Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dyes and such

As I was working on my third book in the St. Augustine series, I was researching the historic use of how shepherds would mark which of his ewes have been with his rams. Today there is a harness to attach to the sheep but back then it was done differently. Which will be explained in my third book . In any case I did come across the dye red-ochre as part of the historical practice. This had me thinking about the various dyes and colors available for our 19th century characters.

Below is a link to a book The Manual of Colours and Dye Wares ©1870 that gives a great definition of each of the colors, and materials used for them. Such as this example about pomegranates.

Pomegranate Husks.—The husk or rind of the pomegranate fruit, though very rarely used in England, is a valuable astringent, containing about 32 per cent. of tannin of a fine quality. The blacks which it yields with iron have a peculiar softness and richness of colour. In Spain it is preferred to sumac.

However, this information from "The American Housewife" ©1841 is probably better suited to the needs of those writing in the American Historical time periods.

433. To Dye Black.
_ Allow a pound of logwood to each pound of goods that are to be dyed._ Soak it over night in soft water, then boil it an hour, and strain the water in which it is boiled. For each pound of logwood, dissolve an ounce of blue vitriol in lukewarm water sufficient to wet the goods. Dip the goods in—when saturated with it, turn the whole into the logwood dye. If the goods are cotton, set the vessel on the fire, and let the goods boil ten orfifteenminuieSjStirrin!-them constantly to prevent their spotting. Silk and woollen goods should not be boiled in the dye-stuff, but it should be kept at a scalding heat for twenty minutes. Drain the goods without wringing, and hang them in a dry, shady place, where they will have the air. When d ry, set the color by, put them into scalding hot water, that has salt in it, in the proportion of a tea-cup full to three gallons ot' the water. Let the roods remain in it till cold; then hang them where they will dry: (they should not be wrung.) Boiling hot suds is the best thing to set the color of black silk—let it remain in it till cold. Soaking black-dyed goods in sour milk, is also good to set the color. 434. Green and Blue Dye, for Silks and Woollens.
For green dye, take a pound of oil of vitrio1. and turn it upon half an ounce of Spanish indigo, that has been reduced to a tine powder. Stir them well together, then and a lump of pearl ash, of the size of a pea—as soon as the fermentation ceases, bottle it— the dye will be fit for use the next day. Chemic blue is made in the same mauner, only using half the quantity of vitriol, tor woollen goods, the East indigo will answer as well as the Spanish, and comes much lower. This dye will not answer for cotton goods, as the vitriol rots the threads. Wash the. articles that are to be dyed till perfectly clean, and free from color, if you caunot extract the color by rubbing it in hot suds, boil it out —rinse it in soft water, till entirely free from soap, as the soap will ruin the dye. To dye a pale color, put to each quart of soft warm water that is to be used for the dye.ten drops of the above composition—if you wish u deep color, more will be necessary. Put in the articles without crowding, and let them remain in it till of a good color—the dye-stuff should bo kept warm—take the articles out without wringing, drain as much of the dye out of them as possible, then bang them to dry in a shady, airy place. They should be dyed when the weather is dry—if not dried quick, they will not look nice When perfectly dry, wash them in lukewarm suds, to keep the vitriol from injuring the texture of the cloth. If you wish for a lively bright green, mix a little of the above composition with yellow dye. %
• 435. Yellow Dyes.
To dye a buff color, boil equal parts of arnotto and common potash, in soft clear water. _ When dissolved, take it from the tire; when cool, put in the gooda; which should previously be washed free from spots, and color; set them on a moderate fire, where they will keep hot, till the goods are of the shade you wish. To dye salmon and orange color, tie arnotto in a bug, and soak it in warm soft soap suds, till it becomes soft, so thai you can squeeze enongh of it throngh the hag to make the suds a deep yellow—put in trre articles, which should lie clean, anil free from color; boil them till of the shade you wish. There should be enongh of the dye to cover the goods—stir them while boiling, to keep them from spotting. This dye will make a salmon or orange color, according to the strength of it, and the time the goods remain in. Drain them out of the dye, and dry them quick, in the shade—when dry, wash them in soft soap suds. Goods dyed in this mauner should never be rinsed in clear water. Peach leaves, fustic, and saffron, all make a good straw or lemon eolor, according to the strength of the dyo. They should be steeped in soft fair water, in an earthen or tin vessel, and then strained, and the dye set with alum, and a little gum arabic dissolved in the dye, if you wish to stiffen the artiele. When the dye-stuff is strained, steep the articles in it.
436. Red Dyes,
Madder makes a good durable red, but not a brilliant color. To make a dye of it, allow for half a pound of it three ounces of alum, and one of cream of tartar, and six gallons of water. This proportion of ingredients will make sufficient dyo for six or seven pounds of goods. Heat half of the water scalding hot, in a clean brass kettle, then put in tho alum and cream of tartar, and let it dissolve. When the water boils, stir the alum and tartar up in it, put in the [roods, and let them boil a couple of hours; then rinse them in fair water—empty the kettle, and put in three gallons of water, and the madder; rub it fine in the water, then put in the goods, and set them where they will keep scalding hot for an hour, without boiling—stir them constantly. When they have been scalding an hour, increase the tire till they boil. Let them hoil five minutes; then drain them out of the dye, and rinse them, without wringing, in fair water, and hang them in the shade, where they will dry. To dye a fine crimson, take for each pound of goods two and a half ounces of alum, an ounce and a half of white tartar—put them in a brass kettle, with sufficient fair water to cover your soods; set it where it will boil briskly for several minutes; then put in the goods; which should be washed clean, and rinsed in fair water. When the goods have boiled half an hour, take them out, without wringing, and hang it where it will cool all over alike, without drying ; empty out the alum and tartar water, put fresh' water in the kettle, and for each pound of goods to be dyed, put in an ounce of cochineal, powdered fine. Set the kettle on the firo, and let tho water boil fifteen or twenty minutes; then put in sufficient cold water to make it lukewarm, put in the goods, and boil them an hour and a quarter—take them out without wringing, and dry them in a shady place). The blossoms of the Balm of flilead. stooped with fair water in a vessel, then strained, will dye silk a pretty red color. The silk should be washed clean, and free from Coit, then rinsed in fair wator, and boiled in the strained dye, with a small piece of alum. To dye a fine delicate pink, use a carmine saucer—the directions for dyeing come with the saucers. It is too expensive a dye for bulky goods, but for faded fancy shawls and ribbons, it is quite worth the while to use it, as it gives a beautiful shade of pink.
437. Slate-Colored Dye.
To make a good dark slate color, boil sugar-loaf paper with vinegar, in an iron utensil —put in ahim to set the color. Tea grounds, set with copperas, makes a good slate color. To produce a light slate color, boil white maple hark in clear water, with a little alum— the bark should be boiled in a brass utensil. The dye for slate color should be strained before the goods are put into it. They should be boiled in it, and then hung where they will drain and dry.

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