Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Eww, right? Except they were quite common in medicine during the 19th Century. Here's what "The Home Book of Health and Medicine" ©1834 says:
The leech is a well known species of worm that lives in water, and is applied to various parts of the body, to draw blood for the cure of disease. The medicinal leech has a flat slimy body, composed of rings, tapering towards the head; it is commonly about two inches long, about the thickness of a goose-quill; but it can lengthen and shorten itself very much. The bite of those leeches, which are found in stagnant waters and marshes, is said to cause pain and inflammation; such leeches, therefore, as well as the horse-leech, are not used, and those are preferred which are taken in the summer season, in waters having a clear sandy bottom. A leech attaches itself to any substance to which it wishes to fix, by an apparatus, constructed on the principle of a leather-sucker, which it has at both ends; the one at the head being like a horse-shoe, with a triangular mouth in the centre, and that at the other end being circular. When they fix on the body, they inflict a small wound of three little flaps, from which they suck blood until they are gorged, or till they are forced to quit their hold; this is best done by sprinkling on them a little salt.
The cases are very numerous in which leeches are useful; and in children, where it is so difficult to get blood from a vein, leeches furnish an excellent resource. Leeches are useful in the various inflammatory diseases, as ophthalmia, sore throat, rheumatism, tooth-ache, inflammation of the bowels, and uterus; in measles and scarlet fever, in hooping-cough, in head-ache, in bruises and in piles.
It is sometimes difficult to get leeches to fix; they should be kept hungry, and taken out of the water for some minutes before they are to be used, and should be dried with a soft cloth immediately before they are applied. The part should be well washed with soap and water, then with milk and water, and wetted with blood or syrup, and if there be many strong hairs, they should be shaved oft'. A large leech will draw about an ounce of blood, that is about n table-spoonful; and when they come off, the bleeding may be encouraged to a considerably greater extent, by bathing the parts with warm water, or by applying large poultices of bread and milk, or applying cupping glasses. It is sometimes difficult to stop the bleeding, and the surgeon is sent for in great alarm, especially when leeches have been applied to young children. The bleeding may generally be stop ted by proper pressure, with a little lint, or similar downy substance, for a due length of time, though this is sometimes very difficult, when there is no bone to press against; touching the wound with lunar caustic, will almost certainly succeed; but we must take care that the flowing blood do not wash the caustic down about the neighbouring parts. Sometimes the wounds made by leeches, give rise to a good deal of pain, swelling, and extensive inflammation. The best application is a cooling lotion of-sugar of lead, or diluted alcohol and water, or vinegar and water. If the pain and tension continue long, an emollient poultice of bread and milk will be useful.
Salt has been thrown on the animal to make it disgorge the blood which it has sucked, but the leech is generally killed in the experiment. A more easy way to discharge the blood, and save the animal, is to hold it in the hand, and gently squeeze it in a napkin, from the head downward; the blood flows copiously from what may appear the anus, or through the ruptured extremity of the intestinal canal, and the worm is not essentially injured.
Leeches are best kept in a bottle, half filled with pure spring or river water, covered with gauze or fine muslin. It is better not to put bran or any other substance into the water, but to.change it pretty frequently. Leeches are said to be very sensible to the electrical changes of the atmosphere.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Different Preserves

Have you ever heard of Celery Preserves? I hadn't and that's what caught my attention for this post. Below are some recipes for some not so common preserves. Granted they may be more common in your neck of the woods or in your experience over mine. We all come to writing with our own unique backgrounds.

CELERY PRESERVE—Cut the blanched part of the celery in pieces, and boil it in water with a large quantity of ginger until it is quite tender, then throw it into cold water and allow it to remain for an hour. Put it over a slow fire in good syrup, with some pieces of ginger, and let it remain simmering for an hour. Cool it again, and in the meantime thicken the syrup by further evaporation. Put the celery in again, and repeat the same process. After a third simmering in this way, taking care to keep the syrup thick, put the celery into pots, and cover with a syrup.

Watermelon Rinds (Yes, I've heard of these.)
To Preserve Watermelon Rinds.—Do not cut your rinds too thin ; pare off the outside green rind; soak them two days in clean soft water, and then drain them. Take six pounds of sugar and three pints of water, boil to a thick syrup; then add your watermelon rinds; boil until they are clear; flavor with orange flower water; cool, and put away in jars for use. ,

HEDGE PEARS.—Take four pounds of sugar and two pounds of water, boil to a middling thick syrup. Pare six pounds of good ripe hedge pears, and leave them whole. Boil these in your syrup until done; cool, flavor with orange flower water, and put away in jars for use.

These I have made, not these recipes but this kind of jam.
Rhubarb Jam.—Cut into pieces about an inch long (not peeled), put three-quarters of a pound of powdered lump sugar to every pound of rhubarb, and leave till morning; pour the syrup from it and boil till it thickens, then add the rhubarb and boil gently a quarter of an hour; tie down with tissuepaper dipped in white of egg. It will keep good for a year, and is excellent.

Rhubarb Preserve.—To every six pounds of rhubarb add six pounds of sugar and a quarter of a pound of bruised ginger; the rhubarb to be cut into pieces two inches long and put into a stone jar, with the sugar in layers, till the sugar is dissolved ; take the juice or syrup and boil it with the ginger for half an hour, then add the rhubarb and boil another half hour.

QUINCE JELLY. — Take some sound, yellow quinces, which are not over ripe; peel them, cut them in quarters, and boil them in as much water as will cover them. When they have been well boiled, squeeze them through a linen cloth, clarify the juice in a filtering-bag, weigh it, and put it with three-quarters of its weight of sugar in a brass kettle. Do not forget to put in a piece of cinnamon. Cook the whole together until it has become a jelly. Take it from the fire, and tie up in pots when it is cold.

CRAB APPLE Jam — Pare the crab apples when quite ripe, put them into a stone jar, cover it well, and put it in a pan of ‘boiling water for an hour and a half. Then prepare the syrup with two pounds of sugar in half a pint of water for every pound of the apples. Clarify the syrup. Then put the apples into it and boil the whole to a jam.
Source: The Godey's Lady's Book Receipts and Household Hints ©1870

Friday, September 26, 2014

American Ladies Magazine

During the early part of the 19th Century there was a magazine called "American Ladies Magazine." The first volume was actually titled "Ladies Magazine." Below is a list of links to Google Books for several volumes. The editor of this project is Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of Mary Had a little Lamb. By clicking the author's name you will be taken to the Wikipedia page about her. In 1837 the magazine was purchased by Godey and merged it with his Godey's Lady's Book.

Ladies Magazine Vol. 1 1828

Ladies Magazine Vol. 2 1829

Ladies Magazine Vol. 3 1830

Ladies Magazine Vol. 4 1831

Ladies Magazine Vol.5 1832

American Ladies Magazine Vol.6 1833. This link is not to Google Books and you can download a copy for your research pleasure.

American Ladies Magazine Vol. 7 1834

One more note, I've listed what is now available on Google books for free. However, other volumes are available for a substantial fee from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. So if you're interested in these volumes I recommend that you download and keep your own personal copy of them.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Americanisms beginning with the letter B

Continuing with Americanisms from the 19th Century the letter B. If you would like to see the entire listing for the letter B search for the "Dictionary of Americanisms ©1877

Babes. The name of a set of Baltimore rowdies.

Back, v. To back a letter is Western for to "direct" it.

Back is often used for ago; as in the phrase, "a little while back," i. e. "a short time ago."

Back and forth. Backwards and forwards, applied to a person in walking; as, "He was walking back and forth." A common expression in the familiar language of New England.

Backbone. Moral stamina, strength of will, firmness of purpose; the antithesis to doughface. A figurative expression recently much used in political writings.
Infirmity of purpose is the cause of more serious lapses of infirmity of principle. Men do not know how to resist the small temptations of life, from some deficiency in their dorsal arrangements; and the natural result is a departure from the right. Backbone is the material which is designed to make an upright man; and he must be firm on all points, if he would pass scatheless through the struggle of life. — The Republic, 1857.

Back Country. The interior and sparsely settled portions. See Backwoods.
To back down. To back out; to retreat.

Back out To give up.
Well, boys, you know Hoss Allen, — no back out in him, anyhow! — Hou AlUn, of Missouri,

Back Track. To take the back track is to retrace one's steps, to retreat; and hence is equivalent to to back out. Western.

To back Water, v. To retreat, or withdraw; a Western metaphor, derived from steamboat language.

Back-Log. A large piece of wood used in fire-places where wood is burned. Fore-sticks form part of the same fire.

Backward. Is sometimes used in the West for bashful, unwilling to appear in company, on the same principle as " forward" in correct language means the very contrary.

Bacon-Color. Being of a color of bacon.
Maria is eighteen years old, very likely; has a very pleasant countenance, light bacon-colored skin. Plato is nineteen years old, bacon-color and squarely built. — If. T. Tribune, Letter from Norfolk, May 19, 1862.

Bake-Oven. (Dutch.) This term is often used in the West for the simple word oven in a bakery. It is also applied to the iron bakepan.
Bake-Shop. The place where articles made by bakers are sold. Southern. As a general thing, the stores are closed; ... the bate-shops, however, seem to be driving a great business.—N. Y. Tribune, May 16, 1862, Letter from Norfolk, Va.
Balance. A mercantile word originally introduced into the ordinary language of life by the Southern people, but now improperly used throughout the United States to signify the remainder of any thing. The balance of money, or the balance of an account, are terms well authorized and proper; but we also frequently hear such expressions as the "balance of a speech;" "The balance of the day was idly spent;" "A great many people assembled at the church: a part got in, the balance remained without."
The yawl returned to the wreck, took ten or eleven persons and landed them, and then went and got the balance from the floating cabin. — Albany Journal, Jan. 7, 1846.
Most of the respectable inhabitants held commissions in the army or government offices; the balance of the people kept little shops, cultivated the ground, &c.— Williams's Florida, p. 115.
The boats of the South Ferry forced their way through the ice, and kept up their communication for the balance of the day. — New York Tribune.
The monopoly of the things of this world that are necessary to human subsistence by a few constitutes those few the masters of the balance of mankind. — The Suites ( Washington), March 26, 1858.

Bald-headed. To go it bald-headed; in great haste, as where one rushes out without his hat.

Bang up. Any thing of good quality; superior; first rate. "This cloth is bang up."

Beach-Combers. 1. The long waves rolling in from the ocean.
2. A term much in vogue among sailors in the Pacific. "It is applied to certain roving characters, who, without attaching themselves permanently to a vessel, ship now and then for a short cruise in a whaler, but upon condition only of being honorably discharged the very next time the anchor takes hold of the bottom, no matter where they are. They are, mostly, a reckless, rollicking set, wedded to the Pacific, and never dreaming of ever doubling Cape Horn again on a homeward-bound passage. Hence their reputation is a bad one." — Mellville, Omoo, p. 109. Beach Plum. See Sand Plum.

Beast A common name for a horse in the Southern and Western States. It is quite common to see in villages the invitation to travellers, "Entertainment for man and beast;" and in the Bible we read, "A certain Samaritan ... set him on his own beast."

Beef-Dodger. Meat biscuit. Comp. Corn-Dodger.

Bellows-Top. "When egg was beaten in it [flip], it was called bellowstop; partly, perhaps, from its superior quality and partly from the greater quantity of white froth that swelled to the top of it."—Joel Parker, Centennial Address, 1873.

Belly-Bender. Floating pieces of ice, or weak ice, which bend under one, as he passes from one cake to another. Boys take great pleasure in this precarious amusement. Belly-Bound. A sort of apple. (Fr. belle et bon.) Connecticut. Belly-Bumbo. A mode of sliding down hill by boys on their sleds,
when lying on their bellies. See Belly-Guts.

To best. To get the better of. "I've bested him more than he ever bested me."

Big Bugs. People of consequence. Probably the origin of this word lies hid in some anecdote that would be worth finding out.
Then we 'II go to the Lord's house, —I don't mean to the meetin' house, but where the nobles meet, pick out the big bugs, and see what sort o' stuff they 're made of. — Sam Slick in England, ch. 24.
These preachers dress like big bugs, and go ridin' about on hundred-dollar horses, a-spungin' poor priest-ridden folks, and a-eaten chicken-fixens so powerful fast that chickens has got scarce in these diggins. — Carlton's New Purchase, Vol. II. p. 140.
The free-and-easy manner in which the hare-brained Sir Robert Peel described some of the big bugs at Moscow has got him into difficulty. —N. Y. Times, February, 1857.
Miss Samson Savage is one of the big bugs, —that is, she's got more money than a'most anybody else in town. — Bedott Papers, p. 301.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

1899 Fashions

Below are 1899 fashions from original sources.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Brown Bread

A real treat when I was growing up was having Boston Brown Bread. Mom baked it in a can and it was great on the days we had hotdogs and beans. I haven't seen it served and frankly I haven't taken the time to make this bread lately but sharing these recipes might just be enough of a motivation to do it.

Boston Brown Bread,
One cup of sweet milk, two cups sour milk, one cup molasses, one and one-half cups cornmeal, one and one-half cups rye meal, salt, saleratus, or use three cups of water and two teaspoonfuls baking powder. Steam four hours. M. Helen Grant.

Brown Bread.
Two cups sour milk, two cups graham flour, one cup corn meal, one cup white flour, one cup Orleans molasses, one and one-half even teaspoonfuls soda, pinch salt. Mix flours well together and pour milk over them. Heat the molasses and add. Then put a tablespoon of hot water in the cup with the dregs of molasses, dissolve soda in it and add. Bake one hour in a moderate oven, in a two and one-half pound baking powder can, leaving off the top. Mrs. William E. Steel.

Brown Bread.
One cup of molasses, two cups of sour milk, one cup of graham flour, one cup of corn meal, one cup of white flour, one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon even full of soda dissolved in a little hot water; stir well, steam three hours then set in oven to dry off.
Mrs. John Broom.

Brown Bread.
One-half cup molasses; one cup sour milk, one egg, one-half teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon soda, sifted graham and two-thirds cups of flour; steam three hours
Miss Jennie Lewis.

Allegfhany Springs Brown Bread.
Stir one-half teaspoon soda into one-half cup hot molasses; add two cups sweet milk, a little salt and four cups graham flour, two teaspoons baking powder; cover with a bread tin and bake one hour in a moderate oven. Mrs. E. J. Sterling.

Boston Brown Bread.
One cup graham flour, one cup corn meal, one cup rye flour, (or two cups corn ineal,) one cup sour milk, one cup molasses, one cup sweet milk, one cup brown sugar, one teaspoon soda dissolved in the sour milk, one teaspoonful salt; steam three or four hours. If this milk should not make the batter quite thin enough add more sweet milk and fill the tin two-thirds full, to give it a chance to raise. In either boiling or steaming, set in cold water or luke warm, as the flour has a better chance to expand.
Mrs. George A. R. Simpson.
Source: Cook Book of Tried Recipes ©1897

Monday, September 22, 2014

Horses & Summer

A couple weeks ago, I posted some info on horses, this continues that thread. Below are some bits of information on the care of horses during the summer.

From the beginning of the spring work until the sowing of turnip-seed has been completed, the farm-horses have enjoyed no rest; and in the long hours of labour during a period from 15 to 18 weeks, they require a liberal allowance of good food to maintain their strength and condition. A little green food may be obtained for them before the sowing of the root crops is finished; but with this exception, the farm-horses, until the completion of the hard work of root-sowing, are fed just as they were fed while working hard in winter and spring.

Summer Leisure.-—With the conclusion of the root-sowing comes the summer holiday for the horses. In some parts they spend this time of leisure in the cattle-courts and in others on the pasture fields.

Pasturing Work-horses.—On many farms, especially in Scotland, the rule is still to graze the horses. As soon as the warm weather of summer has fully set in, the horses lie out in a pasture field all night, and get cut grass between the yokings in the stable. When the first yoking is over, they are put on pasture until taken up for the afternoon yoking at 1 o'clock, which saves the trouble of cutting grass. Work - horses are liable to suffer much from chilly nights, cold often laying the foundation of diseases—such as rheumatism, costiveness, stiffness of the limbs. The aftermath is good pasture in the interval of work at noon, and the second cutting of clover may last for suppers until the time to betake to the stable altogether.

Soiling Horses.—Many farmers disapprove of pasturing farm-horses, and support them at the steading upon forage. Where there are hammels or courts which could be easily divided, we would adopt this plan at once, but we are doubtful of its advantage in a stable. The heat of a stable in summer—and the doors cannot be left open — with the evaporation of the increased issue of urine from the green food, cannot fail to vitiate the air. The cattle - courts are more open; and if they can be divided so that each pair of horses may have a compartment to themselves, they will thrive admirably here. In the tillage districts of England this system of summering horses in the cattle-courts is extensively pursued. Many farmers, indeed, maintain that there is no better or cheaper method of keeping draughthorses in summer than in the courts, fed with green vetches or other similar succulent food, and dry hay, with perhaps a littlo bruised oats. Very often the grain is omitted. Still it is a good plan to give the horses a week or two of the fresh air in an open pasture field.
Pasturing Young Horses.—Young horses are put to pasture during the day as soon as they can obtain a bite. They should be brought at night into their hammels until the grass has passed through them; after which they should lie out all night in a field which offers them the protection of a shed or other shelter. Work-horses do not care for a shed on pasture, being too much occupied with eating during night to mind it. In rainy weather young horses should be kept in the hammel on cut grass, and not exposed to rain in the field overnight.
The farmer's saddle-horse should have grass in summer, as the best course of physic it can have. But it is more convenient to give it cut grass in a court or hammel than to send it to pasture, in which it may be with considerable difficulty caught when wanted.

Peculiarities of the Horse in Grazing.— It is surprising with what constancy a work-horse will eat at pasture. His stomach being small in proportion to the bulk of his body, the food requires to be well masticated before it is swallowed; and as long as that process is proceeded with while the grass is cropped, no large quantity can pass into the stomach at a time. The horse, like all herbivorous animals, grazes with a progressive motion onwards, and smells the grass before he crops it. His mobile lips seize and gather the stems and leaves of the grass, which the incisors in both jaws bite through with the assistance of a lateral twitch of the head. When grass is rank, he crops the upper part first; and when short, bites very close to the ground. Horses should not graze amongst sheep, as both bite close to the ground; and work-horses often injure sheep that come in their way, either by a sly kick or by seizing the wool with their teeth.
It is proverbial that horses do not graze well upon many of the very best bullock pastures. Horses often do better on rough pasture than on land which has been altered in its herbage by thorough drainage.

Horses Injured by Green Food.— Care must be exercised in beginning horses with green food every year. If allowed to gorge themselves too freely at the outset, serious illness may follow. Begin them sparingly with it, and if it should be wet or very succulent at any time during the season, it will be all the better to be accompanied or mixed with a little dry food such as hay.
Source: The Book of the Farm ©1891

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Dinning Room

I found this great little book called The Dinning Room available on Google Books. It's a great resource with a lot of illustrations and descriptions of various items for a household and to entertain on a budget. I'm adding this tidbit on Saturday as an extra for the week. Enjoy!

Friday, September 19, 2014

1897 Dinnerware

When setting a table as a historical author we tend to picture items we are familiar with. Below is a description from an 1897 Good Housekeeping Magazine on the fashion of Tableware.

"Odd and Even," and Up-to-Date.

IS there to be found a housekeeper who is not interested in table furnishings? She would be a curiosity far greater than the.famous What-is-it! Women can be found who can withstand the allurements of milliner and dressmaker, who can pass unmoved through the most tempting display of color and style, who cannot resist the witching grace of color and form when confined to an article designed for table use. Never before were table furnishings so enticing. It is no longer necessary to purchase a "set!" Those who bought before this day of artistic conception can add to their possessions odd pieces that will add greatly to the beauty of their table furniture.
Cups and saucers are shown in infinite variety of shape, color, and design. The bowl-shaped cup is preferred by many of the best authorities, while others choose those that have almost straight sides. Especial attention is given to after-dinner coffee cups. They are to be found in almost every imaginable shape, and with all sorts of quaint and fanciful suggestions in form and decoration. Shell-shaped saucers have cups following the idea of the shell as nearly as possible, the handles being in the form of smaller shells of various sorts. A popular handle is a pair of butterfly wings very slightly spread.
Bronzed handles are popular, and although not a novelty, are seen upon some of the finest of the new designs. Some handles appear like forked or irregular branches of trees. They are cut squarely off, having little projecting twigs, very odd-looking and pretty. There are also cups and saucers with raised enamel, and fine vine patterns that are among the most popular of the current styles. This relief work, however, is seriously objected to by sensitive persons, as the contact of spoon or fork with an uneven surface is thought to be somewhat trying to people of delicate nerves. Such persons will do well to select dishes that show relief only on the edges or the outside.
Salad sets are brought out both in square and oblong-square shapes, the plates in either being perfectly square or round, according to fancy, or square with a small portion of each corner cut off. Other styles are oblong or half deep, with round or octagon plates. The styles in fruit or berry sets number scores, each one rivaling the other in beauty of form, pattern, and quality of decoration.
Special attention seems to have been given to this department of tableware, and with happiest results.
Some housekeepers disregard all ideas of matching in these sets, and select a large, deep bowl of fine cut glass, with some of the choice fancy wares. There are shell porcelain dishes for serving the fruit that are extremely pretty with these cut glass bowls. They are made with raised patterns, and appear as though set with jewels, so brilliant are the colorings of the flowers and foliage. Ice cream sets are somewhat more conventional in shape. As cream is frequently sent to the table in long bars, an oblong dish or platter is most convenient for the purpose. The plates are either square, round, or of fanciful form, or fancy glass dishes may be used with equal propriety. With the present wealth of design and shape, the artistic householder can scarcely go wrong selecting from the standard makers of fine china, and if her taste is cultivated, her table may be as perfect, judged by an artistic standard, as her means will allow.
In the way of odd pieces there is almost endless variety. Special dishes with characteristic decorations are furnished for almost every article of food. Bread plates have a design of a folded napkin laid across the middle. Asparagus dishes look like the stalks of the plant, either in wickerwork design or in the form of one-half of a large bunch of the vegetable as it appears in market. There are baskets for rolls, covered dishes for cheese, egg dishes, long, slender celery boats, sardine dishes with attached or independent trays, according to taste. Platters have metal points upon which the game or roast may be impaled, for the convenience of inexperienced or careless carvers, and the absolute destruction of carving knives.
There are very attractive pudding dishes with metal baking dishes to place inside. Some of the new styles in fine ware are peculiarly attractive and unique in form and decoration.
Dishes for sauces are shown in various shapes. Those designed for the fish course are made in the shape of a fish, with one side hollowed out, and the tail turned upwards for a handle. Regular gravy and sauce tureens and boats are made with"attached or separate trays. Some of them have china ladles, but they are so fragile that nearly all housekeepers must resort to silver ladles sooner or later, and the demand for those of china are decreasing.
There are few novel features in the extensive and varied stock of cracker jars, oatmeal sets, oyster dishes, and bone plates. The latter are larger than those first brought out, and there is such a steady and growing demand for them that they bid fair to become a part of the regular dinner service.
Large boats, or flat low dishes for floral decorations for the table are interesting. They come in several sizes, those very low and flat, not unlike a platter, with perpendicular rim, are the most convenient. In them the flowers are arranged by the skilled florist, a centerpiece being added or not according to fancy.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Americanisms beginning with the letter A

I'm going to be sharing some Americanisms that were common during the 19th Century. Some we still use today, some we don't. As a writer I have a lot of fun with these kinds of word groupings. I hope you'll find them useful as well. Today we're starting with Americanisms that begin with the letter "A" I haven't [psted the entire listing of A's but a select group of them. If you would like to see the entire book it is available in Google books. "Dictionary of Americanisms, 2nd Ed." ©1877

About Right. To do a thing about right is to do it well.
I fell foul of the old mare; and if I di.ln't give it to her about right, then there's none o' me, that's all. — New England Stories.

Above one's Bend. Out of one's power. A common expression in the Western States. Above one's huckleberry is a vulgarism of the same signification.
I shall not attempt to describe the curiosities at Peale's Museum; it is above my bend. — Crockett, Tour down East.

Above Par. A term originally applied to stocks, but often transferred to other things which are superior; as, "This horse is above par;" "These goods are above par;" meaning that they are above the ordinary standard, better than common.

Above Snakes. Exaggerated cant for "from the ground," or more than above the ground.
Those two tall Kentuckians, with their tufted chins, somewhere about seven feet ab»re snakes. — Worthy's Travels in the United States.

According to Gunter. Gunter was a distinguished arithmetician, and the inventor of a chain and scale for measuring. The Laws of Rhode Island, both colonial and recent, referring to measures, say, "All casks shall be gauged by the rule commonly called 'gauging by Gunter.'" This refers to the instrument called "Gunter's Slide-rule," adapted for gauging. Hence anything correctly and properly done is said to be "according to Gunter."
Mr. K , a respected citizen of Detroit, has published a letter entirely exonerating General Cass from the charge of having defrauded his association in the land speculations. He is positive that all was done according to Gunter. — JV. F. Tribune.

The expression "according toHoyle" is also common; and an old fellow, who never played a game of whist in his life, always said "according to Hodge."

Aoross Lots. By short cuts, in the quickest manner.
I swore in Nauvoo, when my enemies were looking me in the face, that I would send them to hell across lots if they meddled with me. —Speech of Brigham Young, 1857.

Affinity. A man or a woman for whom one of the opposite sex feels a strong attachment, amounting to a passion; indeed, so strong is this passion claimed to be, that husbands leave their wives, and wives their husbands, for one for whom they possess a stronger affection, and between whom they pretend there is a stronger affinity. This individual they call their " affinity." The following example conveys the meaning of the word: —
"Ain't Theron Gusher a married man?" [inquired Josiah Allen's wife of Miss Betsy Bobbet].
"Oh, yes, pome."
"Some! " 1 repeated in a cold accent "He is either married, or he hain't married, one or the other;" and again I repeated coldly, "Is he a married man, Betsy?"
"Oh, yes, he has been a married man a few times, or what the cold world calls marrying, —he has got a wife now; but Ido not believe he has found his affinity yet, though he has got several bills of divorcement from various wimmen, trying tofind her."—Betsy Bobbet, p. 190.

After Night. After nightfall; in the evening; as, "A meeting will be held in the court-house after night." This expression is said to be peculiar to the Middle States. — Hurd's Grammatical Corrector.

All-Day. Continuing a whole day, able to work a whole day or every day; steady; strong. "An all-day horse," &c.

All Sorts of. A Southern expression, synonymous with expert, acute, excellent, capital. It answers to the English slang term bang-up or out-and-out. It is a prevalent idiom of low life, and often heard in the colloquial language of the better informed. A man who in New England would be called a curious or a smart fellow would in the South be called all sorts of a. fellow; expert in many ways.
She was all sorts of a gal, — there warn'tasprinklin' too much of her: she had an eye that would make a fellow's heart try to get out of his bosom, her step was light as a panther's, and her breath sweet as a prairie flower. — Robb, Squatter Life.

All-to-smash. Smashed to pieces. This expression is often heard in low and familiar language. It is an English provincialism. Mr. Halliwell says, that a Lancashire man, telling his master the milldam had burst, exclaimed, " Maister, maister, dam's brossen, and aw's-to-smash."— Archaic and Prov. Dictionary. See Smash.

Alley. 1. A place where the game of nine or ten pins is played ; usually called a nine or ten pin alley, and sometimes simply an alley.
2. An ornamental marble, used by boys for shooting in the ring, &c.; also called in England a taw. It is made of marble or of painted clay or of alabaster. In some cities, the boys call white marbles alleys.
Jim. I '11 give you a marble. I 'II give you a white alley. White alley, Jim! And it's a bully taw.— Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, p. 27.

Associated Press. A number of newspaper establishments in New York and elsewhere, which have entered into a joint arrangement for procuring telegraphic and other news to be equally furnished to them all, have assumed the name of " The Associated Press."

A-tremble. Trembling, quivering; deeply moved.
And beholding a noble and venerable tree, he says, "Oh, what majesty and glory! Five hundred years sit enthroned on the top of that monarch of the forest." And he feels himself all a-tremble. — The Independent, Aug. 14, 1862. Sermon by H. W. Blecher.

Avalanche. A Texan corruption of the French Ambulance. A spring wagon.

Awful. 1. Disagreeable, detestable, ugly. A word much used among the common people in New England, and not unfrequently among those who are educated. The expression "an aw/uMooking woman" is as often heard as "an ugly woman." The word is now more common in England than in the United States.
The country people of the New England States make use of many quaint expressions in their conversation. Every thing that creates surprise is awful with them: "What an awful wind! awful hole! awful hill! awful mouth! awful nose!" &c. — Lambert's Travels in Canada and the United States.
The practice of moving on the first day of May, with one half the New-Yorkers, is an awful custom. —Major Downing, May-day in New York.
2. Very great, excessive.
Pot-pie is the favorite dish, and woodsmen, sharp set, are awful eaters
Carlton, The New Purchase, Vol. I. p. 182.
It is even used in this sense adverbially, and with still greater impropriety, like many other adjectives. Thus, we not unfrequently hear such expressions as " an awful cold day."
There was Old Crane pokin' round among the gals, and mighty particular to Kezier Winkle. Ain't it ridiculous? I don't see what he could fancy about her. I never thought she was so awful handsome as some folks does. — Widow Bedott Papers.
3. Enormous, flagitious; as, "an awful crime." Awfully. 1. Exceedingly, excessively. Now an adjective of all work in English society. "O thanks very much! I'm so awfully obliged!" 2. Enormously. The chimneys were awfully given to smoking. — Carlton, New Purchase.

To axe. (Ang.-Sax., acsian, axian.) To ask. This word is now considered a vulgarism; though, like many others under the same censure, it is as old as the English language. Among the early writers it was used with the same frequency as ask is now. In England it still exists in the colloquial dialect of Norfolk and other counties. "A true-born Londoner," says Pegge, "always axes questions, axes pardon, and at quadrilles axes leave."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

1890 Fashions

Below are Fans, Parasols and Hats from 1890 sources. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


We've all heard of the Queen proclaiming to "let them eat cake" which it turns out isn't what we think of today as cake but a by product of making bread. In any event, below are several recipes for various cakes from the 19th century.

CAKES—Federal Cake—Flour 2 1/2 lbs.; pulverized white sugar 1 1/4 lbs.: fresh butter 10 ozs ; 5 eggs well beaten; carbonate of ammoma 1/8 oz.; water 1/2 pt., or milk is best, if you have it
Grind down the ammonia, and rub it with the sugar. Rub the butter into the flour; now make a bowl of the Hour, (unless you choose to work it up in a dish,) and put in the eggs, milk, sugar, &c., and mix well, and roll out to about a quarter of an inch in thickness; then cut out with a round cutter, and place on tins so they touch each other , and instead of rising up thicker, in baking, they fill up tno space between, and make a square-looking cake, all attached together. While they are yet warm, drench over with white coarsely-pulverized sugar. If they are to be kept in a show-case, by bakers, you can have a board as large aa tho tin on which you bake them, and lay a dozen or more tinsful on top of each other, as you sprinkle on the sugar. 1 cannot see why they are called "Federal," for really, they are good enough for any " Whig."
Ammonia should be kept in a wide-mouthed bottle, tightly corked, as it is a very volatile salt. It is known by various names, as " volatile salts," "sal volatile," "hartshorn,"' "hartshorn-shavings," &c., &c. It is used for smelling-bot ties, fainting, as also in baking.

2. Rocgh-and-Ready Cake.—Butter or lard 1 lb.; molasses • qt.; soda 1 oz.; milk or water 1/2 pt.; ground ginger 1 tablespoon; and a little oil ot lemon; flour sufficient.
Mix up the ginger in flour, and rub the butter or lard in also; dissolve the soda in the milk or water; put in the molasses, and use the flour in which the ginger and butter is rubbed up, and sufficient more to make the dough oi a proper consistence to roll out; cut the cakes out with a long and narrow cutter, and wet the top with a little molasses and water, to remove the flour from the cake; turn the top down, into pulverized white sugar, and place in an oven sufficiently hot for bread, but keep them in only to bake, not to dry up. This, and the "Federal," are great favorites in Pennsylvania, where they know what is good, and have the means to make it; yet they are not expulsive.

3. Sponge Cake.—Flour 3 cups; fine white sugar 2 cups; 6 eggs; sour milk 1/2 cup, with saleratua 1 tea-spoon.
Dissolve the saleratus in the milk j beat the eggs separately; sift the flour and sugar; first put the sugar into the milk and eggs, then the flour,and stir all well together using any flavoring extract which you prefer, 1 tea-spoon — lemon, however, is the most common As soon as tho fl.,ui Is birred in, put it immediately into a quick oven; and if it is all put into a common square bread-pan, for which it makes the right amount, it will require about twenty to thirty minutes to bake; if baked in small cakes, proportion ately less.

4. Sponge Cake With Sweet Milk.—As sour milk cannot always be had, I give you a sponge cake with sweet milk
Nice brown sugar l 1/2 cups; 3 eggs; sweet milk 1 cup; flour 3 1/2 cups; cream of tartar and soda, of each 1 tea-spoon; lemon essence 1 tea-spoon.
Thoroughly beat the sugar and eggs together; mix the cream of tartar and soda in the milk, stirring in the flavor also; then mix in the flour, remembering that all cakes ought to be baked soon after making. This is a very nice cake, notwithstanding what is said of "Berwick," below.

5. Berwick Sponge Cake Without Milk.—Six eggs, powdered white sugar 3 cups; sifted flour 4 even cups; cream of tartar 2 tea-spoons; cold water 1 cup; soda 1 tea spoon; one lemon.
First, beat the eggs two minutes, and put in the sugar and beat five minutes more; then stir in the cream of tarcar and two cups of the flour, and beat one minute; now dissolve the soda in the water and stir in, having grated the rind of the lemon, squeeze in half of the juice only; and Dually add the other two cups of flour and beat all one minute, and put into deep pans in a moderate oven. There is considerable beating about this cake, but if itself does not beat all the sponge cakes you ever beat, we will acknowledge it to be the beating cake, all around.

C. Surprise: Cake.—One egg; sugar 1 cup; butter 1/2 cup; sweet milk 1 cup; soda 1 tea-spocn; cream of tartar 2 teaspoons.
Flavor with lemon, and use sufficient sifted flour to mak die proper consistence, and you will really be surprised t see its bulk and beauty.

7. Sugar Cake.—Take 7 eggs and beat the whites and yolks separately; then beat well together; now put into them sifted white sugar 1 lb.; with melted butter 1/2 lb., and a small teaspoon of pulverized carbonate of ammonia.
Stir in just sufficient sifted flour to allow of its being rolled out and cut into cakes.

8. Ginger Cake.—Molasses 2 cups; butter, or one-half lard if you choose, 1 1/2 cups; sour milk 2 cups; ground ginger 1 tea-spoon, saleratus 1 heaping tea-spoon.
Mash the saleratus, then mix all these ingredients together in a suitable pan, and stir in flour as long as you can with a spoon; then take the hand and work in more, just so you can roll them by using flour dusting pretty freely; roll out thin, cut and lay upon your buttered or floured tins; then mix one spoon ot molasses and two of water, and with a small brush or bit of cloth wet over the top of the cakes; this removes the dry flour, causes the cakes to take a mce brown and keep them moist; put into a quick oven, and ten minutes will bake them if the oven is sufficiently hot. Do not dry them all up, but take out as soon as nicely browned.
We have sold cakes out of the grocery for years, but nevei ound any to give as good satisfaction as these, eithei at table tor counter. They keep moist, and are sufficiently rich and ight for all cake eaters.

9 Tea Or Cup Cake—Four eggs; nice brown sugar 2 1/2 cups; saleratus 1 tea-spoon; sour milk 3 cups; melted butter or half lard 1 cup; half a grated nutmeg; flour.
Put the eggs and sugar into a suitable pan and beat together: dissolve the saleratus in the milk and add to the eggs and sugar' put in the butter and nutmeg also' stir ail well: then sift in flour sufficient to make the mass to such a consistence that it will not run from a spoon when lfted upon it. Any one preferring lemon can use that in place of nutmeg. Bake rather slowly.

10 Cake, Nice, .without Eggs Or Milk —A very nice cake is made as follows, and it will keep well also:
Flour 3 1/2 lbs.; sugar 1 1/4 lb ; butter 1 lb : water 1/2 pt having 1 teaspoon of saleratus dissolved in it. Roll thin and bake on tin sheets

For More Recipes check out Dr. Chase's Recipes for Cakes There are many more, I've only shared the first ten. The next one is really interesting. Not sure if I'd make or eat it though.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Eggs Keeping and Hatching

One of my first responsibilities as a child was to take care of the chickens. It was my job to feed, muck out the hen house (thankfully Dad did that most of the time) keep a record of expenses and sales to determine a profit. It was one of the best life lessons I was ever taught. Keeping a few chickens for fresh eggs was much more common during the 19th Century than it is today. The tidbits below might help you when your characters have this responsibility, or better yet, the responsibility is thrust upon them and they don't have a clue what to do. Enjoy!

Keeping and Hatching the Eggs.
THE eggs should be kept in a cool, dry room in tin boxes to prevent the ravages of rats and mice. They are most safely stored in a dry cellar, where the temperature rarely sinks below the freezing point, and they should be occasionally looked at to make sure that they are not affected by mold. If, at any time, mold be perceived upon them it should be at once rubbed or brushed off, and the atmosphere made drier. If the tin boxes be perforated on two sides and the perforations covered with fine wire gauze, the chances of injury will be reduced to a minimum. The eggs may also, whether on cards or loose, be tied up in small bags and hung to the ceiling of the cold room. The string of the bag should be passed through a bottle neck, or piece of tin, to prevent injury from rats or mice. The temperature should never be allowed to rise above 40° Fahr., but may be allowed to sink below freezing point without injury.

Hatching-They should be kept at a low temperature until the mulberry leaves are well started in the spring, and great care must be taken as the weather grows warmer to prevent hatching before their food is ready for them,'since both the Mulberry and Osage Orange are rather late in leafing out. One great object should be, in fact, to have them all kept back, as the tendency in our climate is to premature hatching. Another object should be to have them hatch uniformly, and this is best attained by keeping together those laid at one and the same time, and by wintering them as already recommended, in cellars that are cool enough to prevent any embryonic development. They should then, as soon as the leaves of the food plant have commenced to put forth, be placed in trays and brought into a well-aired room where the temperature averages about 75° Fahr.
Heat and Moisture-The heat of the room may be increased about two degrees each day, and if the eggs have been well kept back during the winter, they will begin to hatch under such treatment on the fifth or sixth day. By no means must the eggs be exposed to the sun’s rays, which would kill them in a very short time. As the time of hatching approaches, the eggs grow lighter in color, and then the atmosphere must be kept moist artificially by sprinkling the floor, or otherwise, in order to enable the worms to eat through the egg-shell more easily. They also appear fresher and more vigorous with due amount of moisture.
Ventilation.-The building in which rearing is to be done should be so arranged that it can be thoroughly and easily ventilated, and warmed if desirable. A northeast exposure is the best, and buildings erected for the express purpose should, of course, combine these requisites.
Source: Home and Farm Manual ©1884

Friday, September 12, 2014

About East

I came across this expression from a book on Americanisms. Here's what it said:

About East.—To the frontiersman or pioneer, the Eastern or New England States are typical of all that he cherishes most and loves best. The vicissitudes of his rough Western life, the toil and hardships he has undergone while battling with nature and building up a new habitation far from the old homestead, all predispose him to turn with longing eyes and undying, though quaintly exaggerated love, to the East—the home of his fathers. A famous Yankee character (Major Jack Downing) makes use of the expression that he would "Go East of sunrise anyday to see sich a place." Everybody and everything connected with the East, i.e., his native land, is commendable. To his mind they cannot be surpassed —hence the things he would hold up to admiration he says are about East, i.e., "about right." Indeed, it is surprising what a strong hold this idea has upon the minds of men. Many a familiar phrase recalls the old times and the old folks to memory, which, in this respect, is evergreen. They talk of Going Down East, that is, to New England, while the DownEaster is neither more nor less than the pure and veritable Yankee.
Source: Americanisms ©1889

Unfortunately this was the only reference I found regarding this term. I found it in other books but always referring to a direction, not the term being quoted above.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Buffalo Chips

Is the delicate way to mention the droppings from a Buffalo. You might ask why I would mention such a tidbit, well someone was asking so I looked it up. And yes if you are writing a story set in the plains during the 19th Century you'll want to know this little bit of info.

Buffalo chips—Last, but by no means least in value to tbe traveler ou the treeless plains, are the droppings of the buffalo, universally knowu as "buffalo chips." When over one year old and thoroughly dry, this material makes excellent fuel. Usually it occurs only where firewood is unobtainable, and thousands of frontiersmen have a million times found it of priceless value. When dry, it catches easily, burns readily, and makes a hot fire with but very little smoke, although it is rapidly consumed. Although not as good for a fire as even the poorest timber it is infinitely better than sagebrush, which, in the absence of chips, is often the traveler's last resort.
It usually happens that chips are most abundant in the sheltered creek-bottoms and near the water-holes, the very situations which travelers naturally select for their camps. In these spots the herds have gathered either for shelter in winter or for water in summer, and remained in a body for some hours. And now, when the cow-boy on the roundup, the surveyor, or hunter, who must camp out,.pitches his tent in the grassy coulee or narrow creek-bottom, his first care is to start out with his largest gunning bag to "rustle some buffalo chips" for a campfire. He, at least, when he returns well laden with the spoil of his humble chase, still has good reason to remember the departed herd with feelings of gratitude. Thus even the last remains of this most useful animal are utilized by man in providing for his own imperative wants.
Source: Report Upon the Condition and Progress of the U.S. National Museum ©1889

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

1858 Bonnets

Below are some 1858 bonnets featured in magazines from the time period.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Below are some recipes for various Beers, btw, not all beer is full of alcohol. Like the first recipe for Root Beer. However most do have alcohol.

Root Beer.—For each gallon of water to be used, take hops, burdock, yellow dock, sarsaparilla, dandelion, and spikenard roots, bruised, of each i oz.; boil about 20 minutes, and strain while hot, add 8 or 10 drops of oils of spruce and sassafras mixed in equal proportions, when cool enough not tc scald your hand, pat in 2 or 3 table-spoons of yeast; molasses 5 of a pint, or white sugar £ lb. gives it about the right sweetness.
Keep these proportions for as many gallons as you wish to make. You can use more or less of the roots to suit your taste after trying it; it is best to get the dr~ -v>tB. or dig them and let them get dry, and of course you can add any other root known to possess medicinal properties desired in the beer. After all is mixed, let it stand in a jar with a cloth thrown over it, to work about two hours, then bottle and set in a cool place. This is a nice way to take alteratives, without taking medicine. And families ought to make it every Spring, and drink freely of it for several weeks. and thereby save, perhaps, several dollars in doctors' bills.

2. Spruce Or Aromatic Beer.—For 3 gals, water put in 1 qt. and i pt. of molasses, 3 eggs well beaten, yeast 1 gill. Into 2 qts. of the water boiling hot put 50 drops of any oil you wish the flavor of; or mix 1 oz. each, oils sassafras, spruce and wintergreen, then use 50 drops of the mixed oils.
Mix all, and strain; let it stand two hours, then bottle, Dearing in mind that yeast must not be put in when the fluid would scald the hand. Boiling water cuts oil for beers, equal to alcohol

3. Lemon Beer.—Water 30 gals.; ginger root bruised 6 ozs.; cream of tartar £ lb.; coffee sugar 13 lbs.; oil of lemon 1 oz.; or i oz. of the oil may be used, and 6 good sized lemons, sliced; yeast 1| pts.
Boil the ginger and cream of tartar, about twenty to thirty minutes, in two or three gallons of the water; then strain it upon the sugar and oils or sliced lemons, which have been rubbed together, having warm water enough to make the whole thirty gallons just so you can hold your hand in it without burning, or about seventy degrees of heat; thon work up the yeast into a paste, as for the cider, with five or six ounces of flour. Let it work over night, skimming off the yeast, or letting it work over as the cider, then strain and bottle for use. This will keep fifteen or twenty days. The Port Huronites think it a splendid drink.

4. Ginger Beer.—White sugar 5 lbs.; lemon juice 1 gill; ouney i lb.; ginger, bruised, 5 ozs.; water 4£ gals.
Boil the ginger thirty minutes in three qts. of the water; then add the other ingredients, and strain; when cold, put in the white of an egg, well beaten, with one tea-spoon of lemon essence—let stand four days, and bottle. It will keep for months—much longer than if yeast was used; the honey however, operates mildly in place of yeast.

PHILADELPHIA Beer.—Water 30 gals.; brown sugar 20 lbs.; ginger, bruised, iJ lbs.; cream of tartar J lb.; super carbonate of soda 3 ozs.; oil oi lemon, cut in a little alcohol, 1 tea-spoon whites of 10 eggs, well beaten; hops 2 ozs.; yeast 1 qt.
The ginger root and hops should be boiled twenty or thirty minutes in enough of the water to make all milk warm, then strained into the rest, and the yeast added and llowed to work over night; skimmed and bottled.

6. Patent Gas Beer.—Ginger 2 ozs.; allspice 1 oz.; cinnamon i oz.; cloVes i oz.; all bruised or ground; molasses 2 qts., cold water 7i gals.; yeast 1 pt.
Boil the pulverized articles, for fifteen or twenty minutes, in the molasses; then strain into your keg, and add the water, then the yeast; shake it well together and bung down. If made over night it will be ready for use the next day. There ought to be a little space in the keg not filled with the beer. This beer is ahead of all the pops and mineral waters of the day, for flavor, health or sparkling qualities or speed in making. Be careful you do not burst the keg. In hot weather, draw in a pitcher with ice. I have jold this in the principal towns of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, traveling with a caravan, and obtained two dollars for the recipe of the man who kept the inside stand, and blowcd the head out of the first keg of it which he made.

7. Corn Beer, Without Yeast.—Cold water 5 gals.; sound nice corn 1 qt.; molasses 2 qts.; put all into a keg of this sir*; shake well, and in 2 or 3 days a fermentation will have been brought on as nicely as with yeast. Keep it bunged tight.
It may be flavored with oils of spruce or lemon, if desired, by pouring on to the oils one or two quarts of the water, boiling hot. The corn will last five or six makings. If it gets too sour add more molasses and water in the same proportions. It is cheap, healthy, and no bother with yeast.

8. Strong Beer, English Improved.—Malt 1 peck; coarse brown sugar 6 lbs.; hops 4 oz.; good yeast 1 tea-cup; if you have not malt, take a little over 1 peck of barley, (twice the amount of oats will do, but are not as good,) and put it into an oven after the bread is drawn, or into a stove oven, and steam the moisture from them. Grind coarsely.
Now pour upon the ground malt 31 gals, of water at 170 or 172 °. of heat. The tub in which you scald the malt should have a false bottom, 2 or 3 inches from the real bottom; the false bottom should be bored full ot gimlet holes, so as to act as a strainer, to keep back the malt meal. When the water is poured on, stir them well, and let it stand 3 hours, and draw on by a faucet; put in 7 gals, more of water at 180 to 182°; stir it well, and let it stand 2 hours and draw it off. Thee put on a
fal. or two of cold water, stir it well and draw it off; you should ave about 5 or 6 gals. Put the 6 lbs. of coarse brown sugar in an equal amount of water; mix with the wort, and boil 11 to 2 hours with the hops; you should have eight gals, when boiled; when cooled to 80° put in the yeast, and let it work 18 to 20 hours, covered with a sack; use sound iron hooped kegs or porter bottles, bung or cork tight, and in two weeks it will be good sound beer, and will keep a long time; and for persons of a weak habit of body, and especially females, 1 glass of this with their meals is far better than tea or coffee, or all the ardent spirits in the universe. If more malt is used, not exceeding i a bushel, the beer, of course, would have more spirit, but this strength is sufficient for the use of families or invalids.
Source: Dr. Chase's Recipes or Information for everybody ©1866

Monday, September 8, 2014


I came across an oil cloth floor in Franklin, Tn while visiting an historical site. Here's a link to the previous post.
Today's post I'd like to build on that knowledge a bit with the tidbits below:

Floorcloth. There are several kinds of floorcloth. Formerly the name was confined to painted canvas, which is now called oilcloth; but the more recently introduced linoleum and other fabrics in which ground cork bulks largely are now extensively used for covering floors.

Oilcloth.—The basis of oilcloth is a coarse canvas generally made of jute, but it is stronger when made of flax tow. It is woven into pieces often as long as 150 yards and as wide as 8 yards. The first step is to fix a piece of this, say 75 feet in length by 24 feet in width, upon an upright frame provided with screws by means of which the canvas can be uniformly stretched. Stages or platforms are placed at convenient heights to enable the workmen to cover the canvas. Before paint is applied the canvas receives a coating of size, the chief object of which is to prevent injury to the cloth by acid products arising from the oxidation of the linseed-oil with which the paint is made up. When the size is thoroughly dry and pumiced, a layer or coating of paint is put on with steel trowels like those used by plasterers. Yellow ochre is much used for this thick coating, which if unaided by artificial heat sometimes takes fourteen days to dry. A second coat is applied in the same manner to finish the back, but the face receives five or six trowel coats, the surface being once or twice pumiced between the coats. The wearing surface receives a coat of paint with a brush if some other colour than that of the last trowel coat is wanted for the ground shade. In the case of cheap oilcloths, the coats of paint, instead of being applied by trowels, are put on by a .roller machine. A man keeps pouring the prepared paint out of a bucket on the moving canvas, and a long blunt knife-blade, almost touching its surface, regulates the thickness of the coat of paint. When made by this method, the oilcloth receives nine coats.

In printing, wood blocks are chiefly used, a separate one being required for each colour of the pattern. These are about 18 inches square, and the face is commonly made of pear-wood, with a pattern cut out by steel tools. There is an ingenious way of producing patterns on wood blocks by heated iron punches. Sometimes the raised portions of these printing-blocks consist of type-metal or brass.

Calico-printing will give an idea of how the impressions from several blocks complete a pattern. Beside the printers there is a table upon which are placed the colour-pads. Another table, padded with felt or flannel, supports the floorcloth, each pattern block, charged with colour, being applied by means of a small screw-press. A machine is in use for printing floorcloth which to a certain extent imitates hand-printing. The blocks which form the pattern are depressed by cams carried on shafts. Roller machines are not applicable to this kind of printing, because the paint would ' run' on a revolv-( ing surface. The durability of oilcloth depends' very much on the length of time given for the paint to harden, and also upon its quality.
Source: Chambers' Encyclopedia ©1893

Touching Up Household Articles.
These are a hundred and one little things about a house that may be improved in appearance by a slight rub over with varnish. The furniture, in most cases, is oiled and polished. The stair-cloth and hall or kitchen oil-cloth flooring may be varnished over at night and be dry for use the following day, but the knowledge of just how such work is to be done prevents many from attempting it. Directions for varnishing many household articles have already been given, but there is yet opportunity for going into more minute details.

Varnishing Floor Oil-Cloth.
The varnish best suited for a floor-cloth is known in the
trade as "No. 1 Furniture." It dries hard and quickly,
and is not so readily removed by the repeated washings
of soap and water. This varnish should cost about $2.00
per gallon, and it may be kept bottled so that at intervals
the cloth may receive a coating and thus be kept bright
and clean. It is hardly necessary to explain that before 6* (129)
varnishing, the oil-cloth must be washed clean. It is better to use no soap in washing or at least but a little, because strong soap will remove the coloring.

The figures in a floor-cloth may be brightened up by the stencil process if need be, and to do this take a pioco of thin paper and copy the figure originally on the cloth, then lay the pattern thus obtained upon some thick papor and cut it out (see page 59 for directions about making stencils). After the new paint has been put on, and this will probably not be necessary upon every square, tho varnishing will complete operations.
Stair-cloths may have the centre stripe, where most worn, painted with a plain color, say dark brown, leaving the original edge-stripe, and a very nice job be made of it. See chapter on Mixing Colors for method of preparing paint for this purpose.
Source: Everybody's Paint Book ©1884

Saturday, September 6, 2014


If you lived in the 19th Century and worked outside of a city more than likely you knew and had experience with cows. Below are some pictures and brief info to help the writer identify the type of cow that might be in their books.

Short Horned Cows
It has heen frequently asserted, that short-horn cows are had milkers, indeed that no kind of cattle are so deficient in milk. Those who say so do not know the still greater deficiencies of the Herefords, a species of cattle quite unknown in Scotland. The higher hred stocks of the Messrs. Collings, Mr. Mason, and Mr. Rohertson, yielded little milk. Indeed, Mr. Rohertson's cows could not supply milk sufficient for their own calves, at least not in the quantity which it was desired hy him they should receive. Cows were kept for the purpose of supplying the deficiency of milk of the high-hred cows. But this deficiency of milk did not altogether proceed from the circumstance of the cows heing of the short-horn hreed : hecause those eminent hreeders devoted their whole attention to the developement of flesh, and not at all to the developement of milk. Had the flesh heen neglected as much as the milk, and the property of giving milk as much cherished as the developement of flesh, their short-horn Coats would have heen deep milkers. As it is, the generality of shorthorn cows are not had milkers.
Source: The Farmers' Magazine Click link for the rest of the article.

Sussex Cow "Elsa"
Winner of the Champion Prize given by the Sussex Herd Book Society for the best female in the Sussex classes, and of the Gold Medal presented by Her Majesty the Queen for the best animal in the Sussex classes, at the Jubilee Show of the Royal Agricultural Siicicty of England, Windsor, 1889. Bred and exhibited by Mr. W. B. Waterlow, of High Trees, Redhill, Surrey.
Source: The Complete Grazier and Farmers' and Cattle=Breeders Assistant Click link for the entire book.

Ayrshire Cow
The Ayrshire cow, removed to England, is said not to maintain her dairy qualities at the best; there is tendency to flesh. The American-bred Jersey shows more horn, larger bone, and a less deer-like form than the Jersey-born.
The Ayrshire is exceptionally hardy. Though you may not expect to freeze her blood in the yard, and at the succeeding thaw find her milk flow unimpaired, her coat sleek, and her back straight, yet she will be as profitable with those who expect all this from a cow as any other.
Source: The Dairy Cow Click link for the entire book.

Jersey Cow
Though it is rapidly being proved that cows of the Jersey and Guernsey breeds rank as first-rate for richness of milk and cream, for quantity and high quality of butter, for easy keeping qualities and for delicacy of meat, there yet seemed a want of a work which proves all these excellent qualities to be possessed by these breeds, and, by bringing them more prominently into notice, to advance the interests of the agricultural community, particularly that portion of it residing in the vicinity of large cities and towns; though by the constantly increasing advantages offered by most of the railways distant portions of the country are brought more nearly and advantageously together.
Source: The Jersey, Alderney and Guernsey Cow Click the link for the entire book.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cheese Making

I love going to the store and buying cheese. Making cheese today is similar to making cheese during the 19th century however the tools are a bit different. Below is beginning of an article from The Book of the Farm ©1890 on cheese making.

The systems of cheese-making pursued in this country are numerous. It is a more intricate process than butter-making, affording scope for the exercise of greater skill in manipulation, and of more ingenuity in producing differences in the manufactured article.
In making the hard cheeses of this country the entire milk as it comes from the cow is dealt with. In making Stilton cheeses a little extra cream is usually, and ought always to be added. The cheese-maker has thus a bulky article to handle, and one which requires to be treated with the utmost skill and care commonly called a vat or tub. It may be oblong, as shown in Fig. 449
about 20 inches deep, and 30 to 32 inches wide, and mounted on 3 or 4 wheels so as to be easily moved about, and from one apartment to another. The Vat is if uniformly good results are to be obtained.

Apartments for Cheese-making— In well-equipped dairies there are at least three separate compartments for cheese-making—(r) the milk-room, the curd and pressing room, and (3) t e drying-room. In Stilton dairies there are generally three but sometimes four compartments. A convenient arrangement is to have the store over the other compartments, or perhaps over the curd or cheese-making room only. Some prefer to have the store in a cool dimly lighted ground-floor room.
An important point is to have the compartments as much as possible protected from variations in temperature,— so arranged that the temperature may be artificially controlled independently of the season of the year.
And, as in butter-making, the apartments and vessels must be kept perfectly clean, sweet, and fresh. Bad smells and impurities in the milk are fatal to successful cheese-making.

Utensils.--The utensils required in cheese-making are numerous, but they need not be costly. They usually consist of a milk vat or tub, strainers, curdknives, curd-mill, curd-shovel, curd-rake, cheese moulds or hoops, cheese racks or shelves, cheese-presses, pails, and pans, etc.

Vat—The vessel in which the milk is collected to be coagulated by rennet is made of many sizes to suit different dairies. This is the most modern vat. It has a double casing, so as to admit between the two cases cold water for cooling and hot water for heating the milk and curd. The inner case should be made of the best tinned steel; and the at is provided, as shown, with brass taps, as well as with draining cylinder, siphons, covers, and draining racks, on which the last the curd is placed to strain.

Circular Cheese Tub--Formerly the milk-vat was in the form of a circular tub. In very small dairies these tubs may still be convenient for the handling of small quantities of curd. Indeed there are not a few noted cheese-makers who still prefer the circular tub. With either the round or oblong vat first-class cheese may be made; but the modern oblong vat, with the double casing for heating or cooling the contents, in unquestionably the most convenient.

Heating Curd--In the modern vat with double casing the curd may be heated as desired by circulating steam or hot water between the two cases, which are usually about 2 inches apart. The perfect control which this gives over the temperature of the contents of the vat is regarded by most modern cheese-makers as of the very first importance. There are some who contend that this system is liable to injure the cheese by over-cooking the portions of curd which come into contact with the hot sides of the vat. This risk may be avoided by raising the heat slowly. In the round tubs the curd is heated by withdrawing a quantity of the whey, scalding it to a high temperature, and pouring it over the curd. This has to be frequently repeated, and is a troublesome process.

Curd-mill.—The frame of the curd mill, is usually made of wood, consisting of two bars supported on four legs. On the top is fastened the hopper with movable pins and hinges, and at the bottom of this runs an iron axle armed with pins or teeth fixed on it spirally, and below this again a metal grating. A handle drives the toothed axle, and the teeth pass through the bars of the grating, so that slices of “green” curd when put into the hopper are cut and broken through the grating, and fall into a receiver below. The metal working parts are tinned over 3 and the wood must be of some close-grained variety, and well seasoned, while the framework is sometimes made of iron.

Presses-- Of the cheese press the varieties are numbers. Those most in use my be classed under two kinds, with and without levers. Of the lever-press the varieties are most numerous, passing from the single lever, through the various combinations of simple levers, to the more elaborate one of the rack and levers.
Single cheese Press
The article goes on and if you would like to read the rest of it, here is a link in Google books Cheese Making the article begins on pg 500.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

When visiting South China

Here's a little tidbit with two illustrations that I thought was interesting. Mainly because they call the hand cart a wheel barrow. However it is always interesting to read what people find curious about visiting another culture. This comes from the The Phrenological Journal and Life Illustrated ©1873

The wheel-barrows are usually provided with a cushion for the passenger to sit on. This generally extends over the frame which protects the wheel, and can be removed if boxes and bales are required to be carried in place of passengers. A kind of rope stirrup is generally attached to each side of the cart, which hangs down near the ground. The outside foot of the passenger can be readily inserted in this stirrup, while the other is curled up under him, in case he does not prefer to sit with his back against the frame which protects the wheel, with both feet dangling down on the outside. The wheel-barrow man has a rope or band which he puts over his shoulders, and hooks on to the end of the wheel-barrow handles. In this way the weight which otherwise would have to be sustained by his arms and bands is sustained by the strap or rope.
consists in having the weight to be carried come by the sides of the wheel, and not between the wheel and the man working it. The weight is so disposed that only a small part of it is lifted by the man in wheeling. With the Western wheel-barrow, oftentimes half, or more than half, of the strength of the man is employed in lifting the load, but in the case of the Chinaman with bis wheel-barrow, he employs his strength mostly in pushing and propelling his load.
An ingenious mechanic, from these pictures and suggestions, could doubtless manufacture an improved wheel-barrow which would be much more fitted to the transportation of boxes, packages, stone, sand, etc., than the one now in general use in the United States, enabling the barrow-man to wheel two or three times as much weight as now and with less fatigue. At Tientsin, when dirt and pebbles or refuse are to be transported, the wheel-barrow is provided with two or more oblong baskets, which are snugly packed alongside of the wheel.
Carrying Packages
Carrying People

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

1872 Men's Fashions

This items come from original 1872 sources