Distillation: A Story of Evolution and Advances (2)
Today, distillation is widely used in various industries, from the production of alcoholic beverages to petroleum refining and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Over the centuries, distillation has evolved and perfected while maintaining its basic goal of separating and purifying the liquid components of a mixture.
In 1975, Paolo Rovesti (1902-1983), a chemist and pharmacist known as the “father of phyto-cosmetics,” discovered a terracotta distillation apparatus in the Indus Valley in western Pakistan, dating back to around 3000 BC. This discovery provided concrete evidence of early distillation in that region.
Evidence of distillation has also been found in Akkadian tablets dating back to 1200 BC, describing perfumery operations. These tablets provided textual evidence that the Babylonians in ancient Mesopotamia knew a primitive form of distillation. Additionally, early evidence of distillation was found related to alchemists working in Alexandria in Roman Egypt in the 1st century.
In China, distillation may have started during the Eastern Han Dynasty (2nd-3rd centuries), but the distillation of beverages began in the Jin (12th-13th centuries) and Southern Song (12th-13th centuries) dynasties, according to archaeological evidence.