Eduard Simon extracted an oily liquid from storax through water damp distillation in 1839. He named it "styrol" which translates to styrene in English. According to Boundy et al. styrene was distillated before by others. Styrene polymerises under natural conditions to polystyrene.
The similarly named styrax is from a different plant.
In popular culture
- Storax is featured as the final ingredient for the scent Amor and Psyche in the 2006 film Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, based on Patrick Süskind's 1985 novel, Perfume.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson likens the religious sentiment to storax in his famous Divinity School Address: "The perception of [the divine law of virtue] awakens in the mind ... the religious sentiment ... Wonderful is its power to charm and to command ... It is myrrh and storax, and chlorine and rosemary..."
- In Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins analogizes the effect of relaxation to the melting of storax: "Paying him little heed when he entered, Kudra remained bent over a large candle, heating some newly purchased storax resin in a metal cup. 'It's cold in here,' Alobar said. 'Umm,' she answered without looking up. As it relaxed its grip on itself, the wad of storax caused the room to smell like the center of a chocolate cream. Sometimes when a stressful person relaxes, he or she will, in a similar fashion, perfume the air 'round about them. Alobar sat down and tried it."
- Although it is not specifically referred to as such in the Bible, the Balm of Gilead referred to in Jeremiah 8:22 is the salve of the resin of storax tree.
- Simon E.: Liebigs Ann. chem. 31, (1839) p. 265
- Gausepol, Gellert: Polystyrol, Kunststoffhandbuch Band 4, Munich 1996 Preview online on Google books
- Ray H. Boundy, Raymond F. Boyer, and Sylvia M. Stoesser, Styrene: its polymers, copolymers, and derivatives, 1952, Reinhold, New York
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