Popular Science ( March 1926)
Dr Francis Benenati, of the Catholic
University of America at Brooklands, DC, is here seen holding
a mummified rabbit. On the table in front of him are mummified
fish. Dr Benenati receently announced the discovery of the
long lost secret of Egyptian mumification. With the use of a
fluid that he has developed he says he can restore the
original freshness of a mummy by immersing it in cold water.
Both discoveries are valuable additions to our knowledge.
Improvement in Processes for Preserving Matter
Inventor: BENENATI FRANCIS SALVATOR
Proofing.- Oil or juice obtained from plants of the genus Allium,
especially from garlic, is employed for preserving animal and
vegetable substances generally, such as paper and manuscripts,
cloth, paintings on canvas, wood, silk, &c. The objects to be
treated may be dipped in the juice and dried, left immersed in it,
injected with it, or exposed to the vapour of the juice according
to their nature and circumstances. When the objects are required
for use, the juice may be washed out of them with water.
I, FRANCIS SALVATOR BENENATI, do hereby declare the nature of this
Invention and in what manner the same is to be performed, to be
particularly described and ascertained in and by the following
statement: I have discovered that destructible matter such as
animal and vegetable matter can be preserved indefinitely by
saturating the same with an agent consisting of or containing oil
of the family of plants to which the genus allium belongs namely,
liliaceae and more particularly of the sativum or garlic species
and afterwards restored or partly restored to its primary
condition as hereinafter explained. The preservation of the matter
is not due
solely to the fact that the said agent excludes or protects the
matter from the elements but is largely due to the germicidal,
restorative, and healing properties of the allium. By animal
matter is meant animal and human bodies or anatomical parts
thereof and zoological, histological, anatomical, pathological and
By vegetable matter is meant, for example, such article: as paper,
cardboard, canvas, silk or other cloth, paints, wood, wood
products-, etc., which are destructible by bacteria.
Manuscripts on papyrus and parchments may also be preserved by
treating with the said agent and I find that not only is the paper
or parchment preserved but also the matter written or printed
thereon whether by ink, pencil, or other material.
Broadly my process is applicable to any animal or vegetable matter
capable of absorbing the preserving agent to the saturation point,
that is, to such an extent that it cannot assimilate or contain
The oil may be obtained by macerating and grinding the bulbs or
the leaves or the bulbs and the leaves and pressing the juice
therefrom and filtering.
It is known, that onion juice, or garlic juice, has a preservative
action and several examples might be give,, of its use but it has
hitherto been applied generally as a coating to the matter to be
treated. For example, it has been proposed to treat porcelain,
glass vessel,, or wooden vats by coating them with layers of
garlic juice, each layer being allowed to dry before the next is
applied. these layers forming an insulating coating which is
resistant to water, chlorine and heat, but no suggestion has been
made that this procedure might be continued indefinitely until the
vessels are soaked with the garlic juice.
On the other hand it has been suggested that organic substances
might he preserved by treating them with the products of dry
distillation of garlic or onions, after placing the products
through brine and alcohol.
Now in contradistinction to the known processes the process
according to this invention consists in saturating the matter to
be preserved with an agent. consisting essentially of an oil of
the family of plants to which the genus allium belongs, for
example, oil of garlic either in a volatile or fixed state and
either full strength or diluted in water at any temperature
between freezing and boiling point, say at normal atmospheric
temperature and either alone or mixed with a fixative as
hereinafter described. The time required to saturate the matter,
or specimens, depends upon conditions, such as the size and
density, or porosity, of the matter, or specimen.
It is essential that the matter being treated be saturated in
whatever manner the agent is applied. If the agent is injected
arterially it must be allowed to soak into the matter to the
saturation point and if applied to the surface it is absorbed and
when the surface is dry the agent is again applied and so on until
no more can be absorbed.
As hereinbefore stated the agent may be employed either in a
volatile or fixed state. Certain matter, or specimens, may be
preserved by treating with the agent in a volatile state, that is,
by subjecting the matter to fumes of the agent which fumes
condense on the matter and are absorbed thereby. In some cases,
however, for example, in embalming bodies, the agent is applied in
a 'liquid form, that is, in a fixed state.
After saturation the matter or the specimen may he dried and kept
in dried condition until it is desired to restore it to its
original condition of pliability, etc.
Histological, pathological, biological and anatomical specimens
when treated by my process can be restored to their natural
pliability, condition and volume for the purpose of study.
Obviously. this in itself is a great advantage as shipping space
can be reduced, as it is not necessary to ship the articles, or
keep them stored until used, in cumbersome jars containing a
The restoration of specimens, etc., which have been preserved as
hereinbefore described, to their original condition mav be
effected by immersing said specimens in water until the germicidal
agenthas been washed out. It will thus be obvious that the
scientific investigation of the tissues, etc., of any specimens
may be postponed indefinitely without fear of any decomposition or
changes taking place in the tissues.
If the specimens are to he used immediately, it will do no harm to
keep them in the agent, although specimens preserved for future
use are preferably dried.
The specimens may however be left in the agent indefinitely.
The oil of allium is generally used alone but in some instances in
which the tissues or cells collapse or distort before the allium
enters them. A fixative, as alcohol or formaldehyde, is used which
causes the aIlium to enter the cells more quickly, in fact, so
quickly that such tissues are preserved by the oil of allium in
their original condition for histological, etc. studies.
It is only necessary to use a fixative when the cells are not
supported by muscular tissue. The action of the gallium is the
same in all cases, andalone is the preserving agent when absorbed
into the matter to the saturation point.
In the case of paintings, paper, papyrus, parchments, manuscripts,
etc the oil is applied to the surface of the article and when dry
the application is reheated, as hereinbefore explained until the
parts are saturated.
In applying my process for embalming bodies the agent may be
injected into the body arterially or applied to the surface
thereof, or both. or bv immersion or dipping. The oil of ollium
acts as aforesaid as a preserving agent to kill the bacteria
which, would destroy or change the condition of the matter treated
and does not act merely as a coating- to exclude air or the
Composition of matter
This invention has for its object the production of a composition
particularly applicable for healing purposes or treating by
external application or by injection, certain diseases,
particularly skin diseases. My healing composition consists of a
mixture ofpure gum camphor, oil of juniper berries, true oil of
bitter almonds, fluid bay laurel, solution of menthol, 25% grain
alcohol (95% proof), pure carbolic acid and a small amount of
In most cases, these ingredients are mixed with a suitable base as
pure olive oil but in some instances olive oil can be omitted.
Preferably, the ingredients are mixed in equal amounts as
hereinafter specified but good results can be obtained by varying
the amounts so that they are not equal. In any case, a substantial
amount of each ingredient must be used.
Usually, the composition consists of equal amounts of pure gum
camphor, oil of juniper berries, true oil of bitter almonds, fluid
bay laurel, solution of menthol, grain alcohol with a small amount
of pure carbolic acid, and preferably the mixture consists of
menthol, solvent or grain alcohol, 2% of carbolic acid and mercury
bichlorid to the ratio of 1:1000 solution and 50% pure olive oil.
The amount of olive oil is variable according to the age and
physical strength of the person to whom the composition is to be
The composition is preferably compounded as follows: The camphor
is first dissolved in alcohol then the oil of bitter almonds, oil
of juniper berries and fluid bay laurel; the carbolic acid,
mercury bichloride and solution of menthol added in order.
The whole matter is then allowed to stand from a day to a week in
order that chemical action may take place between them, or if no
chemical action takes place, in order that each ingredient may act
on or modify the others. It is my opinion, that a chemical action
The gum camphor, oil of juniper berries true oil of bitter
almonds, fluid bay laurel and menthol are germicides and
I am of the opinion they act to some extent together and to some
extent counteract each other. The carbolic acid is a disinfectant
and the alcohol is a. neutralizing agent to the carbolic acid and
also acts as a solvent and the menthol neutralizes the powerful
effect of the bitter almonds, juniper and laurel.
The base is a cooling agent and a protector to tissues.
It is preferable to use fluid bay laurel but ordinary bay or
extract of fluid made from any of the bay tree family may be used.
As before stated, my composition is applied by external
application and can be used in some instances by injection and in
the latter case the percentage of olive oil is increased.
My composition is particularly adapted to heal skin diseases such
as psoriasis, eczema, ichthyosis, etc.
The olive oil acts as a counter-irritant and prevents the rapid
penetration of the other ingredients of the composition where
tissues are destroyed. It also prevents the drying of the small
capillaries in diseased tissues, which capillaries help the work
of reconstruction of the tissues, after the germs have been
destroyed in the diseased tissues or parts. It also is a healing
agent, especially in combination with other germicidal agents.
In some cases, the solution can be used without the olive oil. The
pure gum camphor acts as a drying agent, the oil of juniper
berries is a germicidal and an irritant.
The pure oil of bitter almonds acts as a germicidal agent, while
the fluid of bay laurel acts as a mild stimulant. The solution of
menthol acts as a neutralizing agent of poisonous qualities of
other ingredients and also is a cooling agent. The carbolic acid
acts as a germicidal agent and also the bichloride acts in its
well-known and peculiar manner as a germicidal agent in certain
cases. As before stated, the grain alcohol is a vehicle and
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