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.

JAMES BOGARDUS's
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, http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/ague+fit

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)
Shampoos
Hair Tonic
Restorative products
Cologne
Handoline--for the hair--as used in India
Crimps
Hair Curling Liquid
Hair Bleach
Pomade
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.

Monday, June 12, 2017

1873 Depression

I don't know about you but when I hear the word Depression, I think of the Great depression of the 1929. But the 19th century wasn't without it own share of economic depression. A while back I wrote a post about the Panic of 1873

In google books I came across a periodical called "Commercial and Financial Chronicle, Vol. 17" There is an article written there about the two possible causes for the panic. Click Here to read the prevailing thoughts of the day regarding the cause of the 1873 Panic and Depression.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Sprained Ankle Part 2

Below is an excerpt from "Transaction" Volumes 28-29 by the Texas Medical Association ©1896 I share this tidbit not only for the medical information of the time but also for the 6 case histories the author cites. Not because of the unusualness or the significance of these injuries happening in the 19th century but because these same events could happen today, with the exception of jumping down from one's buggy. Enjoy!
PS Tomorrow's post will give more food for thought about sprained ankles and the treatment mentioned below.

THE MODERN TREATMENT OF SPRAINED ANKLE. J. E. GILCREEST, M. I).
GAISESVILLE.
My excuse for offering a paper on this subject is because I have found so few physicians who have adopted this method of treatment in sprained ankles.

The treatment of which I am going to speak is by basket strapping, with adhesive plaster. This originated with Mr. Edward Cottrell, of London, as far as I know. Dr. V. P. Gibney, of New York, commenced using this treatment in 1888. One year later I consulted him in a case of this kind, and he advised the basket strapping. The patient, however, rebelled, and would not allow me to try it. I then determined to test its value on some other case when opportunity presented. Speaking of this class of injuries, Dr. Gibney said: "I had learned to look upon a sprain as a kind of mystery involving a laceration of fibrous structures about the joint, a rupture of the ligament or ligaments, sometimes a teno-synovitis, sometimes contusion of the cartilege, and was inclined to look with a certain degree of admiration or pity on the man who was able to say that this ligament or that ligament was torn or detached from the bone; but was never able to say which was which, and I treated my cases as most men do to-day, by fomentation for a little while, then plaster of paris bandage or silicate of sodium, rest on axillary crutches, subsequent rubbing and massage, etc., etc. I confess I was never enamored of this treatment, and I had a grave apprehension always when I took charge of a case, lest I should get a stiffish joint following treatment, an irritable joint—one very much like the joints left after tuberculous disease in children, where suppuration has not been a part of the disease. The external features of a sprain, the signs, were always very well pronounced. One could see the puffiness in the neighborhood of the malleolus or over the dorsum of the foot, the localized swelling with extra heat, and sometimes ecchymosis."

The method adopted by Dr. Gibney, as described in Mr. CottrelPs little book, is as follows: "Cut strips of rubber adhesive plaster about one-half inch in width and long enough to completely encircle the foot. Then, with the foot raised, begin strapping the ankle and lower third of the leg, as I would an ulcer. The first strip came over the outer side of the foot down near the base of the little toe. It was put obliquely so that the next strip should cross this, one end beginning near the heel and terminating under the ball of the great toe. The third strip overlapped the first about one-half and was snugly applied, while the fourth overlapped the second in same direction, and so on until I had completely covered the foot, ankle and lower third of leg."

In the cases I have treated this way, I have generally tried to hold the foot elevated, rubbing it gently to reduce the swelling as as much as possible for half an hour or so before applying the strips. I have treated quite a number of cases in this manner, and must say that it is the most satisfactory way that I have ever treated sprained ankles. I have notes of six cases in particular in which I adopted this method of treatment.

Case 1.—D. L., a colored porter at the depot, sprained his ankle badly by a bale of cotton turning over on it. When I saw him it was swollen badly and quite painful. I had it elevated, after bathing thoroughly and gentle rubbing kept up for about half an hour, while I was cutting my plaster ready to apply. I then applied it as described, and also a cheese-cloth bandage over the plaster to hold it more snugly. I told him to put on his sock and shoe and lace it up around his ankle, which he did, and continued at his work. He wore the plaster for about one week, considered his ankle was well, removed it and had no further trouble.

Case 2. — Mr. ti., a lawyer by profession, jumped out of his buggy one afternoon in the country, lighting on a stone which turned under his foot, causing a very painful sprain. I saw him in about two hours afterwards; his ankle was swollen quite badly and very painful. I followed the same course of treatment, applying the adhesive strips and bandage. He staid in bed until the next morning, got up and put on his shoe and walked about the house some that day; and the next day went to his office, and continued from that time going on and attending to his business. His ankle, however, was somewhat sore in a week's time, and some of the strips had become loose, when I removed them and applied another dressing. He wore that for a week longer, then removed it and had no further trouble.

Case 3.—Mrs. D., a lady about 35- years old, rather tteshy and heavy, applied to me with a sprained ankle, which had been done about a week. She had not been able to walk without suffering a great deal of pain, or going on crutches. I applied the basket strappings as in the other cases. Her relief, however, was not so prompt as in the two former cases, but said it felt more comfortable immediately after the dressing was applied; she could wear her shoe and go with much less pain than before. It continued improving slowly and at the end of two weeks she was able to walk and have the dressing removed.

Case 4.—Miss C, a young lady about 15 years old, clerking in a dry goods store, stepped on a stone one morning while coming to the store, and sprained her right ankle. She called in my office soon afterwards. The ankle was swollen and painful: was hardly able to bear her foot on the floor. I applied the basket dressing, after which she put her shoe on and continued at work in the store. It gave her a little pain for a few days, but she continued goingr and wearing the dressing. I rebandaged the ankle in about a week. She wore the second bandage a week longer, when the ankle was well.

Case 5.—Miss H., a young lady attending school, jumped off the steps one evening; her foot turned, causing a painful sprain of the left ankle. I saw her two hours afterwards; she had been keeping it in hot water for some time before I saw it. I had it elevated for half an hour, having some one to rub it during that time, and then applied adhesive strips and bandage, as in the first case. She remained in bed that night, got up and put on her shoe the next morning. While she felt considerable soreness of the ankle, she could walk without much pain, and continued to do so. All pain and soreness was gone in about three days. She wore the dressing about a week, removed it and had no further trouble.

Case 6.—Mr. H., an attorney, stepped on a stone in his yard at noon and sprained his left ankle. It hurt him for a little while right badly, but he afterwards walked up to his office with the aid of a stick. It was hurting him so badly by night that he was hardly able to get home, and after walking home it became exceedingly painful. I saw it about eight hours after the injury, applied the adhesive plaster and bandages, told him' to get a laced shoe to put on the next morning, and try to walk around the house, which he did, and the next day he went to his office and continued using his ankle every day. He wore the dressing about ten days, then removed it, his ankle being perfectly well. There were no after effects.
I am highly pleased with the results I have had with this method of treating sprained ankles. With the old method of putting them up in plaster paris sometimes for weeks, we often find, upon taking them out, the joints sore and stiff, unable to move it. The modern method has certainly saved much valuable time for.my patients. The old method would have perhaps made larger bills for me, but I feel that we are more than recompensed by gratefulness from our patients when we can save them time and suffering.

Dr. Gibney, in commenting on this treatment, says: ilI have treated sprained ankles in this way at my clinic and in the outpatient department of the hospital. Both at clinic and at hospital we kept pretty full notes of cases, but they have not been tabulated. Suffice it to way that members of my staff and students have been very much impressed with the facility with which patients get about when thus treated, and medical friends who have asked me about sprains, and have adopted the plan here advocated, have reported to me almost uniformly the brilliant results they have obtained. I do not call to mind any adverse opinion."

Sprained Ankle Part 1

Below are some additional examples of various treatments for Sprained Ankles. I've tried to arrange them in the order of their publication. From what I've read it seems that wrapping the sprain was quite common and in the earlier part of the century the use of leeches to help bring down the swelling.

In this account you'll find the mention of the treatment of leeches but the physician came up with another alternative.
1838
"The external appearance of the leg, and particularly the redness and tightness of the skin, would have tempted me under ordinary circumstances to prescribe the application of several leeches, and some embrocation afterwards; but I knew such a course would not greatly expedite her recovery, and the object in this case was to shorten the usual period of confinement. With confidence therefore I recommended a moderately strong ammoniated lotion, all over the leg and instep, which was applied and kept on for five minutes.' It took away the inward pain in that time, though it augmented apparently the exteral soreness and redness of the skin. After the lapse of half an hour from the first application, seeing that no blister was produced (none being desirable) I repeated the lotion, considerably diluted. and recommended that the compress should be suffered to remain on the leg during the night. The lady of the house, under my instruction, applied that same night similar compresses, with the diluted lotion, to the bruises on the knee and hips. On the following morning every thing had returned to its natural state, the swelling and redness had disappeared, and the patient could put her foot to the ground and walk without inconvenience."
Source: Dunglison's American Medical Library Part 3 pg155 ©1838
(ammoniated - To treat or combine with ammonia)

1869
In the Retrospect of Medicine Vol. 59 pg 165 I found the quote below which is in keeping with yesterday's post giving us a better time frame for when this practice was begun.
I tightly strapped the foot and ankle, from the toes to the middle of the leg, with strips of ordinary adhesive plaster.

1871
"Severe sprains are often serious fractures, though no bone be broken, or only a bit may be chipped off; the ligaments and fascise are ruptured, blood being extravasated into the joints, into the sheaths of tendons, and for some distance not infrequently between the layers of muscles. The swelling is great, the pain intense. The orthodox treatment by leeches and fomentations is valueless, compared with circular compression and perfect immobilisation." (Gamgee on Fractures, 1871.)
Source: The Retrospect of Medicine Vol. 74 pg 175 ©1877

The circular compression is described below:
1879
"For a sprained ankle, place the end of the bandage upon the instep, then carry it round, and bring it over the same part again, and from thence round the foot tow or three times, finishing off with a turn or two round the leg above the ankle."
Source: Ayer's Every Man His Own Doctor" ©1879

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Spectacles or Eyeglasses

Eye glasses have been around in various forms since before Christ(BC). In the 19th century we saw some development in spectacles and by the end of the century they were becoming more common place and designer fashionable. I stumbled on a book "Spectacles and Eyeglasses" by Richard Jones Phillips ©1895 that goes into the process of making eyeglasses. Below is an excerpt about the type of materials used to make these spectacles, I thought it fitting when writing about our characters putting on spectacles we know some of these little tidbits. Also there are some great photographs and illustrations in the book.

The Material of Spectacle Frames is usually gold, silver, or steel. Various alloys have also been employed, and sold as aluminium or nickel. So far as I have examined them, they consist principally of tin, and contain little or none of the metals whose names they borrow. Real nickel is too flexible a metal to be used with advantage for spectacle frames, while, so far, no means have been found of soldering aluminium firmly. Were this difficulty overcome, the lightness, stiffness, and freedom from rust of aluminium would make it an excellent material for cheap frames. Silver, like nickel, is too flexible, except for workmen's protective goggles, or some such purpose, where very heavy frames are allowable. Gold, of from 10 to 14 karat, is, by far, the best material for frames. Finer than this it is too flexible, while if less pure it may blacken the skin. In the end, such frames are cheaper than steel, as, owing to the liability of the latter metal to rust when in contact with the moist skin, the gold will outlast it many times over. In eyeglasses, however, the parts are heavier, and the metal is not in contact with the skin; so that there is not the same liability to rust. The gold frames furnished by opticians in this country usually have a stamp mark on the inner side of the right temple, near the hinge, which denotes the fineness of the gold: thus 8 karat is marked -(-; 10 karat, B. 12 karat, *; while 14 karat, or finer, is marked 14k, etc.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Four dead in Five Seconds

We've all heard about the Gun Fight at the OK corral which happened on Oct. 26, 1881 in Tombstone Arizona. But I stumbled upon this gunfight and thought I'd share a little about it.

In El Paso, Texas on April 14, 1881 the famous "Four Dead in Five Seconds" gun fight occurred. This is one of those cases where the town hired a gun fighter to be the Marshal. You can read more about this gun fight on Wikipedia.

There's a short video of a reenactment of this incident on You Tube.

There was a blurb written in the Old West Gunfights webpage.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Celery

In 1860 Theophilus Roessie and Henry Steel Olcott wrote a small book called "How to Cultivate and Perserve Celery."
In the preface we find this interesting tidbit:
"So with celery. In its wild state, in which it is found in ditches throughout Europe, it is rank, coarse, and even poisonous, but by cultivation it becomes crisp, sweet, juicy, and of an agreeable flavor."

Not being a gardner I found it interesting that there was/is varieties in celery, including Summer and Winter varieties.

SUMMER CELERY.
VARIETIES.
After an experience of many years, with a great number of varieties of celery, I have narrowed my list to the following few kinds which I recommend as most profitable for general cultivation:
No. 1. Early White Solid.
No. 2. Joint do
No. 3. New Silver Leaf.
No. 4. Red Solid, or Rose-colored.
No. 5. Celeriac—or Turnip-rooted.
The varieties 1, 2, and 4 are best. I recommend number 1 for an early, and number 2 for the main crop. There are doubtless other kinds which under peculiar circumstances are valuable, but none I think which in every respect are so valuable, both to the market-gardener and the private cultivator, as those above mentioned.

If you're interested in more information about planting, growing and making a profit off of raising celery here's a link to How to Cultivate & Preserve Celery

Monday, June 5, 2017

Railroad Overview

The railroads played an important part in the expansion and history of the 19th century. Today's tidbit I'm sharing a link to a book that was printed in 1901 but is a cyclopedia of all kinds of terms used when referring to the railroads. As a writer, this is a helpful tool to keep in your pile of reference books imho.

A Railroad Pocket Book

Friday, June 2, 2017

Cattle Brands on the Cherokee Strip


I came across this book with brands of cattle in the Cherokee Strip area and thought how useful it might be if you're setting a story in that area. Brand book containing the brands of the Cherokee Strip published in 1882.

If you scroll down to the index it has the brands with the name of the ranch to the right of it as well as the page where you can find additional information about the ranch and where they placed their brands. These brands were not just for cattle but horses as well.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Cherokee Strip

Is an area in Kansas that was disputed between the Indians and the United States. It was the Southern boarder of the state. Cherokee Outlet was the Northern part of Oklahoma also involved in the dispute.

This land was in dispute since 1825 - 1866, at which time the Treaty of 1866 selling the land for not less than $1.25 an acre. In 1871 the land was surveyed and found to be off by 2.46 miles.

Here's a link to a web page with a Map of the area: http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ok/state/outlet/strip.html There are also some great books out there regarding the history of this area.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Money Exchange Rates

I've been searching for historical money exchange rates for the 19th century. Below is a link that will convert the British Pound to the American dollar. Link You select the year and time period you're looking for and it will convert. This has been a very helpful link with regard to the cost of carriages from the 19th century to American dollars.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Dishwasher


Yes, you read that title correctly. The Dishwasher was invented in 1850 by Joel Houghton but it didn't work very well. In 1886 Mrs. Josephine Cochran made the first practical dishwasher. In the 1893 World's Fair Mrs. Josephine Cochran won the highest prize for "best Mechanical construction." Restaurants and hotels were the first purchasers. Her company eventually became a part of KitchenAid.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

Here's a link to a website that gives some history behind Memorial Day and yes we began to celebrate it during the 19th century. Memorial Day History The site also has a great list of referring sites as well.

In 1870 The Army produced a record of ceremonies over the graves of the fallen soldiers. The National Memorial Day

In 1897 Michigan produced a small book for a suggested program for their schools in observance of Memorial day. Memorial Day

Please note that the practice started in the South before it became a National holiday and it was commonly known as Decoration Day.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Whilllaluh

I stumbled on this word while working on my 19th century Wagons & Carriages book. Apparently it is an Irish expression used in relation of the death of an individual and said as a lamentation over the dead.

I came across this while reading an excerpt from "The Barouche Driver & His Wife" ©1807. ON a quick search you can find in Google books 66 results of the word. I didn't take the time to see if several of those were repeat books, as is often the case with Google Books.

I mention this tidbit because of it's unique nature for Irish characters and it's relationship to 19th century use.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Burns

A question was raised about the treatment of burns in 1850. I found a source from 1845, A Family Medicine Directory, that had several references about treating burns and scalds. One passage I found particularly interesting was about the use of Laudanum for the treatment of the burns. Here is the excerpt:

Laudanum...In burns, a piece of lint, soaked in Laudanum, and kept applied to the pained parts, and repeatedly moistened with the Laudanum, allays the pain, and affords great comfort to the sufferer. Beyond these simple maladies, Laudanum should never be applied without medical advice. When Laudanum has been taken as a poison, immediately excite vomiting, by giving ten grains of Sulphate of copper, dissolved in a wine glassful of pure water.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mountain Men Diaries

Today's tidbit is a link to a great resource. The website is sponsored by the American Mountain Men. The Library has numerous diaries ranging in dates and locations of the Rockies and California. Here's the link to Library of Fur Trade Historical Source Documents

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

U. S> Public Debt is Zero

In 1835 it was the only time in the history of our country. I stumbled upon this little tidbit and thought with our current federal debt this was an interesting tidbit. In 1835 Andrew Jackson was president, his nickname was Old Hickory. He has since been praised for his stance and protection of Individual Liberties and democracy. However, he's equally rebuffed for his position on Indian Removal and Slavery.

I don't know enough as to why the government was able to propose a zero balance on the public debt but it could make for an interesting comment or two for our characters set in 1835. Also, this budget was set on Jan. 8, 1835.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Weights & Measures for Cooks

Continuing with yesterdays post on Measuring cups I found this description in Houghtalings Handbook of Useful Information ©1884

Weights and Measures for Cooks, eto.
1 pound of Wheat Flour is equal to 1 quart
1 pound and 2 ounces of Indian Meal make 1 quart
1 pound of Soft Butter is equal to 1 quart
1 pound and 2 ounces of Best Brown Sugar make 1 quart
1 pound and 1 ounce of Powdered White Sugar make 1 quart
1 pound ol Broken Loaf Sugar is equal to 1 quart
4 Large Tablespoonfuls make 1/2 gill
1 Common-sized Tumbler holds 1/2 pint
1 Common-sized Wine-glass is equal to 1/2 gill
1 Tea-cup holds 1 gill
1 Large Wine-glass holds 2 ounces
1 Tablespoonful is equal to. 1/2 ounce

A gill is (according to the Free Online Dictionary) a unit of liquid measure equal to 1/4 pint or 4 ounces. With regard to dry measure it is equal to 1/4 of a British Imperial pint. Which in today's measurements would be 1/2 cup.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Measuring Cups

This is not a thorough study on measuring cups during the 19th century. However there are a few tidbits to be aware of.

For example in the 1810 The New Family Receipt Book they don't have a measurement of one cup. They refer to a common tea cup, ordinary tea cup, one coffee cup.
I have found images of (Victorian) pewter measuring cups on the Internet. I've also found tin measuring cups dating back around 1840.
The earliest cookbook that I found any measurements for was in the 1830 Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry Cakes and the measurements were in pounds, ounces and quarts, pints. However there do have "A tea-spoonful of salt." The only cup measurement was again a tea-cup. 1/2 pint I started to referenced around this time as well, but never referred to as one cup.

By the end of the century I found glass measuring cups available as well as some high end copper and brass measuring cups.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

U.S. Camel Corps

On March 3, 1855 congress appropriated 30,000 to develop the U.S. Camel Corp. The idea was that camels might be better suited for the SW. Wikipedia has a nice overview of the project and process.

The Camel Corp never really developed because of the camels dispositions.

You can read an early account regarding The Camel: his organization, habits and uses ©1856 Chapter 17. The following chapter speaks on matters for the use of camels with the military.

Can you imagine being one of the men responsible for bringing in camels?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Lightning Jars

These came into existence in 1882. The inventor was Henry William Putnam. The fruit jar had a glass lid that had a clamp to hold the lid in place. One of the reasons they became popular was because no metal contacted the food. The metal clamps made it easier to seal and remove thus the name "Lightning".

Mason Jars

John L. Mason was an inventor and tin smith. In 1858 he invented the Mason jar. First he created a machine that could cut threads into the lids. This made it practical for the jar makers to make a threaded top on the jars. His patent was granted on Nov. 30, 1858.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

1858 & 1859 Illinois Crop Failure

Well I couldn't walk away from the passage in yesterday's post regarding the crop failing in 1858 in Illinois. I believe I've mentioned here that one of my ancestors was born on the prairie, her mother died there and she and her father returned to New England a few years later. With the loss of his wife and the failure of his crops, I can see my ancestor returning home. But enough about my ancestors.

There was a huge crop failure in Illinois in 1858 that caused some issues with bank failures. As one report put it, "business was completely paralyzed owing to the economic crisis." The crop failure in Illinois in 1858 was so profound that even though 1859 was good it wasn't good enough and the economics of the state of Illinois didn't turn around until the second half of 1860.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Prairie Farming

Many stories today are set in the prairie states and many of our ancestors were farmers. I stumbled upon this book, "Prairie Farming in America" by Sir James Caird ©1859 A large portion of the material covered centers around Illinois. In the book he talks about the various soils and the crops that can be grown in the area. One of the problems in Illinois was that it was difficult to grow wheat. The author states "The open prairie country is so windswept in winter that snow seldom lies long to any depth, and the young wheat is thus left unprotected to the frost. Should it escape that, it is liable to be thrown out by the rapid changes of weather in spring,--and if it fortunate enough to escape both, it is sometimes destroyed, as it was last year, by its enormously rapid growth in forcing summer weather, growing as it does almost on a muck-heap. ... The growth is too rapid, the vesicles of the stem burst, and the ear does not fill."

This passage tells me two things. One is the obvious wheat doesn't grow well in Illinois. Two, in 1858 there was a problem with the wheat crop. Which if I was setting a story in Illinois in 1858 that tidbit would have me scrambling for what happened? Did the event affect other crops? etc.

Here's a

Friday, May 12, 2017

Candle Making

Candles and candle making was actually different in various areas of the country. In other words, what were the natural resources in the area to make candles with. I read in the slave narratives hosted at the library of congress, that when they ran out of candles they would burn pine knots. In New England, where I grew up, I loved bayberries and wondered how they got the waxy covering off those tiny berries to make candles with them. Paraffin wax was introduced in 1850 changing the second half of the century and the last quarter with the introduction of the light bulb.

This excerpt gives you the names of several types of candles then goes on to explain in detail all six types. (which I've given you a link for)
CANDLES AND CANDLE - MAKING MATERIALS. Source: A manual of domestic economy: Suited to families by John Henry Walsh ©1874
249. Candles, As burnt in the present day, may be grouped into four classes, namely,
1st, those made from bees-wax, known as wax-candles;
2nd, neutral fat, as spermaceti, tallow, and stearine candles;
3rd, fat acid, known as stearic-acid candles;
4th, composite candles, being a mixture of stearic acid and neutral fat;
5th, the various candles obtained from natural petroleum, and its artificial imitation paraffin;
6th, the new material for candles known as Ozokerit, and only sold by the Messrs. Field, as a patent compound. The substances from which these are made are wax, spermaceti, tallow, palm-oil, cocoa-nut oil, petroleum, and paraffin.

If you would like to read in full detail about the process for each of these candle making types here's a link to the source.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Economy

I'm closing the week out with yet another post from The American Frugal Housewife ©1835. I find this book helpful in two ways, one it has some great information for my 19th century characters. 2, in our day and age where gas prices are sky rocketing, I feel it is important to be as economical as possible and this book is Mrs. Child's work on the topic of economics. I believe the passage below gives the reader a peak into the heart of Mrs. Child and her views of economics.

The other day, I heard a mechanic say, ' I have a wife and two little children ; we live in a very small house; but, to save my life, I cannot spend less than twelve hundred a year.' Another replied, ' You are not economical; I spend but eight hundred.' I thought to myself,—' Neither of you pick up your twine and paper.' A third one, who was present, was silent; but after they were gone, he said, 'I keep house, and comfortably too, with a wife and children, for six hundred a year; but I suppose they would have thought me mean, if I had told them so.' I did not think him mean; it merely occurred to me that his wife and children were in the habit of picking up paper and twine.

Economy is generally despised as a low virtue, tending to make people ungenerous and selfish. This is true of avarice ; but it is not so of economy. The man who is economical, is laying up for himself the permanent power of being useful and generous. He who thoughtlessly gives away ten dollars, when he owes a hundred more than he can pay, deserves no praise,—ho obeys a sudden impulse,. more like instinct than reason: it would be real charity to check this feeling; because the good he does may be doubtful, while the injury he does his family and creditors is certain. True economy is a careful treasurer in the service of benevolence ; and where they are united, respectability, prosperity and peace will follow.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Britannia Ware

The American Frugal housewife ©1835 I ran across an entry on how to treat Britannia ware. (Britannia ware should be first rubbed gendv with a woolen cloth and sweet oil; then washed in warm suds, and rubbed with soft leather and whiting. Thus treated, it will retain its beauty to the last.')

This made me wonder what exactly was Britannia ware and it's origins. My search resulted in an article written by Stephen Hall for the Historical Society in Beverly, MA. In the article Mr. Hall tells not only some of the history involved with the process of who created Britannia ware but also shares some of the folklore surrounding the invention. Unfortunately when I first posted this post back in 2011 the article has since disappeared from the internet. There is a note from the Beverly Historical Society on their timeline of Beverly History:
1812 The War of 1812 closed Beverly Harbor to trade First Britannia ware made in America in the shop of Israel Trask (160 Cabot Street, ruins of a kiln can still be seen in the backyard.)

However I did find the piece from "The Plough, the Loom, and the Anvil ©1856
BRITANNIA-WARE—A LARGE ESTABLISHMENT.

The business of making Britannia-ware in our country has grown to great proportions, and its growth is still increasing in magnitude. Very much the largest establishment for this important business we suppose to be in West Meriden, Ct., owned and operated by the " Meriden Britannia Co." The establishment, whilst it has a oneness, nuiy properly be divided into three more distinct factories. One is north of the depot, where steam power i< used, and where the ware made is mostly cast, and for. common use. Immense quantities and diverse qualities of ware are turned out of this shop, exciting the admiration of even traveled persons. Another factory is "over east" some three miles, where water power is used, and where1 ware is both cast and "spun up" in largo quantities, and some of it admirable qualities. Up stairs and down, through many stories, are ponderous machines and multitudes of men, actively at work upon ware in some stage of its construction, from the rough ingot to the burnished vase or tankard. But the largest factory is " down in Wallingford," whero more men are employed, and where all the ware is either roiled, pressed and run up, or is the product of all three processes of manufacturing. In this factory the perfection of the art of making this ware is seen. With engines and machines, newly invented and constructed, with many men of great ingenuity long applied, with ample means and facilities, an immense quantity of culinary and purely ornamental wares of astonishing excellence i3 thus turned out into the American market. Each factory has its manager. Silver plating and burnishing are done only at this place. The burnishing hall is large, and the large company of men engaged in it furnishes some of the finest countenances in the State. • These three manufactories, under the name of " Meriden Britannia Co." are the largest establishment in this business on this continent. It has, too, ite "commercial gentleman," who is constantly visiting towns and villages in all the latitudes and longitudes of our country, effecting sales to persons of taste and refinement, as well as to those who use this ware in common life. "Where does our ware go to?" asks the manufacturer, astonished at the quantity demanded. "Where dots all the Britannia ware come from?" asks the million of users and admirers. We cannot say where it all comes from, but we can say, that immense quantities go from the large establishment of the Meriden Company.
End Quote

You can do a quick search of Images for Britannia Ware and discover that is was pewter plates, cups, tea sets, etc.

Quite a while back on one of my historical writer's email loops I'm on, I was reflecting upon the death of Osama Bin Laden and how wars in my life time effect me and apply this to our characters with regard to the wars our characters have lived through. Britannia ware is a result of the war of 1812. The old adage "Necessity is the Mother of invention." holds true time and time again.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Setting Color in Fabric

I stumbled upon this interesting tidbit while reading The American Frugal Housewife ©1835. Personally, I've never heard of this before and found it fascinating. Their are two examples below, one is for carpet fibers and the other for material for clothing.

When a carpet is faded, I have been told that it may bo restored, in a great measure, (provided there be no grease in it,) by being dipped into strong salt and water. 1 never tried this; but 1 know that silk pocket handkerchiefs, and deep blue factory cotton will not fade, if dipped "in salt and water while new.

An ox's gall will set any color,—silk, cotton, or woollen. I have seen the colors of calico, which faded at one washing, fixed by it. Where one lives near a slaughterhouse, it is worth while to buy cheap, fading goods, and set them in this way. The gall can be bought for a few cents. Get out all the liquid, and cork it up in a large phial. One large spoonful of this in a gallon of warm water is sufficient. This is likewise excellent for takfng out spots from bombazine, bombazet, &jc. After being washed in this, they look about as well' as when new. It must be thoroughly stirred into the water, and not put upon the cloth* It is used without soap. After being washed in this, cloth which you want to clean should be washed in warm suds, without using soap.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Statue of Liberty

The corner stone for the statue of liberty was laid July 5, 1884 on Bedloe's Island a military post. I believe most of us know that the statue was a gift from Franc, but were you aware that it was often referred to as Barholdi's statue? The statue was built in France then dismantled and shipped to New York. After several months, nearly a year and a half of reconstruction and touch ups the statue was dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886.

From "A Standard History of Freemasonry" ©1899 we have this account of that day:
We are assembled here to-day in the face of you all to erect a statue representing liberty enlightening the world, a work of art grand in its conception and birth. As Auguste Bartholdi sailed into the bay of New York, a few years ago. the sight of the great city before him was grand, but grander the thought which found lodgment in his mind, of placing at this entrance to the continent, something that would welcome to these shores all who love and seek liberty, and the thought at this time crude though grand, gave birth to this statue; grand in its figure—colossal in size; grand in its practical use—lighting the storm-tossed mari
ner to a safe harbor, and grand in its very name and the significance thereof—"Liberty Enlightening the World:" "liberty" of thought, of conscience, of action, that true liberty that is not license, but which finds its highest development in obedience to constituted authorities and law; "enlightening"— how necessary enlightenment to true liberty and the highest appreciation thereof; "world"—yes, to the whole world does our continent open its arms and bid it welcome to the blessings of liberty.

From the "History of the city of New York" ©1896 we also have this excerpt:
This statue, at present adorning the entrance to the inner harbor of New York, is much larger than was the Colossus of Rhodes ; the figure is one hundred and sixty-two feet in height, and from the top of the pedestal the head-dress reaches an elevation of three hundred and twentysix feet. The pedestal is a rectangular shaft placed in the parade of the star-shaped granite fortification known as Fort Wood. The weight of the entire structure is forty-eight thousand tons. The work of constructing the pedestal was done under the supervision of Gen. C. P. Stone, engineer-in-chief. The tiara upon the head, and the torch carried aloft as a beacon in the right hand, are illuminated by electricity.
Because it admirably embodies the spirit of the statue, we append the sonnet written by Emma Lazarus.
THE NEW COLOSSUS.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek tame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
Here at our sea-washed sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose Hame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. Front her beacon hand
Glows world-wide welcome ; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin-cities frame.
" Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp !" cries she
With silent lips. " Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, —
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, tome.
1 lift my lamp beside the golden door! "

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Napkin Folding

Folding napkins is not a new art, in fact, I've heard it mentioned in many volumes written during the 19th century. Below is an excerpt about Folding napkins for waiters in fine restaurants and hotels. Many of the napkin arrangements can be found at How to Fold Napkins also known as Serviettes.

From The Steward's Handbook ©1889

NAPKIN FOLDING TO MAKE MONEY.
In our talk about waiters it is several times mentioned that there are w hat are called good tables to which the best or most deserving waiters are allotted. In the case of a Paris cafe it is shown that these best tables are only reached by slow promotions and delinquent or absentee waiters are invariably placed at the bottom or worst tables when they return to work and have to progress to the better places slowly. The meaning of good tables is that they are occupied by guests who pay their waiter well; the worst tables are those frequented by, let us say, "dead-heads," or by some sort of customers of whom little or nothing is to be expected. It is precisely the same in our hotels and perhaps most markedly the case in pleasure resorts where families take up their summer or winter residence, occupy the same tables through the season and pay their waiter well. The headwaiter gives such tables as favors to the waiters he likes the best, and if he does not like a waiter he can keep him down to a table where he cannot make a dollar. The best way a waiter can help himself and make it so the headwaiter cannot afford to keep him down is to learn to be a boss napkin folder; if he is the best folder in the dining room he has a big advantage; he will be always needed, and needed at the best tables. Perhaps the reason of this is not plain to all, it is because the best guests expect all sorts of elegant little attentions and must not see the next table to them faring better than they. The waiter brings in various things upon folded napkins and if he could not produce ornamental effects that way he could not be in such a position. When, for example, he brings in the various cut cakes, macaroons and bonbons, he provides himself with, say, the "Chestnut Pocket" on page 8 or the "Heraldic Rose" and cross, page 14, not caring for the cross but opening up the pockets and filling them with the handsomest and most delicate confections he can obtain at the pantry or fruit room. The cheese and crackers he brings in another pattern; the table he has already furnished with such a pattern at each plate as the "Flower Basket," page 20, or what not, while his rival at the next table may be trying himself to do something still better These attentions are practiced by the waiters because it pays them to do so; the people at the good tables appreciate them, and moreover, they expect them and the head waiter is obliged to find waiters who can meet these expectations. Some of the handsomest folds are cabable of many changes; the "Heraldic Rose" when opened up is known as the "Boston Fold," the "Flower Basket" with the points up is known as the "Saratago Fold," but several of these might as well be called the "Tip Catcher," the "Remember Me," the "Christmas Gift Collector," etc.

NAPKIN FOLDING FOR EFFECT.
Napkins there must be at every dinner in every hotel of the least pretensions to elegance and it is a waste of a grand advantage not to make use of them for ornamental effects by employing the more imposing forms of folding them for setting on the table in readiness for the dinner. The use of the napkin to hold the dinner roll or piece of bread is a fashion of private table-setting and for caterers for private parties, but the piece of bread to each plate is not a hotel custom, it is not suitable. The flat folds of napkins instead are used as above named to bring pretty things to table in and to hold buttonhole boquets or the menu. Where the napkin and the art of folding shows up the grandest is in the hotel dining room with its fifty tables, its hundreds of plates, its long white rows of Pyramids, Hamburg Drums, Tulips, Palm Leaves , Double Fans; Columns, Crowns, Mitres, any of them, the taller the better, all alike, of course, on each day but changed in form every day. That indeed is a sight that is pleasing alike to hotel man and guest and for good reason; it is a scene of real beauty and symmetry of forms and distances, pleasing by its whiteness and intimation of cleanlines and purity. It is something much too ornamental and satisfactory to be lost to a dining room for want of a knowledge how to fold napkins.

THE WAY TO LEARN.
Learn the folds by using good stiff white paper, the size is of but little consequence. The apparent difficulty of following the diagrams . 1 and directions vanishes after one trial, and when the folds CS (A have been carried out with a sheet of paper a stiff napkin VI yi can be tried with a better chance of immediate success. Duji Some of the forms which require a hot iron for every fold are hardly practicable for use in hotels except for special Y*# party occasions, but there are plenty of easy forms that do Y not consume much time and some of them produce as good

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Fashion Harper's Bazar

Harper's Bazar began publishing in 1867 and is still a leading magazine regarding fashion. What is extremely valuable, to people like me, is the images that produced in their magazine whether they were clothing or hair styles. It gives folks like me a visual of what they are referring to. So, I'm going to share one of the most valuable resources I've found for Harper's Bazaar Magazine with images of the entire magazine from 1867 to 1900. I believe you'll also find this a valuable resource.

Hearth Home Page

Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The House of Seven Gables

The House of Seven Gables written by Nathaniel Hawthorne was published by Ticknor, Reed and Fields, Boston, MA 1851. The original house that Hawthorne used as the backdrop for this story is still standing in Salem, MA. It was a museum I visited once many, many years ago. And of course there was that show called Bewitched that had an episode "shot" there. I do believe they shot the exterior and the rooms were probably Hollywood stages. In either case, the novel dealt in part with the history of the Salem witch trials as well as the change that comes with romance. I bring this novel up, not only because it was written during the 19th century but also the historical aspect of the novel that Hawthorne had researched while he wrote his novel. Admittedly, the history he based a lot of the novel on was the tales passed down for many generations within his own family.

In 1883 a collection of Hawthorne's works were compiled and below is the introductory note giving further insight into the history around the novel.
THE
HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES.
A ROMANCE.
INTRODUCTORY NOTE.
THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES.
In September of the year during the February of which Hawthorne had completed "The Scarlet Letter," he began "The House of the Seven Gables." Meanwhile, he had removed from Salem to Lenox, in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, where he occupied with his family a small red wooden house, still standing at the date of this edition, near the Stockbridge Bowl.
"I sha'n't have the new story ready by November," he explained to his publisher, on the 1st of October, "for I am never good for anything in the literary way till after the first autumnal frost, which has somewhat such an effect on my imagination that it does on the foliage here about me — multiplying and brightening its hueo." But by vigorous application he was able to complete the new work about the middle of the January following.
Since research has disclosed the manner in which the romance is interwoven with incidents from the history of the Hawthorne family, "The House of the Seven Gables" has acquired an interest apart from that by which it first appealed to the public. John Hathorne (as the name was then spelled), the greatgrandfather of Nathaniel Hawthorne, was a magistrate at Salem in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and officiated at the famous trials for witchcraft held there. It is of record that he used peculiar severity towards a certain woman who was among the accused; and the husband of this woman prophesied that God would take revenge upon his wife's persecutors. This circumstance doubtless furnished a hint for that piece of tradition in the book which represents a Pyncheon of a former generation as having persecuted one Maule, who declared that God would give his enemy "blood to drink." It became a conviction with the Hawthorne family that a curse had been pronounced upon its members, which continued in force in the time of the romancer; a conviction perhaps derived from the recorded prophecy of the injured woman's husband, just mentioned; and, here again, we have a correspondence with Maule's malediction in the story. Furthermore, there occurs in the "American Note-Books" (August 27, 1837), a reminiscence of the author's family, to the following effect. Philip English, a character well-known in early Salem annals, was among those who suffered from John Hathorne's magisterial harshness, and he maintained in consequence a lasting feud with the old Puritan official. But at his death English left daughters, one of whom is said to have married the son of Justice John Hathorne, whom English had declared he would never forgive. It is scarcely necessary to point out how clearly this foreshadows the final union of those hereditary foes, the Pyncheons and Maules, through the marriage of Phoebe and Holgrave. The romance, however, describes the Maules as possessing some of the traits known to have been characteristic of the Hawthornes: for example, " so long as any of the race
were to be found, they had been marked out from other men—not strikingly, nor as with a sharp line, but with an effect that was felt rather than spoken of — by an hereditary characteristic of reserve." Thus, while the general suggestion of the Hawthorne line and its fortunes was followed in the romance, the Pyncheons taking the place of the author's family, certain distinguishing marks of the Hawthornes were assigned to the imaginary Maule posterity.
There are one or two other points which indicate Hawthorne's method of basing his compositions, the result in the main of pure invention, on the solid ground of particular facts. Allusion is made, in the first chapter of the "Seven Gables," to a grant of lands in Waldo County, Maine, owned by the Pyncheon family. In the "American Note-Books " there is an entry, dated August 12, 1837, which speaks of the Revolutionary general, Knox, and his land-grant in Waldo County, by virtue of which the owner had hoped to establish an estate on the English plan, with a tenantry to make it profitable for him. An incident of much greater importance in the story is the supposed murder of one of the Pyncheons by his nephew, to whom we are introduced as Clifford Pyncheon. In all probability Hawthorne connected with this, in his mind, the murder of Mr. White, a wealthy gentleman of Salem, killed by a man whom his nephew had hired. This took place a few years after Hawthorne's graduation from college, and was one of the celebrated cases of the day, Daniel Webster taking part prominently in the trial. But it should be observed here that such resemblances as these between sundry elements in the work of Hawthorne's fancy and details of reality are only fragmentary, and are rearranged to suit the author's purposes.
In the same way he has made his description of Hepzibah Pyncheon's seven-gabled mansion conform so nearly to several old dwellings formerly or still extant in Salem, that strenuous efforts have been made to fix upon some one of them as the veritable edifice of the romance. A paragraph in the opening chapter has perhaps assisted this delusion that there must have been a single original House of the Seven Gables, framed by flesh-and-blood carpenters; for it runs thus: —
"Familiar as it stands in the writer's recollection — for it has been an object of curiosity with him from boyhood, both as a specimen of the best and stateliest architecture of a long-past epoch, and as the scene of events more full of interest perhaps than those of a gray feudal castle — familiar as it stands, in its rusty old age, it is therefore only the more difficult to imagine the bright novelty with which it first caught the sunshine."
Hundreds of pilgrims annually visit a house in Salem, belonging to one branch of the Ingersoll family of that place, which is stoutly maintained to have been the model for Hawthorne's visionary dwelling. Others have supposed that the now vanished house of the identical Philip English, whose blood, as we have already noticed, became mingled with that of the Hawthornes, supplied the pattern; and still a third building, known as the Curwen mansion, has been declared the only genuine establishment. Notwithstanding persistent popular belief, the authenticity of all these must positively be denied; although it is possible that isolated reminiscences of all three may have blended with the ideal image in the mind of Hawthorne. He, it will be seen, remarks in the Preface, alluding to himself in the third person, that he trusts not to be condemned for "laying out a street that infringes upon nobody's private rights . . . and building a house of materials long in use for constructing castles in the air.'' More than this, he stated to persons still living that the house of the romance was not copied from any actual edifice, but was simply a general reproduction of a style of architecture belonging to colonial days, examples of which survived into the period of his youth, but have since been radically modified or destroyed. Here, as elsewhere, he exercised the liberty of a creative mind to heighten the probability of his pictures without confining himself to a literal description of something he had seen.
While Hawthorne remained at Lenox, and during the composition of this romance, various other literary personages settled or stayed for a time in the vicinity; among them, Herman Melville, whose intercourse Hawthorne greatly enjoyed, Henry James, Sr., Doctor Holmes, J. T. Headley, James Russell Lowell, Edwin P. Whipple, Frederika Bremer, and J. T. Fields; so that there was no lack of intellectual society in the midst of the beautiful and inspiring mountain scenery of the place. "In the afternoons, nowadays," he records, shortly before beginning the work, "this valley in which I dwell seems like a vast basin filled with golden sunshine as with wine;" and, happy in the companionship of his wife and their three children, he led a simple, refined, idyllic life, despite the restrictions of a scanty and uncertain income. A letter written by Mrs. Hawthorne, at this time, to a member of her family, gives incidentally a glimpse of the scene, which may properly find a place here. She says: "I delight to think that you also can look forth, as I do now, upon a broad valley and a fine amphitheatre of hills, and are about to watch the stately ceremony of the sunset from your piazza. But you have not this lovely lake, nor, I suppose, the delicate purple mist which folds these slumbering mountains in airy veils. Mr. Hawthorne has been lying down in the sunshine, slightly fleckered with the shadows of a tree, and Una and Julian have been making him look like the mighty Pan, by covering his chin and breast with long grassblades, that looked like a verdant and venerable beard." The pleasantness and peace of his surroundings and of his modest home, in Lenox, may be taken into account as harmonizing with the mellow serenity of the romance then produced. Of the work, when it appeared in the early spring of 1851, he wrote to Horatio Bridge these words, now published for the first time: —
"' The House of the Seven Gables,' in my opinion, is better than 'The Scarlet Letter;' but I should not wonder if I had refined upon the principal character a little too much for popular appreciation, nor if the romance of the book should be somewhat at odds with the humble and familiar scenery in which I invest it. But I feel that portions of it are as good as anything I can hope to write, and the publisher speaks encouragingly of its success."
From England, especially, came many warm expressions of praise, — a fact which Mrs. Hawthorne, in a private letter, commented on as the fulfilment of a possibility which Hawthorne, writing in boyhood to his mother, had looked forward to. He had asked her if she would not like him to become an author and have his books read in England.
G. P. L.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Fashion History

I stumbled on this little gem of fashion history and thought I'd share it with all of you. The Chronicles of Fashion from Elizabeth to the early part of the 19th century ©1845 I believe this little book gives great insight into the development of the Victoria era and why fashion played such an important part during that period.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Hot Air Balloons

I've mentioned hot air balloons before on this blog but today I'm sharing the beginning of an excerpt that came out in 1822. The reason I'm posting this blog because of the science involved and the date of this publication. The 19th century is filled with science, which was built upon in the next century. The source of this excerpt is Elements of science and art: being a familiar introduction to...Vol. 1 pg 162. You can finish reading the excerpt here.

OF AIR BALLOONS.
The air-balloon is a machine, consisting of a bag i filled with air, so light, that it, together with the bag, forms a mass which is specifically lighter than the common air of the atmosphere. A cubic foot of common air is found to weigh above 554> grains, and to be expanded by every degree of heat marked on Fahrenheit's thermometers, about l-50th part of the whole. By heating a quantity of air, therefore, to 200 degrees Fahr., you will just double its bulk, when the thermometer stands at 54 in the open air, and in the same proportion you will diminish its weight; and if such a quantity of this hot air be inclosed in a bag, that the excess of the weight of an equal bulk of common air, weighs more than the bag with the air contained in it, both the bag and the air will rise into the atmosphere, and continue to do so till they arrive at a place where the external air is naturally so much rarefied, that the weight becomes equal, and here the whole will float.

The power by which hot air is impelled upwards, may be shown by the following experiment. RolL up a sheet of paper in a conical form, and by thrusting a pin into it near the apex, prevent it from ur rolling. Fasten it then by its apex, under one of the scales of a balance, by means of a thread; and having properly counterpoised it by weights put into the opposite scale, apply the flame of a candle underneath, and you will instantly see the cone rise; and it will not be brought into equilibrium with the other, but by a much greater weight than those who have never seen the experiment would believe.

If the magnitude of a balloon be increased, its power of ascension, or the difference between the weight of the included air and an equal bulk of common air, will be augmented in the same proportion. For its thickness being supposed the same, it is as the surface it covers, or only as the square of the diameter. This is the reason why balloons cannot be made to ascend, if under a given magnitude, when composed of cloth, or materials of the same thickness.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Rapeseed Oil

In yesterday's post about pumpkin seeds the excerpt mentioned rapeseed oil so I did a little research on rapeseed. In the 19th century it wasn't used for food because it had a bitter taste. However it was useful as a lubricant for steam engines and other machinery. I found several sources that rave about the use of rapeseed oil to keep the machinery parts from breaking down. Today the Canola Oil is rapeseed oil that has been bred to a more pleasing taste for food consumption.

After pressing the rapeseed and removing the oil what is left is a cake, these were often feed to cattle.

Another use for rapeseed oil was in the production of soap.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pumpkin Seed Oil

With all the discussion and interest in Essential Oils these days, I thought this article in the American Farmer ©1828 at first they were discussing how pumpkin seeds affect horses then they went on to explain pumpkin seed oil and it's possible uses. Personally, I love the roasted pumpkin seeds we would have as kids after we cut out the Jack-o-lantern, it was part of the holiday. But one pumpkin for a family at Halloween wouldn't deal with the rich harvest of pumpkins and their seeds to the average farmer. Below is the excerpt:

On The Oil Op Pumpkin Seeds. To Dr. C. L. Setger, Northampton, [Mass.)
Your inquiries respecting pumpkins, which have lately reached me, I hasten to answer to the best of my knowledge.
I understood that pumpkin seeds were pressed like rape seed, and of course cold: when I added "or like flax seed," it was because I had never seen flax seed or linseed pressed warm after roasting, as you say it is done with you.
Pumpkin seeds, being very oily, and containing thin oil, require no heat to help the effect of the press. They will yield their oil to the press as easily as almonds, walnuts, and seeds of the melon tribe.
The Harmonists press this oil in the press used for rape seed oil.
I do not think that the pumpkin seed oil can be employed, like linseed oil, for painting. It is too thin and fluid, but it will answer in the instances where walnut oil is employed, being similar to it in that respect, although otherwise much sweeter and less desecative.
Pumpkin bread and cakes are much used in the interior of the state of Kentucky, as pumpkin pies in New England. The bread is made either by itself or mixed with corn meal, by kneading pumpkins either raw or boiled, and baking them immediately afterwards, without any addition of yeast It has, therefore, a great similarity to corn bread, and is eaten either warm or cold. It is very sweet and of a reddish colour: I cannot say it is very palatable to me, but those that are used to it like it well. You know that corn bread is not liked at first by many persons. I think that the best pumpkin bread is that made by uniting equal parts of corn meal and boiled pumpkins.
Respecting the cultivation of pumpkins, I can hardly give you any additional information. Their culture is well understood all over the country, and all the farmers know how to avail themselves of the facility which they have of growing among corn, without injury to either crop. I do not conceive that any positive advantage might result from their separate cultivation. But manures might be highly beneficial in either instance, and would increase the crops.
I remember the following additional uses which may be made of pumpkins:
1. The cakes, remaining after the oil is pressed from the seeds, are eaten greedily by cattle and hogs.
2. In Europe, they make good preserves of pumpkins, by cutting them in slices and boiling them for a long time in strong syrup of sugar.
S. In the south of Europe, a very good soup is made by mashed or diluted pumpkins with oil, butter, or broth. This dish is called Furlata in Tuscany. Rice is often added to it.
4. The hard skin of pumpkins, if uninjured, may be used for pails, buckets, baskets, &c. The pumpkins may be made to assume almost any shape, by being confined while young, in wooden or hard vessels, which they will fill gradually, moulding themselves to their shapes.
I remain, respectfully, yours, &c.
C S. RAFINESQUE, Professor of Botany and JYat. History. Transylvania University, Sept. 10, 1819.


Another use for pumpkin seeds was written up in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences Vol. 25 ©1854 Fresh seeds rubbed up with sugar and water were administered once an hour in four doses. The patient had been prepared with a light breakfast and dinner then fasted for the evening. The seeds were prepared and administered as mentioned above and within half an hour the patent passed a tape-worm measuring about three yards. A month later the patient left the hospital without any evidence of the return of the affection. Theophilus Parvin, MD

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Raisins

Raisins have been around for hundreds and thousands of years but in 1876 William Thompson introduced the Lady deCoverly seedless grape at the Marysville District Fair (California). These are the same grapes we use today. They have a thin skin and are seedless. Sun-dried produces the dark raisins and oven dried and cured with sulfur produce the golden raisin.

Prior to this time the raisins included the seeds and had thicker skins but still delicious. Below I've included an excerpt from The Boston Journal of chemistry and popular science review Vol. 15-17 pg 79 ©1881:
How Raisins Are Made In California. — In Mr. Blower's vineyard, Yolo County, the grapes are allowed to remain on the vine until of a golden color and translucent. They are then picked, and put on wooden trays two by three feet in size, placed between the rows, sloping to the sun. When half dried they are turned by putting a tray on top, and by inverting them both are transferred to the new tray. When the new grapes lose their ashy appearance, and after removing the green ones, the rest are put into large sweat-boxes, placing sheets of paper between every twenty-five pounds of raisins. They are left there for two weeks, when the stems are tough and the raisins soft. The packing follows, in which iron or steel packing frames are used, the raisins being assorted, weighed, inspected, and made presentable.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sewing Machine & Button holes

The first attachment for the sewing machine to sew button holes was patented by Charles Miller of St. Louis, on Mar. 7, 1854. I've attached a link to a website The International Sewing Machine Collector's Society if you would like to read more about the over-edgers of the sewing machines.

Below is a copy of the patent that Charles Miller patented in 1854:
No. 10,609.—Charles Miller.—Improvement in Sewing Machines.— Patented March 7, 1854.
This invention relates to the adaptation of the cloth, or other material to be sewed, to receive what are termed the button-hole stitch, the whip-stitch, and the herring-bone stitch; and consists in giving the cloth, or other material to be sewed, a movement laterally to the direction of the seam, and in opposite directions alternately between every two stitches, in addition to the movement commonly given in the direction of the seam.

Claim.—Giving the cloth, or material being sewed, a movement laterally to the direction of the seam, between the successive stitches, or interlacings of the needle and shuttle-threads, for the purpose of receiving different kinds of stitches or seams.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Scarlet Summer Squash

One of my favorite vegetables is Summer Squash (Yellow), so I researched how it was prepared in the 19th century. The only recipes I found were for frying it. Personally, I've never had it fried. I like it steamed and served with salt and butter. However, I also enjoy the summer squash casserole I've had a various church dinners.

While I was searching for summer squash information I found this unique post:
"The scarlet summer squash is a new and beautiful flat variety, from France, of the acorn species, of a fine scarlet colour." Taken from The Farmer's and Planter's Encyclopedia of rural affairs ©1851.

Of the five books that reference Scarlet Summer Squash they basically repeated the sentence above. The earliest date was from 1841, the latest 1860.

My best guess is the vegetable is no longer in production. However, it would be interesting to find other references from local historical societies that explore the various crops raised in their areas. This will be one of those backseat topics. One that I will continue to note while researching other sources.

This Scarlet squash does have me curious. How did it taste? How well did it grow? Was the color a turn off? Or did this squash not reproduce well? How similar in taste is it to summer squash? Research! You can get lost in it.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Handtools

My dad has a great collection of antique hand tools. Someday I hope to photograph them. Which brings me to today's post. It is a simple one giving you a link to another source. Handtools were an important part of our characters lives in the 19th century. Below is a link to the Davistown Museum page on Handtools. There is a good size list of various companies which are hyperlinked to individuals pages with information about the company and the products they produced. Further research can be done by looking for individual images for the company and the tool in question from other search engines on the internet.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

1884 Simple Interest Rates

From Houghtaling's Handbook of Useful Information ©1884

Simple Interest Bales.
FOUR FER CENT.—Multiply the principal by the number of days to run; separate the right hand figure from the product and divide by 9.
FIVE PER CENT.—Multiply by number of days and divide by 72,
SIX PER CENT.—Multiply by number of days; separate right hand figure, and divide Dy 6.
SEVEN AND THREE-TENTHS PER CENT.—Multiply by number of days, and double the amount so obtained. On $1(X> the interest is just two cents per day.
EIGHT PER CENT.—Multiply by number of days, and divide by 45.
NINE PER CENT.—Multiply by number of days; separate right hand figure, and divide by 4.
TEN PER CENT.—Multiply by number of days, and divide by 36.
TWELVE PER CENT.—Multiply by number of days; separate right hand figure, and divide by 3.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

1884 List of Legal Holidays in the United States

This list comes from Houghtaling's Handbook of Useful Information ©1884

Legal Holidays in the United States
FOURTH OF JULY—In all the States and Territories.
CHRISTMAS DAY—Dee. 25—in all the States and Territories.
THANKSGIVING DAY—(usually the last Thursday in Nov.) whenever appointed by the President of the United States, or Governors of the States—in all the States and Territories.
FAST DAYS—whenever appointed by the President of the United States, or by the Governors—in all the States.
NEW YEAR9S DAY—Jan. 1—in all States except Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island and South Carolina.
WASHINGTON9S BIRTHDAY—Feb. 22—in all States except Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas.
GENERAL ELECTION DAY—(usually on Tuesday after the first Monday in November)—in California, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Carolina an l Wisconsin.
DECORATION DAY—May 80—in Colorado, Connecticut,Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, New .leruey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
GOOD FRIDAY—Friday before Easter Sunday—in Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the full moon, which happens on or after March 21st. If full moon happens on Sunday, Easier Sunday is the Sundaj thereafter.
SHROVE TUESDAY—the Tuesday preceedIng the first day of Lent—in Louisiana, and the cities of Selma, Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama.
MEMORIAL DAY—April 26—in Georgia.
MARCH 2—Anniversary of the Independence of Texas, In Texas.
APRIL 21—Anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, in Texas. JANUARY 8—Anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans,fought in 1815, in Louisiana.
FEBRUARY 12—Lincolu9s Birthday, in Louisiana.
MARCH 4—Firemen9s Anniversary, In Louisiana

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sinking John L. Avery

Disasters add conflict to a story and conflict is necessary to keep your reader turning the pages. Below is a real life account of the Sinking of the John L. Avery. The account gives the basics about the situation but there are gems in this account for me to learn from with regard to 'writing" and 'creating" a disaster for my characters. Such as, how many people were affected, the actual physical descriptions of the boat and the process of sinking. How the captain reacted, the passengers, etc. Enjoy.

The J. L. Avery, J. L. Robertson commander, was a new boat, built in the most substantial manner, and furnished with every necessary equipment for a first class passenger boat, being designed as a regular packet between New Orleans and Natchex. She left New Orleans, on her customary trip up the river, on March 7th, 1854. She stopped at Point Coupee and took in a large quantity of sugar and molasses; and on the 9th of the same month she passed the steamer Sultana, off Black Hawk point, forty miles below Natchez; and having left the Sultana, (with which she appears to have been racing,) about a mile astern, she struck what was supposed to be a tree washed from the shore by a recent freshet. A very large leak in the bottom of the boat was the consequence of this accident, and although the pilot immediately steered for the shore, the steamer sunk before she could get near enough to land the passengers. Mr. J. Y. Guthrie, an engineer, and the carpenter, were standing just forward of the boilers when they heard the crash—the boat at the same time making a sudden surge to one side. The carpenter immediately lifted the scuttle-hatch and leaped into the hold, but finding the water pouring in too fast to admit of any attempt at repairing the damage, he made haste to get out again, at the same time giving notice to the engineer that the boat had nagged. Mr. Guthrie, perceiving that the boat was going down, hastened to the engine, but before he got there, he was up to his knees in water. The cabin passengers were hurried up to the hurricane-deck. Soon after, the boat righted, and the hull separated from the cabin and sunk in sixty feet of water.

As the hull parted from the upper works, the surging of the waters caused the cabin floor to rise up against the hurricane roof, and six persons who remained in the cabin were dragged out through the skylights by Capt. Robertson and his two clerks. Mrs. Parmin, one of the six passengers rescued from that perilous situation, had her eldest child in her arms at the time, and was with difficulty prevented from plunging in again, as her babe was left asleep on the bed. But the situation of the deck passengers was the most calamitous; there was a large number of them crowded in their allotted place, where they were walled in by hogsheads of sugar, which would have prevented their escape, if escape had been otherwise possible. These unfortunate people were nearly all drowned.

There were many Irish emigrants on board, whose names were unregistered, and there is a great deal of uncertainty respecting the number of those who perished. Eye-witnesses testify that a large number of men, women and children could be seen drowning at one time. Of the twenty firemen on board, twelve were drowned. The second mate and another person launched the life-boat, but it was almost itnmedidiately upset, probably by the eager and ill-directed efforts of tho drowning people to get into it. The steamer Sultana, with which the Avery had been racing, promptly camo to the rescuo of the drowning crew and passengers, and was the means of saving some of them; but the number lost is believed to be at least eighty or ninety.

Mrs. Seymour, one of the cabin passengers who escaped, relates the following incidents of the wreck: party accounted for by stating that some unusual means had been used to get up extra steam, as the officers of the Avery were resolved to outrun the rival steamer, Sultana. Mrs. Seymour had retired to her state room for an afternoon nap, from which she was aroused by the concussion when the boat struck; and soon after, she found herself in the water. She was drawn up into the floating cabin by one of the waiters, named John Anderson, who, as Mrs. Seymour testifies, was instrumental in saving the lives of several other passengers. She states that her pocket-book, containing nine hundred dollars, which had been placed under her pillow, was lost. She also lost a manuscript which she was preparing for the press, and which she valued still more highly than her pocket-book.

Mrs. Seymour continues :—I cast my eyes upon the water, which was covered with fragments of the cabin. To these frail supports human hands were clinging, while many human voices were crying, "Save me ! oh, save me!" The water at first was dotted with human heads, sinking and rising, and then sinking to rise no more. A sudden splash drew my attention to the side of the boat, and I saw that a young lady, who had been drawn from the inundated cabin through the sky-light and placed in safety on the floating deck, in the delirium of the moment had plunged again into the water, from which she never again emerged. Several others followed her example, but appearing again on the surface, they were rescued by the waiter Anderson and two or three others of the boat's crew, who never slackened in their efforts to save human life. Two or three gentlemen leaped into the water and swam to land. A fine Texan poney, belonging to Mrs. Emerson, escaped from the deck, and endeavored to save himself by swimming. He reached the shore, but not being able to climb the bank, he fell back into the water and was drowned. In a faint but earnest tone, I heard a female voice say, " Oh, William, do save her!" On directing my gaze to the place from whence the voice came, I saw a woman sinking in the river. At the same time a child's voice exclaimed, "Oh, mother, he cannot save me!" I saw her fair hair, all wet, fall back from her young face as her little arms loosened their grasp on the neck of her brother, and the mother and her two children sank together.
Source: Fifty Years on the Mississippi ©1889

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sugar Beets

Below are some items of possible interest if you're looking for something a bit different in your story. The source for this information comes from "The Sugar-Beet Industry: by Harvey Washington Wiley ©1890. The author does state in his introduction that previous reports have been written on the Sugar Beet industry but were now out of print.

Some of the best places to grow sugar beets are: Coast Valleys of California, Coastal areas in Oregon & Washington, Certain parts of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michican, Northern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and New York.
Other states that have raised sugar beets are: New England, New Jersey, Delaware and Kansas.

Some reports indicate that summers are too hot in Kansas to have a high percentage of sugar.

For 25 years many attempts have been made to introduce the beet sugar industry into the United States.

Factories locations: Maine, Massachusetts, Delaware, Illinois and California financially disasterous with two exceptions One in Alvarado, California the other Watsonville, California.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Personal Hygiene 1880

I was reading through "Home Nursing, and how to help in cases of Accident" by Samuel Benton ©1880 and came across this informative chapter on personal hygiene. I've highlighted a couple of paragraphs that I can see myself taking advantage of in building conflict between characters. Enjoy!

In re-papering a room always take care to have the old paper removed; fancy living or sleeping in a room, as many people do, with the wall papers four or five deep, each one with the exhalations of a generation in process of decomposition. A separate bed should be provided for everyone in the house. Especially should children be prohibited from sleeping together, contaminating each other with their excretions from lungs and skin; it is even worse for a child habitually to sleep with a grown-up person, they only become pale and consumptive. Before getting into bed do not leave your day wearing apparel folded up in a heap, but separate each article so that it may be aired, especially those articles worn nearest the skin.

Under-linen and flannel should be changed at least twice a week; never wear any under-garment by day which is used at night. Always throw back the bedding, and expose it, especially the blankets, to fresh air and sunlight in getting up in the morning. Never fold up a nightshirt, but hang it on a peg to air, or spread it on the back of a chair.

Boys and girls, if left to dress themselves, will usually get out of bed, jump into their clothes, sponge their face and hands, and come down stairs. Children should be taught how to wash all over with soap and water, and rub themselves dry with a rough towel.

Tight-fitting clothes over the chest and round the waist must be prohibited.

Use stocking suspenders in preference to garters, but if the latter are used, always wear them above the knee; when garters are put on below the knee they hinder the venous current of blood towards the heart, and so engender swollen legs, varicose veins and ulcers. High-heeled boots and shoes alter the perpendicular line of the body, and cause fatigue, pain and deformity, also tight boots are a great mistake; to avoid corns and bunions wear boots which allow plenty of room for the toes, and for walking have thick firm soles.

It need only be mentioned with respect to corsets and tight stays, that these things should not be worn. Young growing girls should be encouraged to practise gymnastics on a small scale; it strengthens the spinal and other muscles, also increases the chest capacity. A trapeze and parallel bars can be erected in a dressing room or nursery, and dumb-bells supplied, at a very small cost.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Planting Corn

For most of our characters in the 19th century they enjoyed and needed to plant their own food. Corn was a staple in most homes and farms. Below are some brief tidbits about when to plant corn.

In a 1828 source it is recommended to plant corn on Long Island, NY from the 10th-20th of May.
In 1845 an individual began planting corn in April. Unfortunately it doesn't say where.
An 1854 also says from 10-25th of May.
In a 1895 source it recommends to plant corn when the white oak leaves are as big as a squirrel's foot or a mouse's ear. For New England and Middle states.

Of the various sources I read, most prepared the field by laying down the manurer a month before.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Etiquette & Manners

Etiquette & Manners is something often discussed on some of my of the writer loops I belong to as they pertain to the 19th century. Through Google books I've found a great source of books regarding such topics. Below is a list ordered by the year they were published. I've gathered this resource list over the past two years from Google Books. Hope it helps you in your search for proper behavior in the time period of your setting.

1832 Domestic Manners of the Americans
1835 Pencil Sketches
1837 The Young Lady's Friend
1839 Miss Leslie's Behavior Book
1842 Elegant Extracts
1843 Etiquette or, A Guide to The Usages of Society with a Glance at Bad Habits
1854 Etiquette Social Ethics and the Curtiousy of Society
1854 The Behavior Book
1860 The Gentlemen's Book of Etiquette and Manners
1860 The Hand Book of Etiquette
1866 Marine's Sensible Letter Writer
1868 Manners or Happy Homes
1870 Good Manners a Manual of Ediquette
1872 The Ladie's Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness
1873 The Gentlemen's Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness
1884 Don't: A Manual of Mistakes and Improprieties More or Less
1888 Manners
1889 American Etiquette and Rules of Politeness
1889 Perfect Etiquette or How to Behave in social...
1892 Etiquette An Answer to the Riddle, When? Where? How?
1896 Social Etiquette or Manners and Customs of Polite Society
1897 Manners for Men
1897 Practical Letter Writing
1899 Twenty Letters in Letter Writing and Business