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ARACK, ARRACK, OR RACK.
A spirituous liquor, generally considered to be obtained by distillation, in the East Indies, from rice or sugar, fermented with the juice of cocoa nuts. Arack is also the name of a liquor more intoxicating than Brandy, used by the Tartars, and made from sour milk distilled.
BISMUTH, OR TIN GLASS. A metal that is not malleable, (14) found more generally in a native state than any other metallic substance, although it is sometimes mixed with Sulphur, Silver, Arsenic, and an earthy matter. It is commonly found in Germany, and occasionally in the tin mines of Cornwall. Most metallic substances unite with it, but its use is rather confined. It is a constituent of pewter, and forms a soft solder used by glaziers, and in printers' types. From its more effectually destroying the baser metals, it is the best purifier of gold and silver, and with it quicksilver is sometimes adulterated, in which state this article is rendered unfit for the purposes of gilding and silvering, and if not detected early spoils the appearance of the work.
BRIMSTONE (See Sulphur).
BRANDY. A spirituous inflammable liquor, extracted from wine by distillation. The French Brandy is in the highest repute, particularly that from Cognac. It is generally made from wines which are unfit for use, and during the vintage the inferior grapes are directly pressed, fermented, and distilled. (15) The flavour of brandy differs according to the species of grape from which it is extracted, and from this also may originate the peculiar favour of the French Brandy, although it is supposed to be derived from the use of an essential oil of wine. It is naturally colourless, but from
he cask, and the addition of burnt sugar, which by some is considered an improvement, arise the various degrees of colour it possesses. BRAZIL WOOD, BRASILLETTO, OR
CAESALPINA. The wood of a tree, growing in America, Japan, &c. but the best is obtained from Fernambuco. From this wood is extracted a red colour, much used in dyeing. It grows in dry barren places, and is covered with an uncommonly thick bark. It is used by turners, and is capable of being highly polished. From its name many have supposed it to be a native of Brazil, but this appears incorrect, as it is mentioned by Chaucer, before the discovery of that country, in the following lines :
“ He loketh as a Sparhawk with his eyen,
A factitious (16) metal, formed of copper and zinc, or lapis caliminaris, called by the French yellow copper. Its first formation is very old, being mentioned in the book of Genesis, (17) and although the ancient Britons were acquainted with its use, as well as that of iron, (both of which appear to have been known about the same time,) they remained ignorant that from the bosom of their own country these metals were to be obtained, and even after this discovery, they were supplied from the Continent, probably considering that they purchased them at a less expence than they could otherwise be procured. A few founderies were erected in the Island, and more were added after the Roman invasion. The Britons used Brass for their arms, money, and various domestic implements, prefering it to iron for the former purpose, on account of its being brighter, which property they highly esteemed. When the Romans entered the Island they were anxious to make a profitable use of the knowledge their predecessors bad gained respecting these veins of ore, and quickly obtained the necessary information relative to their respective situations. Brass, when tbrice calcined, is used for imparting beautiful colours to glass, which differ according to the proportions employed ; thus green, blue, and even red and yellow, may be obtained by varying the preparations. Copper beaten out very thin, and
coloured yellow, is called Brass Leaf, in the preparation of which the Germans are allowed to excel, by simply exposing them to the fumes of zinc, without any mixture with the metal. In this state it is frequently used in common gilding.
A metal brittle, bard, and sonorous, 'a compound of copper and tin, though other metallic substances, particularly zinc, are sometimes added. It is used in making bells, statues, and cannons, and in the construetion of any thing exposed to the air, being less liable to corrode than pure copper.
There are very good imitations of Bronze, sometimes called Brass Colour, the yellow made from copperdnst, and the red made from the same, mixed with å small quantity of red ochre, pulverized. (18)
COTTON TREE, OR GOSSYPIAM.
A native of the East and West Indies ; the finest grows on the Coromandel coast.
The tree is only suffered to attain the height of four or five feet, and when the fruit, which resembles a walnut, is ripe the shell bursts, and the cotton is procured. It is packed in bags, and great precaution is taken 10 preserve it from wet. Before it is manufactured into
muslins, calicoes, &c. it undergoes a variety of processes, very accurately described by Darwin in the following lines :
“First with nice eye emerging maidens cull,
While slowly circumvolves the lab’ring wheel below.” This affords employment to thousands of the poorer class, and when manufactured forms an essential part of clothing. The cotton mills, in which the various operations are performed, have now arrived at a state of great perfection, and are scattered over the United Kingdom.
CAPER, OR CAPPERIS.
A low prickly shrub, growing in most of the warmer parts of Europe. There are several species of this plant, but the Spinosa is the common Caper, imported from Italy and the Mediteranean, and so