One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Lead acetate, a soluble white crystalline salt.
- ‘He advised that nearly an equal quantity of lead acetate should be added to vermilion because ‘the sugar of lead prevents the vermilion from becoming hard.’’
- ‘Unlike most other salts, this type of lead acetate has a sweet rather than a salty taste, resulting in its sometimes being called sugar of lead and its use in ancient Rome as a wine sweetener.’
- ‘Litharge and sugar of lead are used to-day only rarely as drying agents, having been displaced by the liquid manganese siccatives, which are easy to handle.’
- ‘It shouldn't have been, but white lead was used to make bread whiter and sugar of lead to make wine sweeter.’
- ‘Four grains of sugar of lead and four of pulverized opium to the pint of water, make a good lotion for various purposes.’
Mid 17th century: so named because of its sweet taste.
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