album et pellucidatum

The turning point came as the new year of 1708 dawned. A handwritten sheet in Böttger’s eccentric mixture of Latin and German dated 15 January 1708, recorded a list of seven recipes: 


N 1 clay only
N 2 clay and alabaster in the ratio of 4:1 

N 3 clay and alabaster in the ratio of 5:1 
N 4 clay and alabaster in the ratio of 6:1 
N 5 clay and alabaster in the ratio of 7:1 
N 6 clay and alabaster in the ratio of 8:1 
N 7 clay and alabaster in the ratio of 9:1

The results of the test firings were more startling than even he had dared hope. After five hours in the kiln, Böttger records, the first sample had a white appearance; the second and third had collapsed; the fourth remained in shape but looked discoloured. The last three held him spellbound.
These small, insignificant-looking plaques had withstood the searing heat of the kiln; they had remained in shape and intact. More importantly they were ‘album et pellucidatum‘ – white and translucent. In the dank, squalid laboratory the twenty-seven-year-old Böttger had succeeded where everyone else had failed. The arcanum for porcelain for which all Europe had searched now lay within his grasp.
Gleeson, Janet. The Arcanum: The Extraordinary True Story. Transworld Publishers, London, 1998, p. 56.

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4 thoughts on “album et pellucidatum

  1. Thanks, Terry! It's not my experiment though, just one I read about in a book on the discovery of European porcelain in the early 18th century… Its fascinating to find out in what difficult circumstances these discoveries were made, and how much trouble went into keeping the recipes a secret… Sharing them was a crime that was equal to treason! Thank goodness times have changed or I'd be in trouble. 😉

    Like

  2. Thanks, Terry! It's not my experiment though, just one I read about in a book on the discovery of European porcelain in the early 18th century… Its fascinating to find out in what difficult circumstances these discoveries were made, and how much trouble went into keeping the recipes a secret… Sharing them was a crime that was equal to treason! Thank goodness times have changed or I'd be in trouble. 😉

    Like

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