reflux still origins
- Possibly the origin of the reflux column still goes back to the 15th
century. In 'De arte conficiendi aquam vitae simplicem et
compositam', written by Michele Savonarola (1384-1462), a professor
at the University of Padua, he gives a description of the still and
suggests that the column should be as tall as possible, because the
further alcoholic vapors are made to travel, the more impurities they
lose. See cross section of still:
Also see 'The Begginnings'
and Fig 7 in 'Production'
Also useful is 'Distillation in Alambic' at the 'Essential Spirits
Alambic Distilleries' site:
Click on 'History of Distilling'
The modern improvements are the restriction of reflux cooling to only
the top of the column (still not by everyone!), and the use of plates
or packing in the column.