The following reliable formula for this most useful article in constant use by conjurers was furnished by one of the most eminent chemists in this country. If the instructions are faithfully followed, the paper will be white, burn without an ash, and will not rot.
1. The best white tissue paper must be used, and it ought to be cut into pieces of the required size.
2. Make a mixture of strong sulphuric acid, 4 volumes, and fuming nitric acid (sp. gr. 1.52), 5 volumes.
The first-named acid is to be poured into the second, stirring all the time with a glass rod. The mixture will be very hot, and must be left till cold before it is used (preferably, 24 hours). If the mixture is made in a jar the jar must be covered with a plate to keep out atmospheric moisture.
3. Pour some of the mixture into a glass or porcelain dish, as, for example, a dish used in photography, and put into it about ten sheets of paper, one at a time, pressing down each sheet with glass rods, one in each hand. When the sheets have soaked for ten minutes, take them out one at a time and turn them rapidly into a large volume of water.
4. If the sheets when taken from the acid are put into a small volume of water they will heat up, become jellified, and be of no use.
5. After the first washing, the sheets must be put into a convenient vessel through which a stream of water is kept running for at least two hours.
6. While this final wash is going on, a fresh batch of paper may be put into the same acid in the dish, as that acid is good for about fifty sheets, or five batches.
7. Lastly, the thoroughly washed sheets must be placed, separately, between sheets of blotting paper and left to dry, which will take five or six days.