Antimony is a brilliant metal, having a bluish tint. It melts somewhere about 800 Fah., and does not contract much in cooling. The discoverer of this metal was Basil Valentine, in 1394. Brittleness is one of its peculiar characteristics, and when broken it exhibits a beautifully crystalline appearance, reflecting the light from myriads of facets, like the jewels in some Eastern palace. In a closed vessel it is slowly but distinctly volatile at a white heat, and can be easily distilled in a current of hydrogen gas. If placed on a piece of ignited coal, and exposed to a stream of oxygen, it burns brilliantly, and forms its oxyd, as a dense yellowish-white smoke, having an odor not unlike garlic. The atmosphere does not sensibly affect it at common temperatures, but when exposed in a fused state, it readily combines with oxygen. When very highly heated and allowed to fall to the ground from a certain hight, it takes fire and gives off smoke—its oxyd. Antimony is seldom found in a state of purity in commerce, being contaminated with iron, lead, arsenic, and sulphur in greater or less quantities; but all these maybe, separated by reducing it to a fine powder, and then fusing it in a crucible, with one-tenth its weight of niter. The fineness of the gruin of the ingot is regarded as an indication of its purity. It is discovered as the oxyd and sulphide chiefly in Germany and Sweden. There is some in this country, but we never heard of any antimony veins being worked. It is used chiefly as an alloy, the most important of which is type metal. Britannia metal is an alloy of the same class. In the form of tar-tarate of antimony and potash, it forms the tartar emetic of medicine ; and combined with lead, it forms the plates on which music is engraved
This article was originally published with the title "Antimony"