A Dictionary of Arts: Lakes.

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.


Under this title are comprised all those colours which consist of a vegetable dye, combined by precipitation with a white earthy basis, which is usually alumina. The general method of preparation is to add to the coloured infusion a solution of common alum, or rather a solution of alum saturated with potash, especially when the infusion has been made with the aid of acids. At first only a slight precipitate falls, consisting of alumina and the colouring matter; but on adding potash, a copious precipitation ensues, of the alumina associated with the dye. When the dyes are not injured, but are rather brightened with alkalis, the above process is reversed; a decoction of the dye-stuff is made with an alkaline liquor, and when it is filtered, a solution of alum is poured into it. The third method is practicable only with substances having a great affinity for subsulhate of alumina; it consists in agitating recently precipitated alumina with the decoction of the dye.

Yellow lakes are made with a decoction of Persian or French berries, to which some potash or soda is added; into the mixture a solution of alum is to be poured as long as any precipitate falls. The precipitate must be filtered, washed, and formed into cakes, and dried. A lake may be made in the same way with quercitron, taking the precaution to purify the decoction of the dye-stuff with buttermilk or glue. After filtering the lake it may be brightened with a solution of tin. Annotto lake is formed by dissolving the dye-stuff in a weak alkaline ley, and adding alum water to the solution. Solution of tin gives this lake a lemon yellow cast; acids a reddish tint.

Red lakes. - The finest of these is carmine.

This beautiful pigment was accidentally discovered by a Franciscan monk at Pisa. He formed an extract of cochineal with salt of tartar, in order to employ it as a medicine, and obtained on the addition of an acid to it, a fine red precipitate. Homberg published a process for preparing it, in 1656. Carmine is the colouring matter of cochineal, prepared by precipitation from a decoction of the drug. Its composition varies according to the mode of making it. The ordinary carmine is prepared with alum, and consists of carminium (see COCHINEAL), a little animal matter, alumina, and sulphuric acid. See CARMINE.

Carminated lake, called lake of Florence, Paris, or Vienna. For making this pigment, the liquor is usually employed which is decanted from the carmine process. Into this, newly precipitated alumina is put; the mixture is stirred, and heated a little, but not too much. Whenever the alumina has absorbed the color, the mixture is allowed to settle, and the liquor is drawn off.

Sometimes alum is dissolved in the decoction of cochineal, and potash is then added, to throw down the alumina in combination with the colouring matter; but in this way an indifferent pigment is obtained. Occasionally, solution of tin is added, to brighten the dye.

A lake may be obtained from kermes, in the same way as from cochineal; but now it is seldom had recourse to.

Brazil-wood lakes. - Brazil wood is to be boiled in a proper quantity of water for 15 minutes; then, alum and solution of tin being added, the liquor is to be filtered, and a solution of potash poured in as long as it occasions a precipitate. This is separated by the filter, washed in pure water, mixed with a little gum water, and made into cakes. Or, the Brazil wood may be boiled along with a little vinegar, the decoction filtered, alum and salt of tin added, and then potash-ley poured in to precipitate the lake. For 1 pound of Brazil wood, 30 to 40 pounds of water, and from 1½ to 2 pounds of alum, may be taken, in producing a deep red lake; or the same proportions with half a pound of solution of tin. If the potash be added in excess, the tint will become violet. Cream of tartar occasions a brownish cast.

Madder lake. - A fine lake may be obtained from madder, by washing it in cold water as long as it gives out color; then sprinkling some solution of tin over it, and setting it aside for some days. A gentle heat may also be applied. The red liquor must be then separated by the filter, and decomposed by the addition of carbonate of soda, when a fine red precipitate will be obtained. Or, the reddish brown colouring matter of decoction of madder may be first separated by acetate of lead, and then the rose-red colour with alum. Or, madder tied up in a bag is boiled in water; to the decoction, alum is added, and then potash. The precipitate should be washed with boiling water, till it ceases to tinge it yellow; and it is then to be dried.

The following process merits a preference:

Diffuse 2 pounds of ground madder in 4 quarts of water, and after a maceration of 10 minutes, strain and squeeze the grounds in a press. Repeat this maceration, &c. twice upon the same portion of madder. It will now have a fine rose color. It must then be mixed with 5 or 6 pounds of water and half a pound of bruised alum, and heated upon a water bath for 3 or 4 hours, with the addition of water, as it evaporates, after which the whole must be thrown upon a filter cloth. The liquor which passes is to be filtered through paper, and then precipitated by carbonate of potash. If the potash be added in in three successive doses, three different lakes will be obtained, of successively diminishing beauty. The precipitates must be washed till the water comes off colorless.

Blue lakes are hardly ever prepared, as indigo, Prussian blue, cobalt blue, and ultramarine, answer every purpose of blue pigments.

Green lakes are made by a mixture of yellow lakes with blue pigments; but chrome yellows mixed with blues produce almost all the requisite shades of green.

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