Their knowledge of chemistry was far greater than that of their neighbours, and the science is even now named from the country of its birth. The later Arabs called it Alchemia, the Egyptian art, and hence our words alchemy and chemistry. So also Naphtha, or rock oil, from the coast of the Red Sea; and Anthracite, or rock fuel, from the coast of Syria, both bear Egyptian names.
It is the growth, development, and transformation into chemistry, of this alchemia which we have to consider. Alchemy, that is, the art of melting, pouring, and transforming, must necessarily pay much attention to working with crucibles, furnaces, alembics, and other vessels wherein things are fused, distilled, calcined, and dissolved.