Wednesday, August 23, 2017

1896 Mean Temperatures for the United States

I've divided the chart below for better readability. This information comes from The standard American Encyclopedia Vol. 8 ©1897 The reason I've included this tidbit is because of the discussions regarding Global Warming. These records help us to see what the average temp for the year was in 1896.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Single Shot Pistols 1888

Below is a chapter from The Modern American Pistol and Revolver ©1888. I thought this information might be handy to several of you who are adding a touch of suspense to your novels. I love the fact that this book included great graphics. Of course, I'm a visual learner.

A Number of years ago, when gentlemen sought to vindicate their honor by duels with pistols, it was the custom to provide themselves with a pair of duelling-pistols. These were generally of large calibre, often .50 or y2 inch, generally of smooth bore and flint-lock. These and even larger calibres were made for cavalrymen in the service. Then came the percussion pistol, various styles of duelling-pistols, both smooth bore and rifled, and to-day many Southern gentlemen have in their possession a pair of these ancient arms handed down to them by their ancestors. They are used chiefly, at the present time, for decorative purposes, as their days of usefulness are past; the modern revolver has superseded them as an arm of defence, and the single-shot breech-loading pistol, possessing much greater accuracy, far more convenient to load, and more economical to use, has taken the place of the duelling-pistol for target work, stage-shooting, and exhibition work. The single-shot pistol is used almost wholly for short-range target practice, generally in-doors, at a distance of from five to fifty yards, or for small-game shooting. Therefore, it is unusual to find at the present time these pistols larger in bore than .32 calibre ; they are generally of .22 calibre. The .22 calibre is very accurate up to fifty yards. Our experiments, compared with others, lead us to believe the small calibre is fully as accurate as the larger, and beyond a doubt, with good weather conditions, the larger bore possesses no advantages over the small bore up to fifty yards in point of accuracy. The fact that the cost of the .22-calibre ammunition is so much less, is more compact, allowing a large number of cartridges to be carried about, and the knowledge that the tiny bore can be shot so many times without cleaning, makes it the favorite calibre, in single-shot pistols, for target and smallgame shooting within the distance named.

Any shooting at a distance beyond fifty yards with a pistol is almost unheard of in America; but it is believed that before long the experts who become so proficient with the pistol at this range will shoot at much longer distances, and we shall not be surprised to see matches shot up to 200 yards, and perhaps at a longer distance, as the officers in the European armies practice up to 400 paces and secure good results. When the shooting is done at long distances with a pistol, it will probably be with a single-shot arm of calibre from .32 to .40; but until then the calibres will probably be the .22 and .32.

The Stevens single-shot pistols are deservedly very popular; they are manufactured by the J. Stevens Arms and Tool Co., at Chicopee Falls, Mass. They are made in various styles, as follows:

Conlin model, 10-inch barrel, .22-cal., weight, 2^ pounds. Lord model, 10-inch barrel, .22 cal., weight, 3 pounds. Diamond model, 10-inch barrel, .22-cal., weight, 11 ounces. Also, the new 6-inch barrel, .22-cal., Target pistol.
The barrels are carefully bored and rifled and fitted into a steel frame in the Lord model, and composition of gun-metal in the Conlin and Diamond models. A spring is so arranged under the barrel that when a projecting stud on the side is pressed it releases a catch on the opposite side and the spring forces the rear part of the barrel up and the forward part down, this action acting on the shell-ejector, forcing out the shell of the exploded cartridge; the pistol is then reloaded and barrel closed. The frame permits of barrels of different calibres being fitted into one action, in the Lord or Conlin model. There are several varieties of sights for these pistols to suit the different demands. The triggers are the side-covered trigger in the smaller models, and the guard-covered trigger in the Lord model.

The Lord and Conlin models are very popular among professional and expert pistol-shots. They have been tested and found very reliable, and possess a degree of accuracy unsurpassed by any arm of its kind in the world, if properly used.

The Lord model is preferred by persons of THE STEVENS SINGLE-SHOT PISTOL (New Model.) herculean frame or possessing great strength in their arms, it weighing 3 pounds. The Conlin model is generally selected by those possessing less physical strength; both pistols have handles of sufficient length to permit of their being grasped properly.

The trigger on the Lord model is preferred by a majority of pistol-shots, and, to suit those desiring this style of a trigger in the Conlin model, the manufacturers have commenced making them in that manner, and can now supply either style of triggers.

The weight of the Lord model is in its favor, for those who can hold it secure an advantage in less liability to pull the pistol to one side or upwards when pressing the trigger, — an error one who uses a light pistol is quite liable to make. Such experts as Chevalier Ira Paine and Frank Lord, and even some of the gentler sex, who have astonished the shooting world by their seemingly impossible feats of marksmanship with the pistol, unhesitatingly select this heavy pistol, and declare it more reliable, for the reasons mentioned, than the lighter ones, and as some of the professional shooters perform hazardous feats when inaccuracies with the arm would peril the lives of those who assist them in their performances, it is likely that they have given the matter the fullest investigation. But the person desiring to select a Stevens pistol for fine work should examine both models.
and be governed by his own judgment is the matter.
The other pistols made by this company are intended for pocket-pistols; they are accurate and reliable, but being more compact, with shorter barrels and lighter, they are more difficult to shoot accurately than those fashioned after the shape of
the duelling-pistol. One quickly becomes accustomed to their use, and, if fond of pistol-shooting, they are a source of great pleasure when carried on a fishing trip or on a tramp when small-game can be shot.
A gentleman who makes an annual trip into the woods informed the writer that he never went without his Stevens pistol, and always killed considerable small-game for the table with it.
The Remington single-action pistol is a much less elegant piece of workmanship than the Stevens pistol, but there are excellent points about the arm which will be apparent to the inspector as he examines it. It possesses great strength and wearing qualities, is accurate, and, although not particularly symmetrical, it is so well-balanced and has such an excellent handle, that, when grasped, there is a feeling of firmness and steadiness which is verified when the shooter attempts to sight it on a small object. The pistol is made in .22 and .32 calibres; it has a barrel 8 inches long. The action is similar to the old-model Remington rifle. The hammer is brought to a full-cock, a breech block rolled back, which permits of the barrel, which is screwed into a solid frame, being inspected from the rear, and easy to be cleaned. All attempts to procure discharges from this arm with action improperly closed have been unsuccessful, and we can see no reason why it is not as safe as it is accurate. Its unusual strength would make it a desirable arm for long-range pistol-practice, as it would doubtless stand a much heavier charge than would ever be required for shooting at any range.

The Wesson single-shot pistol is manufactured by Frank Wesson, at Worcester, Mass. It is operated as follows: the hammer is slightly raised and held by a pin pressed in from the side; a projecting stud is pressed at the bottom of the receiver, and the barrel turned over to one side,— the shell of the exploded cartridge thrown out by the extractor. The arm is well-balanced, fitted with good sights of different styles, and accurate.

The Colt's Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Co. manufactures three styles of single-shot Deringers, one of which is illustrated. To operate this arm set the hammer at half-cock, grasp the stock in the right hand and drawing back the steel button with the forefinger, rotate the barrel toward you with the left hand. Holding the barrel thus turned aside, introduce the cartridge and then rotate it to its original position. After firing, the empty shell may be ejected by rotating the barrel as directed for loading.
The weight of the No. 2 is 10 oz., calibre .41. It is a powerful pistol, intended for a weapon of defence at short range.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Winter Gardening

Okay I know it is August and it's still in the 90's here in Florida but...winter is coming. I stumped upon this article from Harper's Bazar, Nov. 1867 and thought I'd share a little bit with all of you.

"And who can sing the songs of spring
In dull and drear December?"

We purpose to give a few easy directions to those who desire to possess at light cost and little trouble a blooming winter garden in their homes, that can be attended to in the worst weather without soiling the hands or wetting the feet.

The hyacinth must rank first in our list as being almost the easiest flower to cultivate.

Hyacinths may be grown in water, in pots, in moss, and in prepared cocoa-fibre and charcoal. The last is the best for hyacinths indoors, in the numerous choices which are used for this purpose. In order to cultivate the hyacinth in the sitting-room in prepared cocoa-fibre and charcoal, place at the bottom or the jardinet, etc., a handful or so of rough charcoal, and fill up with the preparation; plant the hyacinths thickly, associating with them snow-drops, scilla sibirica, early flowering crocus, and, if the space will admit, a few pompon hyacinths; cover the bulbs with the preparation, and neatly cover the surface with nice green carpet moss; the freshness of the moss will be prolonged by occasionally damping it with a wet sponge. Sprinkle the plants overhead with tepid water two or three times a week.

This preparation is free from impurities and possesses a gentle stimulus; the bulbs root freely into it and produce fine spikes of bloom. Another important recommendation the prepared cocoa=fibre and charcoal possesses is its retention of moisture for a long time. Unless in a very hot room two or three good waterings will be sufficient from the time of planting till the bulbs are in bloom, so that the amateur is relieved from the daily anxiety lest his favorite group of forthcoming flowers should suffer from want of water.

. . .

The article continues to point out how to grow hyacinth in water, moss and pots. If you would like to finish the article it can be found here.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Chair & Chaise Carriages

Do you know the difference between a Chair and a Chaise? I'm not talking furniture, I'm talking about carriages & wagons. Well, the truth is I'm still working on the differences between the two but I have come up with a few distinctions, although the terms were often used interchangeably. Chaise is the French word for chair and some speculate that the first chair wagons were simple a chair placed on a platform with an axle and a couple of wagon wheels.

Chairs tend to be lower to the ground than a chaise. A chaise tends to have a top. A Chair is ofte for only one person. A Chaise is often made for two.

There are a variety of Chairs and Chaises throughout the 19th century. The Windsor Chair is still in my researching mode. I've run across the term but excluding all the furniture pieces has made the search for a carriage known as a Windsor Chair very difficult. I found a post from the Sun Inn in Bethlehem, PA speaking of the arrival of "August 12—A gentleman in a Windsor chair."

Of course we can add to this mix Gigs, Shays and Sulkies but that will be for another day's discussion.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

1857 Fabric Advertisement

Below is an ad from the New York Daily Tribune Nov. 30, 1857. What is curious for me is the India camel hair shawls. They sound scratchy to me but apparently they were the rage in 1857 in NYC, along with Chantilly Lace Flounces. On the other hand with the reduction of cost perhaps they were no longer the rage.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Different Buggy Topper

Below is a advertisement I found in the Hub magazine ©1895. I found it very different from other hoods for buggies. It basically looks like an umbrella. This is not the normal hood for a buggy, in all my research of Carriages & Wagons for the 19th century, I believe this is the first time I've run across such a design. I don't know how much they sold for, nor do I know how popular they became, if at all. But they would make quite the conversation piece if one strolled into town, I would have a lot of fun with this in a novel setting.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

1842 Bankruptcy

The Panic of 1837 caused financial hardships for many. By 1842 the country was beginning to rebound. For some unknown reason (to me at this time) Vermont however had many filings for bankruptcy. However, there are a few things I learned. In 1841 Congress enacted a 2nd Bankruptcy Law (formerly an 1803 bankruptcy repealed) in the wake of the panics of 1837 & 1839. In 1843 the second Bankruptcy law was repealed amid many complaints of corruption and expenses.

Ask yourself how did your characters fair during the Panics and the Bankruptcy Laws. If not your characters perhaps their parents or grandparents. Was there bitterness in the hearts of others who were unable to file for bankruptcy and lost their farms and homes? Was your character bitter? Was your character honorable? Or was your character less than honorable and did that have a cause and effect on someone else that profoundly changed your character's life.

These are some of the questions I look at when addressing issues surrounding the dates in which my characters were living. Perhaps these tidbits you will find helpful in learning more about your characters.

1842 Fall Clothing Line

Below is an Advertisement with the list of items for the Fall season. This comes from the Nov. 4, 1842 Burlington Free Press. Note the various items listed. It might help you as a writer put in an article of clothing that is perhaps a bit different than your normal description given by authors.

Monday, August 14, 2017

1842 Fall Clothing Line

Below is an Advertisement with the list of items for the Fall season. This comes from the Nov. 4, 1842 Burlington Free Press. Note the various items listed. It might help you as a writer put in an article of clothing that is perhaps a bit different than your normal description given by authors.

Friday, August 11, 2017

1842 Hat Prices

Below is a copy of an ad from the New York Daily Tribune May 3, 1842. The advertisement is listing the price of various hats. I'll type them out because they are difficult to read:
Silk Hats @ $2.25, $2.50 & $3.00 (says it is a reduction of .50 cents from the former prices)
Fur Hat $4.00 compares other hat prices in the city at $4.50 & $5.00

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mourning Clothing

This is a repost from an original post in Aug. 2011

Having loss my son a few weeks back this topic has come up a fair amount in my mind. So, I thought I'd share some mourning customs and clothing as presented as social etiquette during the 19th century. Today's tidbit comes from Collier's cyclopedia of commercial and social information ©1882

The mourning for parents ranks next to that of widows; for children by then parents, and for parents by their children, these being ol course identical in degree. It lasts in either case twelve months—six months in crape trimmings, three in plain black, and three in half-mourning. It is, however better taste to continue the plain black to the end of the year and wear half-mourning for three months longer. Materials for first six months, either Paramatta, Barathea, or any of the black corded stuffs such as Janus cord, about thirty-eight inches wide; Henrietta cord about same price and width. Such dresses would be trimmed with two deep tucks of crape, either Albert or rainproof, would be made plainly the body trimmed with .rape, and sleeves with deep crape cuffs Col lars and cuffs, to be worn during the first mourning would be made of muslin or lawn, with three or foui tiny lucks m distinction to widows' with the wide, deep hem. Pocket hand kerchiefs would be bordered with black. Black hose, silk or Balbriggan, would be worn, and black kid gloves. For out. door wear either a dolman mantle would be wom or a paletdt, either of silk or Paramatta, but in either case trimmed with crape. Crape bonnets or hats , if lor young children, all crape for bonnets, hats, silk and crape; feathers (black; could be wom, and a jet ciasp or arrow in the bonnet, but no othei kind of jewelry is admissible but jet—that is, as long as crape is worn. Black furs, such as astrachan, may be worn, or very dark sealskin or black sealskin cloth, now so fashionable, but no light furs of any sort. Silk dresses can be worn, crape trimmed aftei the first three months if preferred, and if expense be no obiect the lawn-tucked collars and cuffs would be worn with them. At the end of the six months crape can be put aside, and plain black, such as cashmere, worn, trimmed with silk if liked, but not satin, for that is not a mourning material, and is therefore never worn by those who strictly attend to mourning etiquette. With plain black, black gloves and hose would of course be worn, and jet, no gold or silver jewelry for at least nine months after the com mencement of mourning , then, if the time expires in the twelve months, gray gloves might be worn, and gray ribbons, lace or plain linen collar and cuffs take the place of ihe lawn or muslin, and gray feathers might lighten the hat or bonnet or reversible black and gray strings.

Many persons think it is in better taste not to commence half-mourning until after the expiration of a year, extent in the case of young children, who are rarely kept in mourning beyond the twelve months.

A wife would wear just the same mourning for her husband'9 relations as for her own ; thus, if her husband's mother died, the would wear mourning as deep as if for her own mother.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Silly Goose and Other Expressions

The term "you silly goose" has been around for a long time. Recently one of my historical writer buds was asked to verify the use of this expression to a copy editor. The copy editor thought it was too modern of an expression. To the copy editor's credit, it would have been my first thought too because it is an expression we still use. However, it turns out that the use of this expression was used before 1826 and all the way through the 19th century. Below is a list I sent my friend with the proof of the expression based on the copyrights of the works.
1826 The london literary gazette and journal of belles letters, arts... pg.70 (And another publication same year, same story)
1846 A Dictionary of the English & German, and the German and English... Vol. 2 pg 407
1866 Saturday Reader Vol 2 pg 53
1869 Once a Week pg 131

I'm sharing this with all of you to point out that when researching and writing historicals we might use an expression that is historically correct but might not be thought of as historical. To check on expression type the expression in quotes and search libraries like google books. Narrow the search by selecting free books and 19th century (If that is the time period you are writing in.) and see if the expression you wish to use was used then.

Another point to remember: Editor's still might ask you to change the expression because they feel it might jar the reader out of the story even though you know you are historically accurate. In which case, you change the expression. I try to write expressions that are unique to the character, their surroundings and their personality. Sometimes I've come up with more powerful expressions for my characters. Other times, a common expression is the way to go because the reader zooms right past and doesn't require additional musing over your word choice. In the end work it out with your editor and be true to your story and characters.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

1869 Advertising

Below is an Lord & Taylor ad from the New York Tribue, Apr. 21, 1869. What I find useful from this is the pricing of the various clothing items in this newspaper ad. It starts with the Black silk dress for $2.50 worth $3.50. A point to remember is that 1869 is one of the recovery years from the Civil War.

Here's the Ad:

Monday, August 7, 2017

1855 Portable Oven

Yup that's what the advertisement in the Oct. 12, 1855 Burlington Free Press says. It was made by Blodgett & Sweets and advertised to be useful for hotels, steamers and private families. It was made with galvanized steel and was to cook with less fuel.

Below is the ad with a picture of the item:

Friday, August 4, 2017

House Movers

Here's a different occupation that folks don't often think about, a house mover. They literally moved a house from it's foundation, moved it to another location and set it on it's new foundation.

Below is an advertisement from the Omaha Daily Bee, Feb. 12, 1886 advertising a house moving company.

Below are some illustrations of various types of buildings being moved from the Salt Lake Herald June 13, 1897

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Boston Symphony Orchestra

As many of you know I was born and raised in Massachusetts, in fact, my family heritage on my father's side always lived in Massachusetts until recent years. So, the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops were a part of our lives. I've never had the pleasure of attending a Boston Symphony or Pops concert in person but I'd love to one day.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is the topic of today's tidbit. Their first season was 1881-1882. A series of 20 concerts were played on Saturday evenings and you could purchase season tickets or individual ones. My writer's imagination kicked into high gear picturing my characters attending a concert, meeting at a concert, stumbling into trouble at a concert and on and on my imagination goes. You can read about this historical season At the BSO's website. On their site they also include programs from the season. It's a great resource. I can imagine many cities having similar orchestras.

Let your writer imagination run wild. Post some of your suggestions in the comments section.

Point of Reference: The Boston Symphony was not the first to give concert series in Boston. An example is the Harvard Symphony that started giving concerts in Boston in 1865.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sesame Oil

The Egyptians uses Sesame long before others. During the 19th century I haven't found many food recipes that involved sesame seed oil. Below are a few excerpts with some information on sesame oil and it's uses during the 19th century. Also note that sesame seeds were primarily grown in India and the Middle East. It would be extremely rare for someone in America to have sesame seeds in America.

Sesame oil, almond oil, earth-nut oil, and rape oil arc better fitted for the preparation of machine oils, and the last named, being the cheapest, is more used than all the others. Source: Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry Vol. 2 pg 481 ©1883

Was often mixed with Olive oil. Various sources

By Thomas Haben, Pharmaceutical Chemist.
The literature relating to sesame oil is very meagre, and in "Pharmacographia" alone do we find anything like a satisfactory description of the article and its uses. The learned authors of that work state that the oil "might be employed without disadvantage for all the purposes for which olive oil is used," and it is with the view of indicating the reliability or otherwiso of this opinion, that I have, acting on the suggestion contained in the "Blue List," undertaken the preparation of this report.
Sesame oil differs little in its physical characters from either olive or almond oils. It has not the tinge of green which all but the finest specimens of the former possess, and is of a rather more decided shade of yellow than the latter, but generally speaking the difference in colour is not very marked. The odour of a fine specimen of sesame oil is very slight, while the tasto is at first sweetish and bland with a peculiar after-flavour. Olive oil becomes grainy through the deposit of a crystalline fatty body at 5° C, but the olein does not solidify till about -5° C. Sesame oil congeals at-5° C, and almond oil is liquid till -20° C. is reached. The difference in the congealing points is doubtless due to the percentage of olein, of which almond oil " consists almost wholly" (" Pharmacographia "); sesame oil contains 76 per cent, {ibid.), and olive oil 72 per cent. (Braconnot). According to the best authorities, however, the percentage of olein varies according to circumstances; and, in like manner, different samples of the same oil differ in density, as is evident from the fact that hardly two authors agree in giving the same specific gravity for any one oil.
Source: Year-Book of Pharmacy comprising Abstracts of Papers pg 540 ©1883

Three varieties of sesame seed are cultivated in India—the white-seeded (Suffed-iil), the red or parti-coloured (Kala-til), and the black variety (Tillee); it is the latter which affords the greater proportion of the Gingelly oil of commerce. At the commencement of 1861, white seed was worth in the London markets 65s.; black and brown, 58s. and 60s. per quarter.
A second sort of sesame oil, sometimes called "rape," is obtained from the red-seeded variety.
Black sesame is sown in March, and ripens in May. Red sesame is not sown till June.
Sesamum seed has of late been exported largely to France, where it is said to be employed for mixing with olive oil. Source:House of Commons Papers Vol. 35 pg59 ©1877

Below is a clip from the Omaha Daily Bee, Feb 12, 1886. In the article the dairymen were trying to fight the increase of oleo margarine.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Clip Boards of the 19th Century called Letter-Clips

A question a while back on a historical writer's loop was searching for when clipboards were in use during the 19th century. Thanks to Carla for her links to the email loop with the answers that gave me further direction in answering this question.
Here are Carla's references:
An Attorney General's report 1880 lists the item.
The Writer Vol. 1-2 referencing a letter-clip with a description of the board.

I found some earlier references:
Below is an image of a letter clip in 1842 from The Practical Mechanice & Engineer's Magazine Vol. 1 Page 32.
The same image is in another magazine a year earlier 1841.

Referenced in the Household documents of an estate.
Referenced in a Patent book as similar to a letter-clip.
A Practical Dictionary with a description of the item.
The New Letter-Clip

Monday, July 31, 2017

Big Bonanza

The Big Bonanza was the events surrounding the Silver Mines in Nevada in the 19th Century. Dan deQuille, History of the Big Bonanza wrote the book in 1876 giving an account of the lives and people of Nevada.

Below I'm sharing the foreward written by Mark Twain, it is quite an endorsement.

One easily gets a surface-knowledge of any remote country, through the writings of travellers. The inner life of such a country is not very often presented to the reader. The outside of a strange house is interesting, but the people, the life, and the furniture inside, are far more so.

Nevada is peculiarly a surface-known country, for no one has written of that land who had lived long there and made himself competent to furnish an inside view to the public. I think the present volume supplies this defect in an eminently satisfactory way. The writer of it has spent sixteen years in the heart of the silver-mining region, as one of the editors of the principal daily newspaper of Nevada; he is thoroughly acquainted with his subject, and wields a practised pen. He is a gentleman of character and reliability. Certain of us who have known him personally during half a generation are well able to testify in this regard.
Hartford, May, 1876.

Friday, July 28, 2017

1851 Pistol Gallery

Okay today I have an advertisement from the Burlington Free Press Oct. 3, 1851 edition. At first glance I was thinking that a pistol gallery was an early name for bowling alley. But as I researched further I'm wondering if it was in fact a pistol gallery. Here's the ad, let me know what you think it is:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Western Travel 1851

I found this ad in the 1851 Burlington Free Press. What I found interesting is the offer to bring their belongings at no charge. Today we can't even fly with a suitcase without paying extra to see this offer for families going west with all of their possessions was quite something. Also the opening paragraph lays out the way to head West. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

1862 Adjustable Handcuffs

In 1862 W. V. Adams invented an adjustable handcuff. Prior to this date all handcuffs were a one size fits all item. Adams invented a ratchet mechanism allowing them to be adjustable. He received his patent on June 14, 1862.

Here is the report of the file patent:
No. 1,650.—George W. Reeo, assignor to W. V. Adams, New York, N. Y.—Handcuff.— Patent dated June 14, 1862; reissued April 5, 1864.
Claim.—First, a handcuff or shackle composed of the two sections A and B hinged together and constructed substantially as described, and provided with the lock C, or its equivalent
Second, in combination with the shackle as above described the clevis, or staple, substantially as set forth.

Another report:
No. 35,576.—W. V. Adams, of New York, N. Y.—Improvement in Shackles or Handcuffs.— Pateut dated Juno 17, 186'i.—This device consists of two curved sections pivoted together at their upper ends and provided with a locking apparatus, so arranged as to render the shackle adjustable in size. Upon the pivot that secures the two sections together is a hasp, through the eye of which passes the link of tho connecting chain.
Claim.—The combination of the hasp E with the sections A and B, for the purpose of allowing to each one of a pair of shackles a motion independent of tho other when in use, as described.

Here's a picture of a pair of Adams Handcuffs that went on sale on the internet a while back.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rattle Root - Black Cohash

This is an herb still used today the material below comes from "The Indian Household Medicine Guide" ©1883

Macrotys Racemosa. Black Cohosh. Rattle Root. Rattle Root is one of the finest remedies known in the Indian and Eclectic practice. Its medical powers and actions on the human system are simply wonderful. I have used it in over two thousand cases in which it was indicated, and it gave myself and the patient's satisfaction. It grows in most parts of the United States. It has a long stalk that grows into several branches, and each branch has a long plume-like cluster of little round pods, which are full of seeds. When the stalk is shaken the seeds will rattle, producing a sound like that of a rattlesnake, from which it takes the name of rattle root. The root is the medicinal part, and is best gathered during the months of July, August, and September. The main body of the root should be cut into several pieces carefully, as you will find it full of dirt, and then dried, watching that it does not mold before it dries out.

Medical properties and uses.—Without this plant or root the Indian squaw-doctor or midwife would feel that she had lost her king of female remedies. It is called by the Indians, squaw root. It is a very active remedy, in its proper administration, on the serous and mucous tissues, and for many cases of rheumatism, especially that of a muscular character. It acts on the nerves, and quiets nervous excitability. The Indian squaw doctors have their patients take this remedy two or three months before confinement, and it has that marked effect on them that they are never troubled with false rheumatic pains, hemorrhages, or lengthy labors. An Indian squaw, when following her tribe, if confined, will stop by the wayside for that day and wait upon herself, and the next day will proceed and overtake her tribe, while but few of our civilized women can get out of bed under the ninth or fourteenth day, and even after that they have to use strict care for a month or six weeks, and even longer. I know of no remedy that is better to overcome suppressed menstruation, or in words that are understood by all, the checked monthly flow, when it is caused by cold or nervous weakness. It is one of our very best remedies in a great many womb troubles, Girls, at the age of twelve, thirteen, or fourteen years, the time they usually enter womanhood, or the time when their monthlies become established, have often serious trouble with irregularity of flows; some flowing to a great extent, some not enough. In such cases as these this remedy is almost a certain relief, and cures if properly given. I prepare my tincture in this manner: Take the fine crushed root and fill a pint or quart bottle half full, and add whisky or diluted alcohol until full; keep it well corked, and shake once or twice every day for fourteen days. In female troubles I give from five to ten drops of the tincture in a teaspoonful of water four times a day. The largest dose should never exceed thirty drops; the smallest is one. In the treatment of rheumatism it is always better to combine the tincture of Prickly Ash with it in equal portions.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Chocolate Cake

This recipe comes from "Six Little Cooks" By Elizabeth Stansbury Kirkland ©1877 Note the debate about the one cup measurement at the end of this entry.

No. 5—Chocolate Cake.
One cup butter, two of sugar, three and a half of flour, one scant cup sweet milk, five eggs, omitting two whites, one teaspoonful cream tartar, one-half do. soda, one do. extract vanilla.

Meringue for the same. Beat the whites of the 'two eggs very light with one and a half cups powdered sugar; six tablespoon fills grated chocolate, two teaspoonfuls vanilla. Put the meringue on while the cake is hot, and leave it in the pan to cool.

"I don't see how any one can judge of what a 'cupfull ' is, Aunt Jane," said Hose, "cups are of such different sizes. Papa's coffee-cup is a perfect monster, and' mamma's tea-cup is a mite, small enough'for a fairy."

"Kitchen cups are not apt to vary much in size^" replied Aunt Jane, "and those are what are taken as a measure. If there is a great difference, we should choose one of a medium size. Then, you must remember, that when there are several things measured in cups, they will be proportioned to one another; so if you find after one experiment that your cake has not enough eggs in proportion to the other ingredients, you will know that your cups are too large; if the egg is too predominating, it will be because the cups are too small; so you will-'sbon . learn the happy medium."

"Besides," said Edith, "I suppose every little girl will have some grown person to show, her about these things , the first time, and then, after that she can remember. Won't you give us some more receipts, Mrs. King?"

Friday, July 21, 2017

1837 Stoves

In the interest of what kinds of stoves existed and when in the 19th century I'm posting an advertisement that appeared in the Nov. 3, 1837 newspaper "Burlington Free Press" It has some hand drawings of the stove they are advertising.
For those who are having a hard time reading the advertisement it states:
The Subscriber would inform their friends and the Public that they have just received a general assortment of Stoves, of various kinds and most approved patterns, which they are determined in selling the very lowest prices; among which are the
Improved Rotary, Cooking, 2 sizes,
Best Premium, (Troy) do. 5 sizes,
Various kinds Box
Elegant parlor Stoves &c
also Stove pipe of various sizes and qualities, wholesale and Retail. Stove furniture constantly on hand or made to order on short notice. A small assortment of hollow ware suitable for Stoves. Persons wishing to purchase are invited to call and look at their assortment, as they have xxxx of Superior Castings,
Burlington, October 20th,
Opposite the Jail Church St.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lost Horse

In the Jan. 5, 1836 in Rutland, Vermont's newspaper "The Rutland Herald" I stumbled across two notices of where folks had found horses. In the first the gentleman found one stray that came into his property. In the other the poster found three horses that came into his property. Each were asking the owners to identity their horses and pay for the damages that came from these horses entering their properties. I found this interesting because of the request that the owner pay for the damages. We've all heard of the value of a horse and even death by hanging for stealing a horse in some places. But the owner being responsible for damages their livestock has done...well that just gets the creative juices flowing, doesn't it?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Poplar Indian Medicine Herbal

I've only known of poplar as a type of hard wood that my dad used to make our hutch with. But apparently the bark was used for medicinal purposes. This comes from "The Indian Household Medicine Guide." ©1883

Populus Tremuloides.
This is a very valuable remedy, and should be used more than it is, and would be if everybody knew of its valuable properties. It is a plant common to this country, and is best gathered in the fall of the year, and is within the reach of everybody.

Medical properties and uses.—There are two kinds of barks, white and yellow; one is as good as the other. It is a very valuable remedy in all stomach troubles. It is a fine tonic, and should be used in cases of general debility with feeble digestion. It is good for convalescents when the appetite is deficient. My brother, some few years ago had a severe spell of continued fever. After the fever broke his convalescence was very slow; he had no appetite, and was swarthy, weak, and melancholy; the smell of victuals was that of disgust rather than a pleasure. Our family physician, and a good one, gave him tonics, but without the desired effect. I chanced to be at home at the time, and my mother being alarmed about his condition, asked me if I could recommend anything in our line of practice that would be good for him, give him an appetite and build him up. I recommended equal parts of the inner barks of poplar and dogwood and sarsaparilla root, cut up fine and put in a quart bottle until it was half full, then add whisky till full, and take a large tablespoonful, or a common swallow, before each meal. She did so, he took it, and in four weeks gained fifteen pounds. It immediately increased his appetite, strengthened his nerves, and restored his complexion to its natural color. He now lives twenty miles east of Cincinnati, Clermont county, Ohio. I will give you an Indian formula still better than the above:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

1867 Costs in Montana

The information below comes from "The Montana Post" (Virginia City, Montana Territory Jan. 5, 1867 newspaper. What I found is a market report of the costs of various products. They state theprices in gold or large lots from first hands, unless otherwise stated, and that in filling orders, higher rates have to be paid. I've enlarged the column and it is in several parts.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Children's Games

I stumbled on this paragraph while reading "The Home: a Fireside Monthly"©1858. The paragraph includes various games played by the adults in the conversation. If you know of any source that explains these games I'd love for you to share them with us.

"Why not? What is your objection?" asked my brother from Iowa, who had come for a few days' visit. "I am sure I should like myself, to see a children's party, such as we used to have at home. Don't you remember the famous plays in Mr. Reed's dining-room, and at Squire Dickinson's ? — Button, and Hunt the Slipper, and Blind Man's Buff, and Here we go around the Barberry Bush! I should be very sorry to be without such recollections, or to have my children grow up without them."

Note: Blind man's buff not bluff at this time. And I'm wondering if Button is the same as Button, Button, Who's Got the Button? Hunt the Slipper could have been played this way. Also, Here we go around the Barberry Bush or Mulberry Bush as we tend to know it today.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Necktie or Neck-Dressings as they were called in the late 19th Century

There were a variety of ties represented in the 1894 The Clothier & Furnisher but I've included a picture of this rather unique neck-dressing from the Muldaur Company. A company finding themselves in the forefront of various new styles. I can imagine a gentleman big on fashion wearing this tie and other men scratching their heads wondering why. Below the picture is the excerpt from the magazine.

Very remarkable is the display of neck-dressings that has marked the career of the Muldaur Company. Each season finds them to the fore with a multiplicity of new styles such as is the wont of every first-class retailer to see. The revival of the flat scarf for winter wear has been one of the predictions of neckwear connoisseurs this season. The Muldaur Company is one of the first to bring ti out in their line of samples. The illustration herewith given is one of the many pretty shapes to be found in their offerings. The ground is a handsome dark blue silk, and is relieved by polka dots in white. This live concern introduced, this season, a new clasp for fastening the ends of the neck band at the back of the collar. This device is not only more sightly in appearance than any other that has ever been introduced in the trade, but it is also the most practicable. The retailer will do well to watch for this in the display that will be shown them by the Muldaur Company.

Below is the illustration of the tie clasp.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Clothing Cartoon 1894

Below you will find a cartoon that appeared in an 1894 magazine called "The Clothier and Furnisher" I selected the cartoon for two reasons. One to share the sense of humor. Two to show the style of clothing depicted as well as the hair style of the tailor.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Chicken Pot-Pie

This is one of my family's favorite meals. I put chicken, a broth-gravy, potatoes, carrots, peas an various spices cover with biscuits or pie crust. However, as I searched recipe books from the 19th century there were no vegetables added to the dish. Personally, we love our veggies.

Below are various recipes:

Veal and Chicken Potpie. Joint the chickens, if made of them, and boil them till half done ; take them out; put them, dry, into a pot, making alternate layers of crust and fowl, seasoned with pepper and salt; then, pour in the liquor in which the fowls were boiled, upon the upper layer of crust, which covers the fowls. If a brown crust is desired : with a heated bake pan lid, keep the pot covered. Add, from the teakettle, boiling water, as that in the pot wastes. Raised piecrust , *- * is preferable to that made for fruit pies, though, if but, little
shortened, that is good. For raised crust, mix a teaspoonful of salt, and a teacup of melted butter, with three pints of flour, and then pour in half a teacup of yeast, adding cold water to make it stiff enough to roll out; placing it where warm, it will require from se'ven to eight hours to rise, unless you use brewer's yeast. Roll it out, when risen, and cut it into small cakes.
Potato pie crust is good. Peel and mash fine eight boiled potatoes ; mix with them half a pint of milk, a teaspoonful of salt, a hen's egg size piece of butter, and flour enough for rolling out. Put with the meat, the cakes after rolled out and cut.
By working into unbaked wheat dough, a little melted lukewarm butter, nice crust may be made. Before putting it with the meat, let it lay ten or fifteen minutes, after it is cut and rolled into cakes.
Source: The Improved Housewife ©1847

Chicken Pot Pie.—Cut a chicken in pieces; if it is not a young chicken parboil it in water enough to cover it, with half a pound of salt pork cut in slices, or a tea-spoonful of salt in it. Skim it carefully. Make a paste with half a pound of sweet lard rubbed into one pound of flour and a tea-spoonful of salt; add enough water to work it to a smooth paste ; roll the crust about half an inch thick, and line with it the sides of n stew-pan nearly to the bottom. Lay the chicken in the crust, and add a piece of butter the size of an egg rolled in flour; put in the water the chicken was parboiled in, and if necessary add more hot water till the stew-pan is nearly full. Cut part of the paste in small diamonds, and put them in the pie. Put on the top crust, first laying skewers across the top of the stew pan. Cut a slit in the centre. Put on the lid of the stew-pan, and let it boil slowly three-quarters of an hour, or more, if necessary. When the crust is well done the dish can be served.
Source: Mrs. Hale's New Cook Book ©1857

Mrs. F. D. J.
Cut in small pieces one chicken, not too young; wash and put into a stone or earthen basin with sufficient water to cover, set this on the stove and let it cook until quite tender; then add to this broth (which will have cooked away a little,) half a pint of sweet milk, (perhaps not quite so much,) and one-half a can of fine oysters; season with pepper and salt, and mace if liked; put in bits of butter, and two tablespoons of flour. Now make a nice soda biscuit crust; roll out about an inch-thick and cover the meat; cut a hole in the middle of the crust, and put in the oven. When the crust is baked a rich brown set the dish on the stove, where the meat will gently simmer in the gravy, and steam the crust, (with a tin cover over,) for about ten minutes. Serve in the dish in which it is cooked, with a knitted cover.
Source: The Home Cook Book ©1876

Chicken Pot-pie.—Clean, singe, and joint a pair of chickens. Pare and slice eight white potatoes; wash the slices and put with the pieces of chicken into a stewpan lined with pie-crust; season with salt and pepper, dredge with flour, and cover with water. Cover with-paste, making a hole in the centre; cover the kettle, and either hang it over the fire or set it in the oven. If in the oven, turn occasionally to brown evenly. Two hours' cooking is sufficient. When done, cut the upper crust into moderate-sized pieces and place them on a large dish; with a perforated ladle take up the potato and chicken, put it upon the crust; cut the lower crust and put on the top. Serve the gravy hot in a gravy tureen.
Source: Our New Cook Book ©1883

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Elephant Rusks in Vermont

Below is an article from Country Gentleman ©1865 Vol.26

The Tusk of an Elephant found in Brattleboro'
The tusk of a fossile elephant was found in a muck bed about five feet below the surface, on the farm of D. S. Pratt, in this town, on Saturday, Sept. 2, by a workman who was digging muck. The tusk is 44 inches in length, and 18 inches in circumference at the largest end, and 11 inches at the smallest. It is in a fair state of preservation, although some parts of it crumbled after being exposed to the air. The workman on discovering it took a piece to Mr. Pratt, remarking as he handed it to him. that he had found a curious piece of wood. Mr. Pratt on looking at it discovered its true nature. This tusk belonged to a species of elephant long since extinct, supposed to be the Elephas Primogenius (or mamir»th) Bhimeitback, that inhabited the northern parts of North America, having wandered across the Siberian plains to the Arctic Ocean and Behring Straits and beyond to this country south to about the parallel of 40°. Their bones show them to have been about twice the weight and one-third taller than our modern species.

The remains, (tusks, teeth, and several bones.) of one of these elephants were found at the summit of the Green Mountains, at Mount Holly, in 1848, by workmen engaged in building the railroad from Bellows Falls to Rutland. These remains were found in a muck-bed, 11 feet below the surface and at an elevation of 1415 feet above tide water. Most of the bones found, including a molar tooth, were taken by the workmen and others and carried out of the State. The most perfect tusk was secured by Prof. Zadock Thompson and is lodged in the State Cabinet at Montpelier. This tusk was 80 inches long and four inches in diameter. The molar tooth, now in possession of Prof. Agassiz, weighs 8 pounds and presents a grinding surface of 8 inches long and 4 broad. A plaster cast of it is on exhibition with the tusk at our State Cabinet.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mason Jar Ad 1865

This ad was in an 1865 publication of Country Gentleman, Vol. 26. Note that they looked a little different than what we are used to today.
Mason Jars were actually patent Nov. 30 1858.

John L. Mason also filed in Nov. 19, 1872 this:
Improvement in Screw-Neck Bottles, granted to Johs L Mason, November 30, 1858.
Claim.—1. A screw nock or nozzle of a jar or bottle, in combination with a groove separating the thread from the shoulder of the bottle or jar, as described.
2. A screw on the exterior of the neok of a bottle or jar, In which the neck extends above the screw-thread and tbe thread vanishes into the neck of the bottle or jar, substantially as described.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Aaron Burr Treason

We are all aware of Burr's famous duel with Hamilton but were you aware of the treason charges brought against him? The charge trying to steal land in the Louisiana Purchase. The evidence was a letter "supposedly" written by Burr. In the end the grand jury discovered the letter was written by Wilkinson in an attempt to frame Burr. Wilkinson defended his letter saying it was a copy he made because he'd lost the original. In the end Burr was not guilty and was never convicted of anything but the damage had been done.

You can read more about this trial at Reports of the trials of Colonel Aaron Burr

You can also read the subpoena given to Thomas Jefferson to testify at the trial. Located at the Library of Congress.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

19th Century Medical Books

Below is a resource list of Medical books folks had available to them during the 19th century. This is not a complete list but something to start from.

1827 The Medical Companion

1831 A Treatise on Family Medicine

1845 A Family Medicine Directory

1860 Homoeopathic Family Medicine

1865 Household Medicine Surgery Sick Room

1871 The Family Medical Guide

1883 The Indian Household Medicine Guide

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

1811 Heat wave

Here are some headlines and tidbits from Medford Mail Tribune, July 5th edition, about a heat wave that hit the east in 1811.
120 Deaths in Windy City
in this article it mentions 750 people were sleeping in the city parks. They weren't homeless they were trying to combat the heat.
Temp was recorded at 100 degrees.
64 Perish in the past 3 Days in New York
in this article it also mentions crops drying up in the middle west
Iowa Fruit and Vegetables destroyed
Omaha, Neb temps reached 105, deaths reported but no number given.

The source was 1911 Medford Mail Tribune, July 5th.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4th of July Happy Independence Day

I've selected four addresses delivered during the first half of the 19th century regarding Independence Day. I find it fascinating to see what was said and thought of by those who were actually living during the time period I'm writing about. Even the choices of the language they use. Anyway, for those of us who are Americans, enjoy our Independence Day.

In 1810 an Oration was given by Dr. George Cumming at the Presbyterian church in East Rutger Street, New York.

In 1822 John Quincy Adams delivered this message in Washington, DC.

In 1833 Rev John Budd Pitkin delivered this address in Richmond, VA.

In 1854 David Ramsey delivered this message in Cincinnati, OH.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Greene River Flooding 1880

Below is a clipping from Keowee Courier, Feb. 19, 1880 that started me on the journey of discovering more about this flooding. My question was, why was it Flooding in Feb.? Here's the article:

On further research I answered my question with this information: "the warm Chinook Wind from the north" would come during the winter months and melt the heavy snowfall in the mountains and also cause heavy rains.

The loss of business makes for interesting writing material. I also found a business who built above the highest flood water for their building to avoid the nearly constant river floods.

Friday, June 30, 2017


I was searching for various clothing to be worn while swimming in the 19th century, particularly the 1870's and stumbled on this great little excerpt from John Spicer on Clothes. This recitation is in the book Delsarte Recitation Book ©1893 I'm sharing this hoping you too get a smile on your face when reading it. Not to mention it gives fodder to some possible character's insight of the time period.

IT is very good fun to take off your clothes and go in swimming. Clothes are the things that you wear. They have arms and legs to them, and ever so many buttonholes and buttons, and have pockets. Pockets are the best part of your clothes. We have two kinds of clothes, best ones and old ones. We hang up the best ones and wear the old ones. When you wear your best ones every day you most always get something on them. Once I hitched the picket of a picket-fence into the leg of some best clothes and pitched over head first, and the picket went through, and then I had to take that pair for every-day ones. Gudgeon grease that you get off of wheels will not come off very well. I do not mean it will not come off the wheels very well, but off your clothes. Ink spots stay on, but you can get paint off, if you can get anything to take it off with. Mud brushes off when it gets dry, and your mother doesn't say anything when vou get mud on your every-day ones, but she does on your best ones.

One time when I was a little fellow, when I was going to a party with two little fellows about as big as I was, and we had on our best clothes, we climbed up a tree to see if some birds' eggs had hatched out, and a dry twig on a branch tore a hole on one side of one of my trousers' legs, and I did not want to go back home because that pair was all the best pair of trousers I had. A big fellow—he was not very big, but he was bigger than we little fellows—he told me to go to the party and keep my hand down over the hole, and I did, and somebody that was at the party asked me if my arm was lame, and I said, "No, ma'am;" but when the ice-cream came round, I forgot and took away my hand to take the saucer in it, and that same one looked at it, and laughed some, and she said: "Oh, now I see what the matter was with your arm!" and I laughed a little when she did, and she told me not to think any more about the hole then, but to have a good time and to think about the hole afterward, and I did. She told me a funny story about a hole that was torn. I will tell it: "Once there was a very small boy named Gussie, and he tore his clothes most every day, and his mother had mended them after he had gone to bed and he did not see her do it, and he thought the holes grew up of themselves in the night. And one day when his little cousin Susie tore her dress her mother told her not to tear, and cried, Gussie told her not to cry, for that hole would grow up again in the night, just as holes did in his clothes. And when Susie went to bed she put her dress over a chair to have the holes grow up, and first thing in the morning she went in her night-gown to look, and her mother found her standing there crying, and when her mother asked her what she was crying for, she said, 'Because that hole did not grow together in the night. I thought it would grow up in the night.'"

Once I had some mittens put away in some winter clothes. Mittens are clothes to wear on your hands, and hats are clothes to wear on your head. Once my aunt told me a hat riddle. I will say it: "Two poor little brothers they had but one hat, And both wore the same one, can you guess how was that?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Lipman's Great German Bitters

We've all read and heard about the tonics and various cure all medicines sold years ago. Below is the logo of Lippman's Great German Bitters, the second image is the list of what it cures or strengthens in the individual taking the medication or in this instance the bitters. These images come from the Charleston daily newspaper.

Here is a link to a label a little older than the above ad that was produced in Savannah, Ga in 1874

There were a few bottle images that came up on an image search.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

American Buggy

Today's post includes a quote from 1795-1895 One Hundred Years of Commerence ©1895 as well as 4 images from the 1859-1860 New York Carriage Makers Magazine. There are many different styles of buggies so I've selected only four to give you some variety.

To sum up the American Buggy in terms of the 19th century:
"The buggy is purely American in its origin, and is without doubt the greatest achievement of American carriage-makers. The body may be of any form, but the running part is always of the same, or nearly the same, type. Its common-sense construction is wholly unlike the work of any other country. It is simpler, lighter, stronger, and cheaper than any other style of vehicle, and is so admirable in all respects that it is not likely to go out of use for at least another century."

Below are a two sketches of the American Buggy.
This is probably the most common shape of the American Buggy, as I've scene so far from my research.

This design is larger than other's I've found as well. There is a smaller buggy for one person used for hunting as well.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

1871 Cruises to Florida

Charleston S.C. was a busy port and in 1871 there were many ships headed to Florida from Charleston. Below is an ad from The Charleston Daily News July 17, 1871. What I find interesting from this ad is it lists when you depart and when you would return give us a great example of the time involved in steam travel on the lower east coast.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Rubber Pants

I don't know if any of you have stumbled on a picture of these or not but this was a first for me and I'm glad I found it. Below is an ad from 1871 for Rubber pants in the days before elastic, gotta love it. They look very practical to me.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Hepatitis Treatments

Below is a brief outline over the 19th century for the treatment of Hepatitis. As I was preparing this list I couldn't help but thank the Lord that I was born in this time period than back in that one. If your characters develop this disease, I sure do pity them.

In the American Journal of Medical Sciences Vol. 8 ©1830 the treatment for hepatitis was the use of leeches and bleeding.

I found a reference in the Medical Examiner ©1839 that mentions the use of the "blue pill" but also the use of the leeches.

Leeches and Bleeding is still standard course of treatment in 1845 cited in the Half-yearly abstract of the medical sciences. It also states a light diet is in order.

In 1871 Beeton's Medical Dictionary it states that blood letting is not recommended now except in severe cases. It mentions the most common treatment is to try to an support the system during the course of the disease. It also mentions the possibility of using Mercury.

In 1885 A Revised and Enlarged Edition of Clark's new system of electrical medication we find the use of electricity as the practice of apply the current to 'as much as the patient can bear' for 20 minutes once or twice a day.

In 1899 The Practitioner's manual, by Charles Allen acknowledges that the treatment is symptomatic, in other words it only treats the symptoms not the cause of the disease.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Red Lip Salve

Not to be confused with lipgloss or lipstick as we know it now. This salve was to prevent and treat the chapping of lips. This tidbit came out of the "New Receipts for Cooking" by Miss Leslie ©1854 Alkanet is a plant that is the source of a red dye. The second clip immediately follows the first with a recipe for cold cream. Lipstick as we know of it was first used in the 1890's.

RED LIP SALVE.—Mix together equal portions of the best suet and the best lard. There must be no salt about them. Boil slowly, and skim and stir the mixture. Then add a small thin bag of alkanet chips; and when it has coloured the mixture of a fine deep red, take it out. While cooling, stir in, very hard, sufficient rose or orange-flower water to give it a fine perfume. A few drops of oil of rhodium will impart to it a very agreeable rose-scent.

Cold cream for excoriated nostrils, chafed upper lips, or chapped hands may be made nearly as above, but with one-third suet, and two-thirds lard, and no alkanet. When it has boiled thoroughly, remove it from the fire, and stir in, gradually, a large portion of rose-water, or a little oil of rhodium, beating very hard. Put it into small gallicups, with close covers.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

1871 Singer Sewing Machine Advertisement

Hi all,

I thought I'd add to today's post with another advertisement for the sewing machine most of us think of when thinking back on the 19th century. The reason to add this post is to show while the other machine (Today's earlier post) was around so was Singer's.

1871 Sewing Machine

Today I thought I'd share an ad I found in a Charleston Newspaper from 1871. The shape of the machine is what struck me as so different.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

James Bogardus Cast-iron Building

To give you an idea of who this man was and what he accomplished I'm sharing his obit with you.

1874. April 13. James Bogardus, an eminent American inventor, died, aged seventy-four years. He was bora in Catskill, N. Y., March 14, 1800. He began his career at the age of fourteen, in working upon watches. Several inventions marked his efforts in this direction, and obtained favorable notice at exhibitions. The " ring-spinner," in spinning cotton, was his first great invention, mi. Telegraph made in 1S28. A machine from Great usecj in making bank note plates, the first dry gas states. meter, the first rotary fluid meter, a celebrated medallion engraving machine, an engine turning machine, a glass pressing machine, besides other important changes in other machines, were the subject of his inventions. The manufacture of wrought iron beams was suggested by him, and the first complete iron building in the world was erected by him. He was skilled in scientific lines, and some of his Suggestions have been of great value in those directions. His life was full of practical results.

Here's a link with a picture and some history on cast-iron buildings. James built the first one in 1847. Many of the buildings used facades and other used the cast-iron for support beams.

Here is a link to the building built in 1848. Cast-iron Building

In 1856 he wrote a book titled "Cast iron buildings: their construction and advantages." Unfortunately this book is not available for a free download. But much has been written on James Bogardus.

And here is a link to the World Catalogue with the search for the book. Perhaps a location near you has a copy.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mustard Plaster

We've all heard about them and perhaps some of you have used one but I think for most of us today this is definitely a thing of the past. Below you'll find the recipe for a Mustard Plaster from "New Receipts for Cooking" by Miss Leslie ©1854.

MUSTARD PLASTERS.—Mustard plasters are frequently very efficacious in rheumatic or other pains occasioned by cold. It is best to make them entirely of mustard and vinegar without any mixture of flour. They should be spread between two pieces of thin muslin, and bound on the part affected. As soon as the irritation or burning becomes uncomfortable, take off the plaster. They should never remain on longer than twenty minutes ; as by that time the beneficial effect will be produced, if at all. When a mustard plaster has been taken off, wash the part tenderly with a sponge and warm water. If the irritation on the skin continues troublesome, apply successive poultices of grated bread-crumbs wetted with lead water.

A mustard plaster behind the ear will often remove a toothache, earache, or a rheumatic pain in the head. Applied to the wrists they will frequently check an ague-fit, if put on as soon as the first symptoms of chill evince themselves.

Definition of ague-fit
An obsolete term for a chill following a fever, which is said to be typical of malaria. This term is not used to working medical parlance, though it continues to be used by laypersons.
Source: Medical Free Dictionary,

Friday, June 16, 2017

Hair Shampoo

Today we have an incredible amount of hair care products. In the 19th century they seemed to have equally as many. Below is a list of the various types of hair care products concluded with a recipe for shampoo.

Hair dye
Luster Oil
Hair Oil or Dressing (perfumes)
Hair Tonic
Restorative products
Handoline--for the hair--as used in India
Hair Curling Liquid
Hair Bleach
Depilatory (Hair Removal)
Dandruff products

BOB HEATER'S SHAMPOO—Hair Tonio—Very Strong.
—First put oil of sweet almonds, 4 ozs., into alcohol, 1 pt., and put in oil of bergamot, 2 drs., or 1 dr., with oil citronella, 1 dr., when it can be had; then add aqua ammonia, 4 ozs.; rye whiskey 8 ozs.; gum camphor, % oz.; mix. Shake before applying, and rub in thoroughly. .
Remarks.—" Bob" Heater, a barber of Dresden, Ohio, where I married, and afterwards lived 14 yrs., obtained the first part of this receipt from a Mr. Squires, and put to it what we call the addenda or added portion, which makes it a strong and efficient tonic, to be used in cases where there is much falling out of the hair, or if considerable dandruff is present. He used it upon my own hair during the winter of '74, which myself, wife, and son spent in the " old home." It eradicated the dandruff and stopped the falling hair, and I still have an excellent head of hair at nearly 68 years of age, while at that time I thought it was all going. He had equal success with some others in a similar condition.
Source: Dr. Chase's Third, last, and complete receipt book and household physician©1888 pg 633-634

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Millefleurs Perfume

In the New Receipts for Cooking by Miss Leslie ©1854 you'll find lots of recipes for general food cooking. However in the middle chapters of the book are recipes for Perfumes, Remedies, Laundry-work, Needle work, etc. One of the perfume recipes for hair is listed below: Millefleurs literally means a thousand flowers.

MILLEFLEURS PERFUME.—Mix together an ounce of oil of lavender; an ounce of essence of lemon; an ounce and a quarter of oil of ambergris; and half an ounce of oil of carraway. Add half a pint of alcohol, or spirits of wine, which should be of the inodorous sort. Shake all well together. Let it stand a week, closelycorked, in a large bottle. You may then divide it in small bottles.
By mixing this perfume with equal quantities of olive oil, and oil of sweet almonds, instead of alcohol, you will have what is called millefleurs antique oil, which is used to improve the hair of young persons.

This began a search for me about the various hair treatments of the 19th century on Monday I'll continue to share what I've learned so far.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

100 Hundred Dollar Note

When the first $100 bill was issued it was actually called a Note. In 1862 the first U.S. $100 note was issued. In 1863 you could purchase $100 gold certificates. In 1869 Abraham Lincoln was represented on the note.

These bills were larger than our current currency. They were approximately 7.4"x3.1"

You can find some good information about the $100 note at The paper money experts and some pictures of the bill.

At Wikipedia you can find nearly the same outline however they have an image of the Lincoln note.

Another source with some great images of the Hundred Dollar bill can be found at Matter of Life

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

1877 Railroad Strike

For a good overview of the strike, I recommend starting with Wikipedia.

Another source would be History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850: 1877-1896 by James Ford Rhodes.

The strike was fueled by several things, one the decrease of the wages being paid to the employees and the 1873 depression. It probably became as violent as it was because of Taft and how he won the election. But all of that is speculating, which our characters might do in conversation. If you choose to use the strike in your novel be sure of the dates and the time it entered your area.