A Dictionary of Arts: Litmus.

A Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures, and Mines; containing A Clear Exposition of Their Principles and Practice

by Andrew Ure, M. D.;
F. R. S. M. G. S. Lond.: M. Acad. M. S. Philad.; S. PH. DOC. N. GERM. Ranow.; Mulh. Etc. Etc.

Illustrated with nearly fifteen hundred engravings on wood
Eleventh American, From The Last London Edition.
To which is appended, a Supplement of Recent Improvements to The Present Time.

New York: D Appleton & company, 200 Broadway. Philadelphia: George S. Appleton, 148 Chestnut St.


LITMUS (Tournesol, Fr.; Lackmus, Germ.) is prepared in Holland from the species of lichen called Lecanora tartarea, Roccella tartarea, by a process which has been kept secret, but which is undoubtedly analogous to that for making archil and and cudbear. The ground lichens are first treated with urine containing a little potash, and allowed to ferment, whereby they produce a purple-red; the coloured liquor, treated with quicklime and some more urine, is set again to ferment during two or three weeks, then it is mixed with chalk or gypsum into a paste, which is formed into small cubical pieces, and dried in the shade. Litmus has a violet-blue color, is easy to pulverize, is partially asoluble in water and dilute alcohol, leaving a residuum consisting of carbonate of lime, of clay, silica, gypsum, and oxide of iron combined with the dye. The colour of litmus is not altered alkalis, but is reddened by acids; and is therefore used in chemistry as a delicate test of acidity, either in the state of solution or of unsized paper stained with it. It is employed to dye marble blue.

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