Distillation techniques:

History of steam distillation:

1 Direct fire, "feu nu"
The first steam distillation alembics were filled with water, direct fire was used  to obtain the steam.
This technique was used untill the end of the 19 th Century , the only diffrence was that the herbs did  not soaked
into the water anymore, but were separated with a "grille".
You can still see this kind of still, usually in developping countries.

                         

Experimental still, France, 2002                                Still, India

2 Indirect fire, use of a steam generator:

It was the German company Schimmel & Company from Leipzig  that used for the first time exclusively indirect steam to distill lavender in Barrème,
Haute Provence (route Napoléon). They did not invented it but did studies proving the superior quality and yield compared to the old techniques

  

 

Some recent steam generators, used by small scale working distillers, France.

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