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Making Gold

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Making Gold

Post by Karen on Sat 23 Apr 2011 - 19:00


Edward Pinter, 56, described as a merchant, living in Dover-street, Piccadilly, was charged on remand at Marlborough-street police-court on Tuesday, before Mr. Hannay, with attempting to obtain the sum of 40,000 pounds by means of a trick with intent to defraud Mr. Edward William Streeter, a jeweller, carrying on business in New Bond-street.
The evidence was to the effect that prosecutor went to Storey's Hotel, Dover-street, where he met the prisoner and Count Kearney. The accused represented that he had discovered the philosopher's stone, and that by a secret-process he could make gold by adding certain ingredients to that metal. To demonstrate the truth of his assertion he placed a sovereign in a crucible along with certain powders and melted it, the result being that when the process was over it was discovered that there was a nugget in the crucible weighing nearly as much as three sovereigns. The experiment was repeated a second time at the workshop of the prosecutor in Tysoe-street, Clerkenwell, when twenty sovereigns were placed in a crucible and melted. The contents of the crucible in the second experiment had been sent to Dr. Dupre to be analysed. During the process a dreadful stench was created, which caused people to leave the room where the smelting was going on. It was suggested that Mr. Streeter should find 40,000 pounds, which was to be placed in a tank, and covered with some secret material for 18 days, it being represented that before the gold was fused it was essential that it should be in soak for the period mentioned. It was averred that when the experiment was over the 40,000 pounds would be made into nearly 100,000 pounds, but that if anyone opened the doors of the tank while the process was going on he would be killed from the fumes arising from the acid. On the part of the prosecution it was alleged that it was the intention of the prisoner, when the 40,000 pounds had been placed in the tank, to create such a stench as to frighten everybody out of the place, and having done this, to coolly collect the money and make off with it.
Mr. Horace Avory and Mr. Poland now appeared to prosecute on behalf of the Treasury; Mr. Bernard Abrahams represented the defendant, and Mr. Turton watched the proceedings on behalf of Count Kearney, who had offered to give the Treasury every information upon the subject in his power.
Mr. Avory said he was sorry to say that the result of the analysis made by Dr. Dupre proved that the philosopher's stone had not yet been discovered. (Laughter.) It turned out as he had hinted last week, that one of the powders contained real gold, while the other powder, which the accused offered to Mr. Streeter to examine, consisted of calomel, mixed with charcoal. Moreover Pinter was found to be in the possession of some pure granulated gold.
Detective-inspector Forest said that on May 4 he had an interview with Mr. Streeter, in consequence of which he went with Inspector Swanson to Tysoe-street, Clerkenwell, and kept observation in the workshop of the prosecutor. About half-past two the prisoner drove up to the place carrying a black bag and a parcel wrapped in a piece of newspaper. Shortly afterwards Mr. Streeter, Count Kearney, and Mr. Bunn arrived. They went into the smelting room at the rear of the premises. After a short interval he noticed a dense vapour coming from the smelting room, which smelt very strongly of ammonia. The parties left the room where the process was going on, but the prisoner returned, and entered it alone. After the lapse of half an hour Mr. Myers, an assistant of the prosecutor, brought the crucible (produced) out of the furnace. Mr. Streeter then gave a signal, and the witness and Inspector Swanson came from where they were concealed. Inspector Swanson arrested the accused, who was searched by the witness. In his possession were found two large pill boxes, one empty and the other full of a dark grey powder, three 5 pound notes, and some English and American money. In the black bag belonging to the accused he discovered a pair of gloves slightly burnt and five glass jars, some of which contained a powder. The things found in the bag were handed to Dr. Dupre. Afterwards the witness went to Dover-street, and searched the rooms which the prisoner occupied. In a large trunk in the bedroom, which he unlocked with the keys found upon the accused, he discovered the bellows produced, a smelting stove, gas fittings, indiarubber tubing, three blacklead crucibles, some dark grey powder wrapped in brown paper, a quantity of granulated gold, a packet of borax, and a bottle of white powder.
Dr. August Dupre, lecturer on chemistry at Westminster Hospital School of Medicine, and chemical adviser to the Explosive Department of the Home Office, said he received from the police the chemicals that had been found in the possession of the accused. The powder that was in the pill-box consisted of a mixture of calomel and carbon. The brown paper parcel found in the prisoner's bag also contained a powder made of calomel and charcoal. Another powder found in a parcel in the bag consisted of 904 grains of precipitated pure gold. The small glass jar produced contained a dark grey powder somewhat similar in appearance to that found in the pill-box but containing 19.7 per cent of gold. He also examined two bottles which contained nitrate of silver, a bottle labelled "poison" containing calomel, a bottle containing a small quantity of sulphate of calcium, and two bottles which had apparently contained proto-sulphate of iron, some crucibles that had not been used; and the large crucible produced containing a large lump of gold, weighting 6,684 grains. There were also in the crucible a number of globules of gold and a few of silver weighing together 299.64 grains. The total amount of gold found in the crucible was 5,890.2 grains, which almost exactly equaled the weight of gold in 52 sovereigns. The addition of the grey powder or the granulated yellow crystals, together with the addition of some silver, would produce what he had found in the large crucible. The pair of gloves found were stained with nitrate of silver.
Mr. Abrahams: My client is anxious now to show that he can make gold by performing the process in open court. (Laughter.)
Mr. Hannay: Yes, but I am told that such a stench would be created that we should all have to leave the place. (More laughter.) Do you think, Dr. Dupre, that the granulated gold found was made from sovereigns?
Dr. Dupre: Granulated gold, is made, sir, by precipitated gold with photo-sulphate of iron. Precipitated gold is not found in nature.
Mr. Avory: If a handful of granulated gold were put in the crucible would it form the result produced?
Dr. Dupre: Oh, yes.
Mr. Abrahams asked that independent scientific evidence should be called on behalf of the prisoner, and intimated that he should apply to the Treasury with that object.
Mr. Hannay again remanded the prisoner for a week.

Source: The Central Times, Saturday May 23rd, 1891, Page 1

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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