If It's Fiber...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

My older sister gave this book to me over our Christmas weekend. The book is completely falling apart (at some point someone duct taped the binding together) and about as brittle as can be. But it is great. I will need to scan it in so that I can really take the time to go through it. The pages crumble as you handle them. (Make sure to click on the picture to get a closer look.)
The copyright is 1890. It has so many recipes for food, but what I am enjoying most are the instructions in the second part of the book, the part entitled "The Book of Knowledge: or 1000 ways of getting rich". The first section of this part is "Secrets of the Liquor Trade." There are recipes for all kinds of homemade alcoholic concoctions, and how to repair your leaky cans and bungs. It goes on with different sections covering everything from the druggists department to toiletry and perfume, to ways to save money around the household.
My favorite one I have found so far is this one from the "Manufacturer's Department":
"Magic Copying Paper. - To make black paper, lamp-black mixed with cold lard; red paper, Venetian red mixed with lard; blue paper, Prussian blue mixed with lard; green paper, Chrome green mixed with lard. The above ingredients to be mixed to the consistency of thick paste, and to be applied to the paper with a rag. Then take a flannel rag, and rub until all color ceases coming off. Cut your sheet four inches wide and three inches long; put four sheets together, one of each color, and sell for twenty-five cents per package. The first cost will not exceed three cents.
Directions for writing with this paper: Lay down your paper upon which you wish to write; then lay on the copying paper, and over this lay any scrap of paper you chose; then take any hard pointed substance and write as you would with a pen."

I just love it. Phrases like "upon which you wish to write" you just don't hear anymore. And, I mean, copy paper. Remember back in the day in elementary school when we had carbon copies? All of those layers and the messy carbons? It reminds me of all of that. I especially like the multiple colors and the suggestions on how to sell it.
As I go through this book more, I may post other items that I find interesting. I noticed there is a whole section on dyes for cloth.


  • That is fascinating--I think it's why I love to read old literature--you learn so many things that are lost to our culture today. Just popping through on Stashalong check.

    By Blogger Kim, at 5:12 PM  

  • What a great gift, I love old books like that.

    By Blogger Ginger, at 12:15 AM  

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