• WordNet 3.6
    • n isinglass any of various minerals consisting of hydrous silicates of aluminum or potassium etc. that crystallize in forms that allow perfect cleavage into very thin leaves; used as dielectrics because of their resistance to electricity
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Put fish skin or isinglass size of a nine-pence in pot when put on to boil or else the white and shell of half an egg to a couple of quarts of coffee."
    • Isinglass (Min) A popular name for mica, especially when in thin sheets.
    • Isinglass A semitransparent, whitish, and very pure form of gelatin, chiefly prepared from the sounds or air bladders of various species of sturgeons (as the Acipenser huso) found in the rivers of Western Russia. It used for making jellies, as a clarifier, etc. Cheaper forms of gelatin are not unfrequently so called. Called also fish glue.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n isinglass The purest commercial form of gelatin, a substance of firm texture and whitish color, prepared from the sounds or air-bladders of certain fresh-water fishes. Isinglass is manufactured especially from the sounds of some species of Russian sturgeon, and in the United States from the sounds of cod, hake, squeteague, sea-trout, sturgeon, and other fishes, and from the skins of some of them. An inferior quality is made from clean scraps of hide, etc., or from the purified jelly obtained from skins, hoofs, horns, etc. In the preparation of creams and jellies isinglass is in great request. It is also used in fining liquors of the fermented kind, in purifying coffee, in making mock pearls, and in stiffening linens, silks, gauzes, etc. With brandy it forms a cement for mending broken porcelain and glass. It is likewise used as an agglutinant to glue together the parts of musical instruments, and for binding many other delicate fabrics. It is used in the manufacture of fine glues and sizes, adhesive plasters, court-plasters, diamond cement, and imitation glass, in refining wines and liquors, in adulterating milk, and in lustering silk ribbons. Grades are known as lyre, leaf, and book isinglass. In the East Indies, China, and Japan, isinglass, or its equivalent, is prepared from various algæ or seaweeds—the same in part which furnish the material of the bird's-nests prized as a delicacy by the Chinese. Such is the origin of the important Bengal isinglass or agar-agar. Japanese isinglass is afforded by species of Gelidium, and is said to produce a firmer jelly than any other gelatin. These various products are used not only for food, but in the arts for stiffening, varnishing, and gluing.
    • n isinglass Mica: so called from its resemblance to some forms of the gelatin.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Isinglass ī′zing-glas a glutinous substance, chiefly prepared from the air-bladders of the sturgeon.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Prob. corrupted fr. D. huizenblas,akin to G. hausenblase,), lit., bladder of the huso, or large sturgeon; huizen, sturgeon + blas, bladder. Cf. Bladder Blast a gust of wind
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A corr. of Dut. huizenblashuizen, a kind of sturgeon, blas, a bladder; Ger. hausenblase.


In literature:

Isinglass, two ounces; water, two pints.
"The Ladies Book of Useful Information" by Anonymous
It was one of those stoves that have isinglass all around it so that the fire can be seen when it burns red.
"The Girl from Sunset Ranch" by Amy Bell Marlowe
Sounds of the said sturgeon will make isinglass according to the same instructions.
"The Bounty of the Chesapeake" by James Wharton
Bruise a sufficient quantity of Isinglass, and let it soak in a little warm water for twenty-four hours.
"One Thousand Secrets of Wise and Rich Men Revealed" by C. A. Bogardus
Might we not see that effect by pouring a little melted isinglass into a glass of wine, which you say contains tannin?
"Conversations on Chemistry, V. 1-2" by Jane Marcet
When made a year, rack it off, and fine it with isinglass.
"The Cook and Housekeeper's Complete and Universal Dictionary; Including a System of Modern Cookery, in all Its Various Branches," by Mary Eaton
Add pepper, mace, a very little isinglass, and salt to your taste.
"The Lady's Own Cookery Book, and New Dinner-Table Directory;" by Charlotte Campbell Bury
And these were as thick and tough as isinglass.
"Tales of Fishes" by Zane Grey
Some persons use flour instead of isinglass, but it is highly improper, and should never be resorted to.
"The Ladies' Work-Table Book" by Anonymous
A strong solution of isinglass made in the same manner is an excellent cement for leather.
"Paper and Printing Recipes" by J. Sawtelle Ford