By C. A. McAuliffe (eds.)
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Extra info for The Chemistry of Mercury
The effects on the physical and mental health of populations can only be guessed at. (Animals, incidentally, were treated in the same way; a lincolnshire druggist is said to have sold twenty-five tons of mercurial ointment to local farmers in a single year. 59 ) Perhaps the most irresponsible prescribing was of draughts of mercury to relieve constipation-a minor complaint for which many more effective and safer remedies were known. Even a level-headed physician like Lemery thought it better to take a lot than a little 43 Mercury is given in the Disease called Miserere, unto two or three Pounds, and is voided again by Siege to the same Weight; it is better to take a great Deal of it than a little, because a small Quantity might be apt to stop in the Circumvolutions of the Guts, and if some acid Humours should happen to join with it, a Sublimate Corrosive would be there made; but when a large Quantity of it is taken, there's no need of fearing this Accident, because it passes quickly through by its own Weight.
48 They were all the rage for a time, but there were the inevitable accidents, both because the pastilles looked like sweets, and because the fumes evolved were highly toxic. Non-mercurial substitutes were devised, but probably none was as effective as the original. 7 Mercury in Industry The employment of mercury in the extraction of gold and silver has already been mentioned. The trades of hat-making and gilding will be dealt with in chapter 10. Another industrial outlet stemmed from the discovery in 1800 by Edward Charles Howard (1774-1816) of mercury fulminate and its detonating properties.
Eichholz (Oxford, 1965) p. 81. 13. Vitruvius, De architectura, Book VII. 14. 0. Davies, Roman mines in Europe (Oxford, 1933) p. 138. 15. Ref. 14, p. 139; R. J. Forbes, Studies in ancient technology, Vol. 8, p. 173; M. M. Vassits,Rev. archeologique, 43 (1954) p. 60. 16. T. , 1888, p. ) 17. Ref. 14,p. 67. 18. Pliny, Natural History, Book XXXIII, chap. 20. 19. Ref. 18, chap. 32. 20. M. P. E. Berthelot, Introduction Ia chimie des anciens et du moyen age (Paris, 1889) p. 23. 21. J. Needham, Science and civilisation in China, vol.