A Dictionary of Arts: Sealing-wax.

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.


SEALING-WAX. (Cire à cacheter, Fr.; Siegellack, Germ,) The Hindoos from time immemorial have possessed the resin lac, and were long accustomed to use it for sealing manuscripts before it was known in Europe. It was first imported from the East into Venice, and then into Spain; in which country sealing-wax became the object of considerable commerce, under the name of Spanish wax.

If shellac be compounded into sealing-wax, immediately after it has been separated by fusion from the palest qualities of stick or seed lac, it then form a better and less brittle article, than when the shellac is fused a second time. hence sealing-wax, rightly prepared in the East Indies, deserves a preference over what can be made in other countries, where the lac is not indigenous. Shellac can be restored in some degree, however, to a plastic and tenacious state by melting it with a very small portion of turpentine. The palest shellac is to be selected for eight-colored sealing-wax, the dark kind being reserved black.

The following prescription may be followed for making red sealing-wax: - Take 4 ounces of shellac, ounce of Venice turpentine (some say 1½ ounces), and 3 ounces of vermillion. Melt the lac in a copper pan suspended over a clear charcoal fire, then pour the turpentine slowly into it, and soon afterwards add the vermilion, stirring briskly all the time of the mixture with a rod in either hand. In forming the round sticks of sealing-wax, a certain portion of the mass should be weighed while it is ductile, divided into the desired number of pieces, and then rolled out upon a wam marble slab, by means of a smooth wooden block, like that used by apothecaries for rolling the mass of pills. The oval sticks of sealing-wax are cast in moulds, with the above compound in a state of fusion. The marks of the lines of junction of the mould-box may be afterwards removed by holding the sticks over a clear fire, or passing them over a blue gas-flame. Marbled sealing-wax is made by mixing two, three, or more coloured kinds of it, while they are in a semi-fluid state. From the viscidity of the several masses, their incorporation is left incomplete, so as to produce the appearance of marbling. Gold sealing-wax is made simply by stirring gold-colored mica spangles into the melted resins. Wax may be scented by introducing a little essential oil, essence of musk, or other perfume. If 1 part of balsam of Peru be melted along with 99 parts of the sealing-wax composition, an agreeable fragnance will be exhaled in the act of sealing with it. Either lamp black or ivory black serves for the coloring-matter of black wax. Sealing-wax is often adulterated with rosin; in which case it runs into thin drops at the flame of a candle.

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