Friday, February 24, 2017

Jewelry Cleanser

JEWELRY—Cleaning And Polishing Compound—Aq'i» ammonia 1 oz.; prepared chalk J oz.; mix, and keep cor'ied.

To use, for rings, or other smooth-surfaced jewelry, wet a bit of cloth with the compound, after having skaken it, and rub the article thoroughly; then polish by rubbing with a silk handkerchief or piece of soft buck-skin. For articles which are rough-surfaced, use a suitable brush. It is applicable for gold, silver, brass, britannia, plated goods, &o.
Source: Dr. Chase's Recipes ©1870

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Toad Ointment

Toad Ointment.—For sprains, strains, lame-hack, rheumatism, caked breasts, caked udders, &c., &e.

Good sized live toads, 4 in number; put into boiling water and cook very soft; then take them out and boil the water down to 1 pt., and add fresh churned, unsalted butter 1 lb. and simmer together; at the last add tincture of arnica 2 ozs.

This was obtained from an old Physician, who thought more of it than of any other prescription in his possession. Some persons might think it hard on toads, but you could not kill them quicker in any other way.
Source: Dr. Chase's Recipes ©1870

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Itch Ointment

Itch Ointment.—Unsalted butter 1 lb.; Burgundy pitch 2 oz.; spirits of turpentine 2 ozs.; red-precipitate, pulverized, 1 1/4 ozs.; melt the pitch and add the butter, stirring well together; then remove from the fire, and when a little cool add the spirits of turpentine, and lastly the precipitate, and stir until cold.

This will cure all cases of psora, usually called "The Itch," and many other skin eruptions, as pimples, blotches, &c.

Dr. Beach thinks the animal which infests the skin, in real itch, is the result of the disease, whilst most authors think it the cause.
Source: Dr. Chase's Recipes ©1865

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Milk Paint

Milk Paint

A fellow historical author Vicki McDonough asked about Milk paint on a writer's loop. I'm posting some recipes and information about this commonly used paint. It was even used in the 20th century. As you'll see by the recipes below there were other additives placed in the paint, like the first recipe adds linseed oil. This changes the paints drying time and luster. If the paint is simply milk and lime it is a flat paint, without color it was used on many walls to brighten up the homes. The lack of fumes was another consideration of preference for this paint. Vicki's question dealt with aged paint, in my limited experience, I've mainly seen it worn off, I've never seen in flake or peel. (however, I spoke with my husband who's been house painting for 40 years, he says it powders.) You can still purchase milk paint today and if you like the antique look on furniture milk paint might just be the way to go.

Many of the sources in Google books take from the 1825 copy from Smith's Art of House Painting. This source notates that it comes from Smith's book but was written much later in 1839.
Milk Paint. Take of skimmed milk nearly two quarts; of fresh slacked lime, about six ounces and a half; of linseed oil four ounces, and of whiting three pounds: put the lime into a stone vessel, and pour upon it a sufficient quantity of milk to form a mixture, resembling thin cream; then add the oil a little at a time, stirriitg it with a small spatula; the remaining milk is then to be added, and lastly the whiting. The milk must on no account be sour. Slake the lime by dipping the pieces in water, out of which it is to be immediately taken, and left to slack in the air. For fine white paint, the oil of caraways is best, because colourless; but with ochres the commonest oils may be used. The oil, when mixed with the milk and lime, entirely disappears, and is totally dissolved by the lime, forming a calcareous soap. The whiting, or ochre, is to be gently crumbled on the surface of the fluid, which it gradually imbibes, and at last sinks: at this period it must be well stirred in. This paint may be coloured like distemper or size-colour, with levigated charcoal, yellow ochre, ftc., and used in the same manner. The quantity here prescribed is sufficient to cover twentyseven square yards with the first coat, and it will cost about three-halfpence a yard. The same paint will do for out-door work by the addition of two ounces of slaked lime; two ounces of linseed oil, and two ounces of white Burgundy pitch; the pitch to be melted in a gentle heat with the oil, and then added to the smooth mixture of the milk and lime. In cold weather it must be mixed warm, to facilitate its incorporation with the milk. (Smith's Art of House-Painting, 1825, p. 26.)
Source: An Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm, and Villa architecture and furniture ©1839 pg277

Another recipe:

"Milk Paint.—A paint has been used on the-Continent with success, made from milk and lime, that dries quicker than oil paint, and has no smell. It is made in the following manner: Take fresh curds and bruise the lumps on a grinding-stone, ! or in an earthen pan, or mortar, with a spatula or strong spoon. Then pmt them into a pot with an equal quantity of lime, well slacked with water, to make it just thick enough to-be kneaded. Stir this i mixture without adding more water, and a white : coloured fluid will soon be obtained, which will serve as a paint. It may be laid on with a brush with as much ease as varnish, and it dries very speedily. It must, however, be used tho same day it is made, for if kept till next day k will be too thick: consequently no more must be mixed up at one, time than can be laid on in a day. If any colour be required, any of the ochres, as yellow ochre, or red ochre, or umber, may be mixed with it in any proportion. Prussian blue would be changed by the lime. Two coats of this paint will be sufficient, and when quite dry it may be polished with a piece of woolen cloth, or similar substance, and il will become as bright as varnish. It will only do for inside work ; but it will last longer if varnished i over with white of egg after it has been polished." j "The following receipt for milk paint is given in •Smith's Art of House Painting:' Take of skimmed milk nearly two quarts ; of fresh-slacked lime i about six ounces and a half; of linseed oil four I ounces, and of whiting three pounds ; put the lime j into a stone vessel, and pour upon it a sufficient quantity of milk to form a mixture resembling thin cream ; then add the oil, a little at a time, stirring i it with a small spatula ; the remaining milk is then to be added, and lastly the whiting. 1116 milk must I on no account be sour. Slack the lime by dipping the pieces in water, out of which it is to be immediately taken, and left to slack in the air. For fine white paint the oil of caraway is best, because -colourless; but with ochres the commonest oils may be used. The oil, when mixed with the milk and lime, entirely disappears, and is totally dissolved by the lime, forming a calcareous soap. The whiting or ochre is to be gently crumbled on the surface of the fluid, which it gradually imbibes, and at last sinks: at this period it must be well stirred in. This paint may be coloured like distemper or size-colour, with levigated chartoal, yellow ochre, &<:., and used in the same manner. The quantity here prescribed is sufficient to cover twenty-seven square yards with the first coat, and it will cost about three halfpence a yard. The same paint will do for outdoor work by the addition of two ounces of slacked lime, two ounces of linseed oil, and two ounces of white Burgundy pitch: the pitch to be melted in a gentle heat with the oil, and then added to the smooth mixture of the milk and lime. In oold weather it must be mixed warm, to facilitate its incorporation with the milk."
Source: Western Farmer and Gardener Vol 2 ©1846 pg327

And finally at the end of the century we have this recipe:
Skim Milk Paint.
A method of painting farm buildings and country houses, while by no means new, is yet so little known and so deserving of wider application as to warrant a description, says an exchange. The paint has but two parts, both cheap materials, being water lime or hydraulic cement and skim milk. The cement is placed in a bucket, and the skim milk, sweet, is gradually added, stirring constantly until just about the consistency of good cream. The stirring must be thoroughly done to have an even flow, and if too thin the mixture will run on the building and look streaked. The proportions cannot be exactly stated, but a gallon of milk requires a full quart of cement, and sometimes a little more. This is a convenient quantity to mix at a time for one person to use. If too much is prepared the cement will settle and harden before all is used.
A flat paintbrush about four inches wide is the best implement to use with this mixture. Lay it on exactly as with oil paint. It can be applied to woodwork, old or new, and brick and stone. When dry, the colour is a light creamy brown, or what some would call yellowish stone colour. The skim milk cement paint, well mixed, without adding colour has a good body, gives smooth satisfactory finish on either wood or stone and wears admirably.—American Mechanic.
Source Agricultural Journal of the Cape of Good Hope Vol. 10 ©1897 pg424

Monday, February 20, 2017

Calls for Inquiry

To finish the week on manners, I'm again using the Manners for men ©1897 by Mrs. C.E. Humphry and including the excerpt concerning funerals. Note the choice of flowers for the occasion in the last paragraph.


In calling on friends who have suffered bereavement, after having received their card of thanks for kind inquiries, it is, of course, requisite that the dress should be of the quietest description. A red tie, for instance, would be horribly out of place. Only in case of friendships is bereaved. the call prolonged beyond ten minutes or a quarter of an hour. The caller takes his tone from that of the family. It is in the worst taste to refer to the loss sustained unless the initiative is taken by one of those bereaved. This is very seldom done, and the conversation is usually conducted on lines calculated to avert any disturbing remark. No one likes to break down or lose self-command except in seclusion; and, in fact, it is only necessary to look into one's own consciousness in order to discover what is the best course to follow in such cases.
Should a young man be invited to attend the funeral, he must wear mourning, black gloves, and black hatband. Punctuality, important at all times, is particularly essential at this dreary ceremonial. The family usually provides carriages, but in the case of friends who possess equipages, they always take their own. It is the custom to assemble at the house, or to go by fixed train should the family reside in the country. It is better not to accept any invitations to return to the house afterwards; for, as a rule, these are only given as a matter of form.
We often see in newspapers after the announcement of a death, a request that no flowers may be sent. Failure to comply with this would argue a want of perception, but when no such intimation is made a friend may send flowers, the only essential being that they should consist as a rule of pure white flowers or orchids, pansies, or violets. Occasionally an exception is made to these in the case of favourite flowers of the lost friend. An exquisite garland of pale tea-roses appeared among the scores of wreaths seen at the funeral of one of our greatest poets.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Manners for Men

I found a book entitled "Manners for men" by Mrs. C. E. Humphry ©1897 written toward the end of the 19th century. In it the author goes into great detail on how a man is to behave if he is a gentleman. The first thing that caught my eye was the title of a chapter, entitled "The Ideal Man." I had to chuckle at that. I do not believe there is an ideal man nor is there an ideal woman. I do however believe that there is an ideal man for me, and I'm fortunate enough to have married him but as much as I love my husband he is not perfect, neither am I. It's a rather fun book to read but today I'm going to share an excerpt that also goes to my current writing project of a non-fiction book on 19th century Carriages & Wagons.

Manners for Men in escorting Ladies into a Hansom Cab.


IN A HANSOM.
In handing a lady into a hansom care must be taken to protect her dress from the muddy wheel. The gentleman asks if she would like the glasses down, and conveys her instructions to the driver, then raises his hat as she drives away. Should he be accompanying her in the hansom, she seats herself at when accom- the nearest side to the pavelady. ment, so that when he enters he will not have to go round a corner, as it were. In this case he gives the cabman instructions across the roof of the cab, and if his companion wishes the glasses to be lowered, he asks for them through the trap-door at the top of the cab. He must never smoke when the glasses are let down— to do so would render the atmosphere unbearable to almost any woman. But if he knows his partner in the drive sufficiently well, he can ask permission to smoke, should the glasses not be required.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Balls & Evening Parties

On several of the writer's email loops I'm on questions about Balls and proper behavior are often asked. In writing historicals we try to be accurate but we also want our characters to mingle and speak with one another. The challenge is to do allow your characters to speak with one another in a proper fashion and setting that won't send our historical readers into a frenzy throwing our books across the room because the situation we've created wasn't believable. With that in mind, I've been searching various books on manners and customs of the 19th century. Today's excerpt comes from "Manners: A handbook of social customes" by Elisabeth Marbury ©1888 Note the last comment posted, isn't it great that our 19th century ancestors and characters enjoyed fiction.


BALLS OR EVENING PARTIES.
These entertainments always include dancing and a supper. If large, they are called "balls," but if small simply "dances" or "parties."
Hour.—Unfortunately, fashion has made this very late, and unless especially indicated on the invitation, half-past ten is the earliest a hostess can hope to assemble her guests. In large cities, an hour later even will hardly insure the rooms being full.
Subscription Dances.—In most of the large cities, several series of dances are arranged by certain of the social leaders, to which people are invited to subscribe. Each subscriber, is usually entitled to a number of invitations for distribution, though in some instances the price of the subscription is small, and only permits one person to take advantage of each.
Public Halls.—The subscription balls take place in some public ball-room, as a rule. In New York, for instance, at Delmonico's.
Ladies Receiving.—Several ladies are selected to form the reception committee, and they stand in one of the outer rooms, bowing to the guests as they enter.
Shaking Hands.—On such occasions, no one shakes hands; the ladies courtesy, and the gentlemen bow.
Chaperons.—No unmarried lady should go to one of these balls, or to any large party, without a chaperon, and invitations should be sent to an elder member of her family, in order that she need not look out side for proper attendance. In the West and South, it is quite customary for gentlemen to take unmarried ladies to evening entertainments, but in the Eastern States, and in the best society in our cities, such a thing is unheard of, and would be considered the greatest breach of decorum.
Small Dances. — It is not absolutely necessary that a young lady should have a chaperon at a small or informal dance in a private house, but she should be escorted there and back by a servant or some relative.
Toilets.—At a ball, a lady can display her handsomest jewels and wear as elaborate a toilet as she pleases. Gentlemen should always appear in dress suits.
MUsIc, etc.—Excellent music should be provided, and a smooth floor to dance on.
SUPPeR.—Is usually served about 12.30, and should consist of hot and cold dishes, such as oysters, bouillon, game, croquettes, filet of beef, salads, pates, ices, cakes, sweets, jellies, fruit, and champagne, punch, lemonade and mineral waters are usually provided. Small tables are frequently used at balls, so that four or six people may sit at one table and eat their supper comfortably in courses.
Attendance.—Maids should be in the ladies' dressing-rooms, and valets in the gentlemen's. Small fees of twenty-five or fifty cents are often given to servants in the dressing-room at a public ball, but never in private houses in this country, though the custom is common in England. Waiters should be on hand at supper to serve the meal, as the fashion of the gentlemen waiting upon the ladies is rapidly becoming obsolete.
Awnings. — In large cities, an awning should always be extended from the front door to the curb-stone, on the occasion of a reception, or other entertainment, as the ladies do not like to step out of their carriages in light and elaborate dresses without some protection from the weather and from the impertinent gaze of a curious crowd.
Cotillon Or German. — This dance, now so widely known, fills up the larger part of the evening, and begins, as a rule, immediately after supper. In a private house, the gentleman who has been invited to lead the German must ask the unmarried daughter of the family to dance with him, or the married daughter, if so indicated as the family's choice. At the more general dances or large balls, a young married lady is usually the one selected to dance with the leader.
Partners.—It is quite the custom for a gentleman to engage a partner for the Cotillon before the evening of the dance, and in this case, provided he can afford it, he usually sends her a bouquet of flowers.
Flowers Carried To Balls.—The fashion of carrying numerous bouquets to a ball is rapidly ceasing to exist, and many of the most popular belles refuse to take any flowers into a ball-room, the old custom having given rise to so much vulgar rivalry and display.
Public Balls.—These are much more promiscuous than private balls, even when conducted carefully, and tickets can generally be purchased for $5.00 each, not including supper. As a rule they are undertaken for the benefit of some charity or public fund.
Cards Of Dancing.—At such balls cards giving the order of dances are provided, on which gentlemen can write the names opposite the numbers of the dances, for which they have been accepted by the lady holding the card. In England such cards are used universally, but rarely at private balls in our country. At public balls square and round dances are danced, but no cotillons.
Fancy Balls.—In private houses these are conducted like other parties, the only difference being in the costumes of the guests, who are expected to personate some historical character, or one in fiction, etc.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Best Cement for Jars (Preserving)

You read that title right. "Cement" for jars had me smiling. In Miss Leslie's New Cookery Book ©1857  pg.645 she gives instructions on a substance for sealing canned foods, like wax on home-made jellies today. Today the idea of cement covering and protecting our perishable food doesn't sound appetizing however to those living in the 19th century it was practical and descriptive of the function it did. Below is the excerpt from Miss Leslie's book:

THE BEST CEMENT FOR JARS.—Before preserving and pickling time, buy at a druggist's, two ounces of the clearest and whitest gum tragacanth. Obtain also two grains of corrosive sublimate, (indispensable to this cement), and having picked the gum tragacanth clean, and free from dust and dark or discolored particles, put it with the sublimate into a very clean yellow or whiteware mug that holds a small quart and has a closefitting lid belonging to it. Then fill the vessel more than two-thirds with very clean water, either warm or cold, and put on the lid. Let it rest till next morning. Then stir it with an unpainted stick, that will reach quite down to the bottom. Repeat the stirring frequently through the day, always replacing the lid. In a few days the cement will have risen to the top of the mug, and have become a fine, clear, smooth paste, far superior to any other; and, by means of the corrosive sublimate, it will keep perfectly well to an indefinite period, if always closely covered, and having no sort of metal dipped into it. On no account attempt to keep this paste in tin, or even in silver. Both paste and metal will turn black and become spotted. Remember this.
Whan going to put away your sweetmeats or pickles, this paste will come into use, and be found invaluable. It is best to keep all these things in small jars, as opening a large jar frequently, may injure its contents by letfing in the air. In a large family, or where many pickles are eaten, those in most frequent use may be kept in stone-ware jars, with a wooden spoon always at hand for taking them out when wanted. On the surface of every jar of pickles, put one or two table-spoonfuls of salad oil, and then cover the top of the jar closely with a circular piece of bladder or thin leather. Next cut out a narrow band of the same, and cement it on with gum tragacanth paste, (made as above), and let it remain till you open the jar for use.
For sweetmeats, have glass or white-ware jars. Lay on the surface of each a circular paper, cut to fit and dipped in brandy. Next, put on an outside cover of bladder or thick white paper secured with a band of the same, coated with tragacanth paste. When this cement is used, the jars will not be infested with ants or other insects, the corrosive sublimate keeping them out.
This paste should be at hand in every library or office, when wanted for papers or books. It requires no boiling when made, and is always ready, and never spoils. For a small quantity, take an ounce of the best gum tragacanth and a grain of corrosive sublimate. Get a covered white or yellow-ware mug that holds a pint; such a mug will cost but twelve cents. Dissolve in less than a pint of water.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

St. Valentine's Day

Below is an excerpt from a 1898 publication: School Education Vol.17. This probably isn't something one would think about when picturing Valentine Celebrations during the 19th century but I felt it is kinda fun to see what School teachers were encouraged to do.

ST. VALENTINE'S DAY, FEB. 14
If it seems to interrupt the regular work and you are tempted to overlook it, go back into your own childhood for a minute and think whether it is the "regular" days that you remember, or the days in which something a little out of the ordinary happened. Tell the legend of St. Valentine, and that it is love that makes the tokens valuable. Nobody wishes to send his love with anything that is not pretty, of course, so the question of comic valentines is easily disposed of.
Now we will make some valentines to take home, and mamma shall be the recipient of these favors. Sketch a dainty flower on a small card and have the children color it with colored pencils or with water color. A bird with a letter in his mouth is a pretty design to be perforated or sewed, while a heart sewed in red worsted, or cut from red paper and pasted on a white card, is effective with an appropriate motto. Always choose some simple design. The result will be much more satisfactory when completed than an elaborate affair, for the latter will be only half done, and so soiled that neither' giver nor receiver will find much pleasure in it, except as an expression of love.
Let envelopes be made and the "love tokens" taken home to be put at mamma's plate or to be left at the door with a loud ringing of the door bell.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Conduct on the Street

During the 19th century there were many forms of behavior and attitudes that were proper and improper. When researching an area keep in mind if these books on behaviors and manners were in keeping with your area and time frame. And of course putting a character into a situation where she or he has been taught to behave in one way and is frowned upon in the new area he or she find themselves, is great for building tension. With that in mind I'd like to share a couple of these "proper" manners and behavior from Miss Leslie's "The Behavior Book" ©1855 Note this book was written with English manners in mind and the author notes a few differences for American behavior. 

CONDUCT IN THE STREET.
When three ladies are walking together, it is better for one to keep a little in advance of the other two, than for all three to persist in maintaining one unbroken line. They cannot all join in conversation without talking across each other—a thing that, in-doors or out-of-doors, is awkward, inconvenient, ungenteel, and should always be avoided. Also, three ladies walking abreast occupy too much of the pavement, and therefore incommode the other passengers. Three young men sometimes lounge along the pavement, arm in arm. Three young gentlemen never do so.
If you meet a lady with whom you have become but slightly acquainted, and had merely a little conversation, (for instance, at a party or a morning visit,) and who moves in a circle somewhat higher or more fashionable than your own, it is safest to wait till she recognises you. Let her not see in you a disposition to obtrude yourself on her notice.
It is not expected that all intimacies formed at watering-places shall continue after the parties have returned to their homes. A mutual bow when meeting in the street is sufficient. But there is no interchanging of visits, unless both ladies have, before parting, testified a desire to continue the acquaintance. In this case, the lady who is eldest, or palpably highest in station, makes the first call. It is not customary for a young lady to make the first visit to a married lady.
When meeting them in the street, always speak first to your milliner, mantua-maker, seamstress, or to any one you have been in the practice of employing. To pass without notice any servant that you know, is rude and unfeeling, as they will attribute it to pride, not presuming to speak to you themselves, unless in reply. There are persons who having accepted, when in the country, much kindness from the country-people, are ashamed to recognise them when they come to town, on account of their rustic or unfashionable dress. This is a very vulgar, contemptible, and foolish pride; and is always seen through, and despised. There is no danger of plain country-people being mistaken for vulgar city-people. In our country, there is no reason for keeping aloof from any who are respectable in character and appearance. Those to be avoided are such as wear tawdry finery, paint then- faces, and leer out of the corners of their (yes, looking disreputably, even if they are not disreputable in reality.
When a gentleman meets a lady with whom his acquaintance is very slight, (perhaps nothing more than a few words of talk at a party,) he allows her the option of continuing the acquaintance or not, at her pleasure; therefore, he waits till she recognises him, and till she evinces it by a bow,—he looking at her to give the opportunity. Thus, if she has no objection to numbering him among her acquaintances, she denotes it by bowing first. American ladies never curtsey in the street. If she has any reason to disapprove of his character or habits, she is perfectly justifiable in "cutting" him, as it is termed. Let her bow very coldly the first time, and after that, not at all.
Young ladies should yield the wall to old ladies. Gentlemen do so to all ladies.
In some cities it is the custom for all gentlemen to give their arm to all ladies, when walking with them. In others, a gentleman's arm is neither offered nor taken, unless in the evening, on slippery pavements, or when the streets are very muddy. A lady only takes the arm of her husband, her affianced lover, or of her male relatives. In the country the custom is different. There, a gentleman, when walking with a lady, always gives her his arm; and is much offended when, on offering his arm, the lady refuses to take it. Still, if it is contrary to the custom of her place, she can explain it to him delicately, and ho will at once see the propriety of her declining.
When a lady is walking between two gentlemen, she should divide her conversation as equally as practicable, or address most of it to him who is most of a stranger to her. He, with whom she is least on ceremony, will excuse her.
A gentleman on escorting a lady to her own home, must not leave her till he has rung the bell, and waited till the servant has come and opened the door, and till she is actually in the house. Men who know no better, think it sufficient to walk with her to the foot of the steps and there take their departure, leaving her to get in as she can. This we have seen— but not often, and the offenders were not Americans.
If you stop a few minutes in the street to talk to an acquaintance, draw to one side of the pavement near the wall, so as not to impede the passengers—or you may turn and walk with her as far as the next corner. And never stop to talk in the middle of a crossing. To speak loudly in the street is exceedingly ungenteel, and foolish, as what you say will be heard by all who pass by. To call across the way to an acquaintance, is very unlady-like. It is best to hasten over, and speak to her, if you have any thing of importance to say.
When a stranger offers to assist you across a brimming gutter, or over a puddle, or a glair of slippery ice, do not hesitate, or decline, as if you thought he was taking an "unwarrantable liberty. He means nothing but civility. So accept it frankly, and thank him for it.
When you see persons slip down on the ice, do not laugh at them. There is no fun in being hurt, or in being mortified by a fall in the public street; and wo know not how a lady can see any thing diverting in so painful a circumstance. It is more feminine, on witnessing such a sight, to utter an involuntary scream •than a 6hout of laughter. And still more so, to stop and ascertain if the person that fell has been hurt.
If, on stopping an omnibus, you find that a dozen people are already seated in it, draw back, and refuse to add to the number; giving no heed to the assertion of the driver, that "there is plenty of room." The passengers will not say so, and you have no right to crowd them all, even if you are willing to be crowded yourself—a thing that is extremely uncomfortable, and very injurious to your dress, which may, in consequence, be so squeezed and rumpled as never to look well again. None of the omnibuses are large enough to accommodate even twelve grown people comfortably; and that number is the utmost the law permits. A child occupies more than half the space of a grown person, yet children are brought into omnibuses ad libitum. Ten grown persons are as many as can be really well seated in an omnibus—twelve are too many; and a lady will always regret making the thirteenth—and her want of consideration in doing so will cause her to be regarded with unfavourable eyes by the other passengers. It is better for her to go into a shop, and wait for the next omnibus, or even to walk home, unless it is actually raining.
Have your sixpence ready in your fingers a few minutes before you are to get out; and you may request any gentleman near you to hand it up to the driver. So many accidents have happened from the driver setting off before a lady was entirely out of the vehicle and safely landed in the street, that it is well to desire the gentleman not to hand up the sixpence till after you are fairly clear of the steps.
When expecting to ride in an omnibus, take care to have sufficient small change in your purse—that is, sixpences. "We have seen, when a quarter-dollar has been handed up, and the driver was handing down the change, that it has fallen, and been scattered among the straw. There was no stopping to search for it, and therefore the ride cost twenty-five cents instead of six: the driver, of course, finding the change himself, as soon as he got rid of all his passengers.
It is most imprudent to ride in an omnibus with much money in your purse. Pickpockets of genteel appearance are too frequently among the passengers. We know a gentleman who in this way lost a pocketbook containing eighty dollars; and various ladies have had their purses taken from them, by welldressed passengers. If you are obliged to have money of any consequence about you, keep your hand all the time in that pocket.
If the driver allows a drunken man to come into an omnibus, the ladies will find it best to get out; at least those whose seats are near his. It is, however, the duty of the gentlemen to insist on such fellows being refused admittance where there are ladies.
No lady should venture to ride in an omnibus after dark, unless she is escorted by a gentleman whom she knows. She had better walk home, even under the protection of a servant. If alone in an omnibus at night, she is liable to meet with improper company, and perhaps be insulted.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Broom Making

Below is the reprint of a blog post from Sept, 2010. Of all my posts this one has brought about a fair amount of attention. However, I want to add to this post with a link to Youtube where Jack Martin shows how they make an 1850 Shaker Style broom.

Brooms have been around for eons, the question I've been trying to answer is when did the first broom factories start in America.

In 1841 in Sussex I find the listing of 65 broom-makers
A list of immigration to Missouri in 1867 listed several boom-makers
I found a disabled soldiers Broom-factory in 1875
1881 I found an expense report that line item a broom factory in a Missouri Penitentiary in 1880
And I found a grocery store owner in 1888 took payment of a broom making machine in exchange for food, then proceeded to have a very successful broom factory in the late 19th century into the 20th century. In fact, the business is still in operations today.

So, as of this moment, I do not know when the first broom factory developed in America. If you have a source with additional information, I'd love to hear it.

Below is a list of Broom & Brush Factory jobs, from the "Classified index of occupations by the United States," © 1921

Binder, broom or brush factory.
Borer, broom or brush factory.
Box maker, broom or brush factory.
Broom or brush maker, broom or brush
factory.
Broom or brush maker (not in factory).
Broom or brush maker (n. s.).
Buffer, broom or brush factory.
Buncher, broom or brush factory.
Comber, broom or brush factory.
Cutter, broom or brush factory.
Drawer, broom or brush factory.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge

The bridge was built for the railroad and commerce between Canada and the U.S. A temporary bridge went up in 1848 then the completed bridge in 1855. However it wasn't limited to trains, a toll was established for horse & carriage and carriage passengers. In 1860 daily trains crossed the bridge. It was closed in 1897 and dismantled. An interesting tidbit was that the cables were found to not have deteriorate of the course of 50 years of use.
Houghtaling's Handbook of Useful Information ©1884 has this to say:
Railway Suspension Bridge, Niagara Falls.
Engineer. John A. Roebling. Height of towers on American side, 88 feet. Height of towers on Canada side, 78 feet. Length of bridge, 800 feet. Width of bridge, 24 feet. Height Lbove the river, 250 feet. Number of cables, 4. Diameter of cables, 10 inches, containing about 4,000 miles of wire. Ultimate capacity of the 4 cables, 12,400 tons. Total weight of bridge, 800 tons. Distance between railway track and carriage road below, 28 feet. Cost of construction, 500.000 dollars. Bridge first opened for railway traffic, March 8, 1855. Estimated depth of water in the channel beneath the bridge, 250 feet. Velocity of current,30 miles per hour. Velocity of Whirlpool Rapids,27 miles per hour Quantity of water passing through the gorge per minute, 1,500,000,000 cubic feet.

In Burke's descriptive guide for Niagara ©1850 we find even more tidbits about the bridge and it's original construction.

THE SUSPENSION BRIDGE?
This truly fairy-like work was commenced in February, 1849, under the suprintendence of Charles Ellet, Jr., Esq., of Philadelphia, an Engineer of good previous reputation, and who, in this work, added much to his fame.
The bridge was contracted to be built for the " Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Company," on the Canada side, and " The Niagara Falls International Bridge Company," on the American side conjointly ; a bill for the purpose being passed by the Legislature of each country.
The manner in which the first line of connection was formed, was at once simple, yet ingenious. A kite was procured, to the tail of which was a string, and by flying this on the one side, and letting it out until it was over the other side, the gorge was spanned by the string, by which a cord was drawn Awful catastrophe.
across, and by means of this cord, a rope of sufficient strength to draw a cable, which latter, being well secured on both sides, was the means of transit for the first wire-cable of 36 strands, No. 10 wire, which was 1160 feet in length. Towers had now been erected on each bank, 800 feet apart, by which this wire-cable was secured, and on the 13th of March, just one month from the commencement, Mr. Ellet crossed in an iron basket, suspended from the cable. This conveyance was used constantly by the workmen in constructing the bridge. And even many persons paid for the novelty of a trip across in this frail track.
A foot-bridge, three feet in width, was soon constructed, and over this a great number of persons passed, each paying 25 cents to the contractor. A similar foot-bridge was now formed parallel to this, and the basket-cable in the middle.
A terrific scene occurred just about this time. Whilst the workmen were busy at the second footbridge, which was constructed about 250 feet from the American side, and about 150 from the British, a tornado from the s. w., struck it, turning it quite over. Six men were at work upon the flooring of the bridge at this awful moment, two of whom in a most unaccountable manner made their way to the shore upon fragments of boards. The unfinished structure was torn and wafted backwards and forwards like the broken web of a spider, and four helpless human beings, 200 feet from the shore, supported by two strands of No. 10 wire, were in constant expectation of a headlong fall and plunge into the rapids below ! Oh, who can fathom those men's thoughts just then ? But the tiny thread which held them to existence, proved strong enough to outlast the gale. On the first cessation of the tornado's force, a brave fellow-workman manned the iron basket, and with a ladder proceeded amid the pelting of the furious rain to save the sufferers. He reached the wreck ; he placed his ladder in communication with it, and the basket thus affording a means by which all were brought back safe to terra-firma, uninjured in person, but well nigh scared to death.
On the 26th of July following, Mr. Ellet drove a span of horses and a heavy carriage over and back, accompanied by his lady.
A disagreement, which had for some time existed between the directors and Mr. Ellet, now came to an open rupture, and the work was discontinued for some time.
The bridge, which we see, is not the structure Height of the Bridge.
originally intended. This being merely preparatory to the great structure, which was to have been suspended from stone towers, 70 feet high, and which would have been 10 feet higher than the present bridge, and wholly independent of it
The present bridge was at first economically formed of very slight materials, it not being expected to last longer than, until the great bridge was constructed, about a year and a half. It has, however, been strengthened materially, and is now capable of sustaining 250 tons, and is in use as a thoroughfare, unshaken by the greatest pressure.
The floor of the bridge is 230 feet above the river, and the depth of the river immediately under the bridge is 250 feet

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Custard Pie

Custard goes back long before the 19th century. The recipe below is from the White House Cook Book, not to be confused that this cook book is authorized from the White House in Washington, DC. However later editions of this cook book were co-authored by White House steward Hugo Ziemann. The name was chosen as a marketing ploy, which seemed to work. Fannie Gillete the original author started her writing career and fame when she was sixty years old and with the first edition of the White House Cook Book in 1887.


BAKERS' CUSTARD PIE.
Beat up the yolks of three eggs to a cream. Stir thoroughly a tablespoonful of sifted flour into three tablespoonfuls of sugar; this separates the particles of flour so that there will be no lumps; then add it to the beaten yolks, put in a pinch of salt, a teaspoonful of vanilla, and a little grated nutmeg; next the well-beaten whites of the eggs; and lastly, a pint of scalded milk (not boiled) which has been cooled; mix this in by degrees, and turn all into a deep pie-pan, lined with puff-paste, and bake from twenty-five to thirty minutes.
I received this recipe from a celebrated cook in one of our best New York bakeries. I inquired of him "why it was that their custard pies had that look of solidity and smoothness that our home-made pies have not." He replied, "The secret is the addition of this bit of flour—not that it thickens the custard any to speak of, but prevents the custard from breaking or wheying, and gives that smooth appearance when cut."
Source: White House Cook Book ©1889 pg293

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Heat Wave of 1892

With the mention of the blizzard of 1888, I thought it only fitting to bring a little heat to the subject. So, today we have an excerpt of a heat wave that hit North America as well as other parts of the world in 1892. The source for this excerpt is "In the High Heavens" ©1894


THE "HEAT WAVE" OF 1892.

DURING the course of the summer of 1892 the papers frequently described in sufficiently striking paragraphs the abnormally high' temperature which was experienced in many parts of the globe. The first tidings of this nature reached us from America. Thus we read that on the 29th of July the thermometer in the streets of New York had risen to as much as 101° and 102° in the shade. At the meteorological station in that city, where, no doubt, every precaution was adopted to insure accuracy in the record, we find that a temperature of 99° was indicated. The next day—July 30—the ascent of the mercury still continued, and we hear that an observation in the Fifth Avenue showed as much as 107° in the shade. This, however, seems to have been the culmination of what had been somewhat absurdly designated " the great heat-wave." On July 31 the warmth had begun perceptibly to decline, though it was still terribly oppressive.
The descriptions received from various parts of the North American continent show that the heat was almost, if not quite, as great in many other places as it was in New York. From north and south, from east and west, we heard of abnormally high thermometers; we were told that in many localities the work in factories had to be discontinued, as the hands could not stand the heat. In some towns business seems to have been temporarily suspended, and the traffic in the streets ceased during the hottest part of the day. It was also reported from many places that heavy losses were experienced by the death of sheep and cattle. Nor was the great heat-wave without-a tragic aspect. We read of a large number of cases of sunstroke occurring in various parts of America, many of which terminated fatally. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Great Blizzard of 1888

By the title you know it must have been one of the worst blizzards on record hitting parts of New Jersey, New York and all of New England. The storm continued for three days, March 11th-14th with recorded snow falls of 40 to 50 inches. It was big news at the time and was reported or referred to in various literature for the rest of the century. Below are a couple comments about the blizzard.


The storm did not approach us with the severity which was exhibited in some other States, yet here it had the character of the blizzard. It was something more than an ordinary storm. The snow fell fast and was caught by the wild winds and hurled everywhere. The old highways and the railroads were rendered impassable. The snow came with such force into the eyes of the pedestrian as to blind him; melting near the eye, the other parts of the large bunches of snow would remain fixed and frozen fast to the eye, so that it was his constant work to protect his sight. The snow would follow the breath inhaled into the lungs, and, melting, fill them with water, nearly choking him, if not quite doing the work of strangulation. These are some of the conditions of the blizzard, and many reading this paper who were exposed in this storm will remember these peculiar traits of this blizzard in distinction from the ordinary storm, hence we have the right to give the storm the hardest name yet invented, the blizzard.
Source: Report Vol. 17 by New Hampshire, Dept. of Agriculture ©1888 pg405

During the blizzard of 1888, the coldest point that was reached was four degrees above zero. (New York)
Source: Great Round World and what is going on in it: Vol. 9 pg 236