BY ROBERT F. FAIRTHORNE, PH.G.
Hydro-alcoholic Tinctures.—Practically, I have found that many of these can be prepared so as to make very satisfactory preparations, by macerating the medicinal ingredients for 24 hours in the alcohol alone, then filtering off and mixing with the required or an equal quantity of water and displacing with this mixture. My reason for preferring this method is that the alcohol more thoroughly exhausts the active or flavoring ingredient when alone than it would if mixed with water. Some may say that the result is the same, but I think if any one will try it they will find an advantage in separate treatment of the drug, especially in such as the compound tincture of cardamom, tincture of serpentaria and tincture of cubebs, the active ingredients of which are more soluble in alcohol than in water. In preparing such tinctures, after the alcoholic solution is filtered off, after maceration during 24 hours, and mixed with water, precipitation occurs. I contend, however, that when this takes place more of the aromatic or active principle is retained in the mixture than would be the case if the same ingredients are treated with the dilute alcohol in the ordinary way. This is on account of the freer solubility of these substances in strong alcohol in the first place, and on account of the extremely fine division of the essential oils, or active ingredients, when precipitated by the addition of water, favoring greater solubility, on the same principle that the extremely fine division of camphor or other essential oils by means of magnesium carbonate renders them more soluble in water. The last-named fact appears to be generally accepted, and I think, upon reflection, the former will be also.
It leaves, moreover, the article thus treated in a condition better suited for the extraction of any substance soluble in water or in the mixture of the water and alcohol, and I think a trial of this method will convince any one making it of the advantages to be derived from it.
Mending Broken Glassware.—When glass funnels are cracked or broken, an easy and expeditious way to mend them will be found by first warming the article broken over a stove, and applying strips of sheet gutta percha (about an inch wide) over the crack, and of such a length that they will cover the entire length of the split. After one piece is attached to the glass another is placed on this, and even a third or fourth layer is so disposed, in order to form a firm support to the broken pieces of glass, so as to present a proper continuity of surface, thereby restoring it to its original form. The glass should not be heated too much, but only to a degree sufficient to render the gutta percha applied to it adhesive. This sticks very tenaciously to the glass. I have mended funnels by this plan that have been broken in four or five pieces, and have found them quite as useful as the unbroken ones.
The ease with which articles can be thus mended, and the strength given them by being .thus supported by so strong a substance, will doubtless commend its use to many who, like myself, make much use of glassware.