Notwithstanding the inconsistency of his allocation of substances to the different groups (for instance, acetic acid was placed in the vegetable class, while the acetates and the products of their dry distillation, acetone, &c., were placed in the mineral class), this classification came into favour.
An aqueous solution readily dissolves lead oxide, with formation of a strongly alkaline solution containing basic acetates (Acetum Plumbi or Saturni).
How much of the hydrogen and oxygen are in the hydroxylic (OH) form cannot be absolutely stated, but from the study of the acetates at least three hydroxyl groups may be assumed.
Prior to 1830, little was known of the process other than that organic compounds generally yielded tarry and solid matters, but the discoveries of Liebig and Dumas (of acetone from acetates), of Mitscherlich (of benzene from benzoates) and of Persoz (of methane from acetates and lime) brought the operation into common laboratory practice.
Ferrous and ferric acetates are used as mordants; normal lead acetate is known in commerce as sugar of lead; basic copper acetates are known as verdigris.