- if you can't do it yet, you should be trying... :thumbup:

You've not seen my white work, copper into silver, have you?
Gold is a bit trickier.

Ah but you should see Jack Greene turn copper into gold (brass)

Done that. (edited to add - meaning that I've made brass out of copper)
Did he prove it using a touchstone? Proving to people that you really have silver seems to impress them.

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:58 am
by lucy the tudor
I must get out more, at least when you fellows are doing interesting stuff 8-)

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:57 am
by Lord High Everything Esle
guthrie wrote:Did he prove it using a touchstone? Proving to people that you really have silver seems to impress them.


Does anyone produce the tester set of gold alloys for comparing on touchstones?

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:38 am
by guthrie
Lord High Everything Esle wrote:
guthrie wrote:Did he prove it using a touchstone? Proving to people that you really have silver seems to impress them.


Does anyone produce the tester set of gold alloys for comparing on touchstones?

Not that I've seen so far, although I've only flicked through the Cookson's catalogue. Gold is expensive, I'd need to get a grant to start doing stuff with it. Perhaps I should petition the Queen?

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:52 am
by STEENIE
The word suggests, means to me, the history of modern chemistry. I have always been told, as my Mother's family come from Egypt, way back - at the time of the Exodus.Then, ancient Egypt, had another archaine name of 'The land of Kem', Al Kem. When the ancient Egyptians moved into other lands, as much as the Jews did, they took their science with them. They were the children of Alkem which became the foundation of the word 'Alchemist' 'Alchemy'. Then the AL was dropped so we end up with Chemist and Chemistry.

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:00 pm
by Lord High Everything Esle
guthrie wrote:Not that I've seen so far, although I've only flicked through the Cookson's catalogue. Gold is expensive, I'd need to get a grant to start doing stuff with it. Perhaps I should petition the Queen?


Yes I flicked through it a few years ago and found nothing.

How about making our own? :angel: :thumbup:

I've plenty of silver in stock - you can supply the gold!! :devil:
:thumbdown:

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:03 pm
by guthrie
STEENIE wrote:The word suggests, means to me, the history of modern chemistry. I have always been told, as my Mother's family come from Egypt, way back - at the time of the Exodus.Then, ancient Egypt, had another archaine name of 'The land of Kem', Al Kem. When the ancient Egyptians moved into other lands, as much as the Jews did, they took their science with them. They were the children of Alkem which became the foundation of the word 'Alchemist' 'Alchemy'. Then the AL was dropped so we end up with Chemist and Chemistry.

Thats an interestingly mangled version of the usual answers as to the origin of the word alchemy. The origins being Hellenistic Egypt, perhaps as early as the 2nd century BC, perhaps not. Either way it was well established by the first century AD, with practitioners including gnostics, Hermetic scholars, Jews, and later on, Christians. The tricky bit is that scholars are still not definitely sure about the chem/ khem bit. It is agreed that Egypt was known as the black land, hence kmt or chem, probably referring to the alluvial farm land. However, it is not found in any of the surviving texts as referring to the art itself (If you can read Greek, you can see for yourself), and the closest other word used is the greek chyma, which means to fuse or cast a metal. Some also argue that it comes from chinese word for metal (often gold), which is chin, and we know there were trading links all the way through the formatory period of alchemy. Personally I find the Greek origin more likely.

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:15 pm
by STEENIE
Guthrie,

I know my families movement from Egypt went via Greece which gives it some credence I suppose. I have no scholastic knowledge on the subject just old memories and tales past on through the generations.

If it was chyma wouldn't that have become the name of Welders? :lol:

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:27 pm
by guthrie
It would be interesting to know how far back the tale goes.

I don't suppose you have a pottery sherd with greek text on it?

Welders are rather modern, the word alchemy being popularised as it were by Arabic alchemists from the 9th century or so onwards.

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:51 pm
by STEENIE
guthrie wrote:It would be interesting to know how far back the tale goes.

I don't suppose you have a pottery sherd with greek text on it?

Welders are rather modern, the word alchemy being popularised as it were by Arabic alchemists from the 9th century or so onwards.


I assume it goes back to when my ancestors legged it with the Hebrews. :wink: As for reading A' Greek, it is all Greek to me

If I had that bit of pottery with a text on it saying 'those bloody immigrants from Alkhem are a pain', then I am sure I could buy half of Egypt the way it is there at the present time :lol:

As for the Welders, I thought you said the word meant putting two metals together?

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:26 pm
by Hinny Annie
[quote="STEENIE"I know my families movement from Egypt went via Greece which gives it some credence I suppose. I have no scholastic knowledge on the subject just old memories quote]

Old memories !!!!!!! blimey are you Dorian Gray ?

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:31 pm
by STEENIE
Do you want to come and see my painting in the loft? Beats looking at etchings :lol:

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:50 pm
by Hinny Annie
can my husband come with me !!!

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:55 pm
by guthrie
STEENIE wrote:As for the Welders, I thought you said the word meant putting two metals together?

Ahh, a joke.
The pottery sherd, see "She" by H Rider Haggard.

Re: What does the word "Alchemist" suggest to you?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:53 pm
by STEENIE
Hinny Annie wrote:can my husband come with me !!!



Ahh a freesome!!! Great!!! :wink: