Friday, September 22, 2017

Arctic Expeditions

While searching a bit further on the 1852 Winter I came across this list of expeditions to the Artic. I was personally surprised to find the list dated back to 1848. It lists Ships, Captains, and deaths as well as how many days in Melville Bay.

Arctic Expeditions (from the Times, December 29, 1874).—"The following is a list of ships, comprising Government and Private Expeditions, British and Foreign, which have been on exploring service within the Arctic Circle since the Franklin Expedition sailed. It will be seen that the crews of all these vessels have returned in safety to their respective countries, with only such loss of life as might well have occurred had the men stayed at home :—
1. 1848 to 1849—H.m.'b ship Enterprise, Sir J. C. Ross. One winter, 26 days in Melville Bay.
2. 1848 to 1849.—H.M.'s ship Investigator, Captain Bird. One winter, 25 days in Melville Bay. Seven deaths (one officer) on board the Enterprise and Investigator.
3. 1849 to 1850.—H.M.'s ship North Star, Mr. Saunders. One winter, 57 days in Melville Bay. Four deaths.
4. 1849.—H.M.'s ship Plover, Captains Moore and Maguirc. Three winters. Three deaths.
6. 1850.—H.M's ship Enterprise, Captain Collinson. Three winters. Three deaths.
6. 1850.—H.M.'s ship Investigator, Captain M'Clure. Four winters. Six deaths (one officer).
7. 1850.—H.M.'s ship Resolute, Captain Austin. One winter, 45 days in Melville Bay. One death (accident).
8. 1850.—H.M.'s ship Assistance, Captain Ommanney. One winter, 45 days in Melville Bay. No death.
9. 1850.—H.M.'s ship Pioneer, Lieutenant Osborn. One winter. No death.
10. 1850.—H.M.'s «hip Intrepid, Lieutenant Cator. One winter. No death.
11. 1850.—Brig Lady Franklin, Captain Penny. One winter. No death.
12. 1850.—Brig Sophia, Captain Stewart. One winter. No death.
13. 1850.—Schooner Prince Albert, Captain Forsyth. Summer Cruise.
14. I860.—Schooner Felix, Sir John Ross and Captain Phillips. One winter. No death.
15. 1850.—Advance (American), Lieutenant Griffith. One winter drifting.
16. 1850.—Rescue (American), Lieutenant Dehaven. One winter drifting.
17. 1851.—Schooner Prince Albert, Mr. Kennedy. One winter. No death.
18. 1852.—H.M.'s ship Assistance, Sir E. Belcher. Two winters, 38 days in Melville Bay. No death.
19. 1852.—H.M.'s ship Resolute, Captain Kellett. Two winters, 38 days in Melville Bay. Six deaths.
20. 1852.—H.M.'s ship Pioneer, Commander OBborn. Two winters. No deaths.
21. 1852.—H.M.'s ship Intrepid, Lieutenant M'Clintock. Two winters. No death.
22. 1852.—H.M.'s ship North Star, Mr. Pullen. Two winters. 38 days in Melville Bay. Three deaths.
23. 1852.—Steamer Isabel, Captain Inglefield. No detention in Melville Bay; summer cruise.
24. 1853.—H.M's ship Phoenix, Captain Inglefield. Nine days in Melville Bay; summer cruise.
25. 1854.—H.M.'s ship Phojnix, Captain Inglefield. Took the pack—30 days; summer cruise.
26. 1854.—H.M.'s ship Talbot, Captain Jenkins. Summer cruise.
27. 1853.—Advance (American brig). Dr. Kane. Two winters. Took the pack—10 days.
28. 1857.—Steamer Fox, Captain M'Clintock. Two winters; first winter in pack, second season through in nine days. Three died.
29. 1850.—Schooner United States, Dr. Hayes. One winter, two days in Melville Bay. One death (accident).
30. 1871.—Steamer Poluris, Captain Hall. Twowinters; no detention in Melville Bay. One death.
31. 1873.—Steamer Juniata, Lieutenant Merriman. No detention in Melville Bay ; summer cruise.
32. 1873.—Steamer Tigress, Captain Green. Summer cruise.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

1851-1852 Weather

In a Report of the New Jersey Geological survey I stumbled upon this tidbit. It is amazing where you will find tiny tidbits that can help your story.

1852.—Winter of 1851-2, cold; mean temperatures of the months, 3° to 8° below the average; East river crossed on the ice January 30th, and for three days following; Susquehanna at Havre de Grace frozen over for seven weeks; cold and snows as far south as New Orleans and Jacksonville, Fla.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sea Voyage Gingerbread

This recipe comes from Miss Leslie's Lady's New Receipt book ©1850. It could be used by your characters when sending off their spouse, father, brother or sequestered away in the folds of her shirt to prevent sea-sickness, or better yet to hide the morning sickness your character might be expecting. Or what about some busybody seeing your character eating such treats and gossiping that she is pregnant. The list can go on and on. Enjoy playing with the idea of this kind of a recipe for your characters.

SEA-VOYAGE GINGERBREAD.—Sift two pounds of flour into a pan, and cut up in it a pound and a quarter of fresh butter; rub the butter well into the flour, and then mix in a pint of West India molasses and a pound of the best brown sugar. Beat eight eggs till very light. Stir into the beaten egg two glasses or a jill of brandy. Add also to the egg a teacup-full of ground ginger, and a table-spoonful of powdered cinnamon, with a tea-spoonful of soda melted in a little warm water. Wet the flour, &c., with this mixture till it becomes a soft dough. Sprinkle a little flour on your paste-board, and with a broad knife spread portions of the mixture thickly and smoothly upon it. The thickness must be equal all through; therefore spread it carefully and evenly, as the dough will be too soft to roll out. Then with the edge of a tumbler dipped in flour, cut it out into round cakes. Have ready square pans, slightly buttered ; lay the cakes in them sufficiently far apart to prevent their running into each other when baked. Set the pans into a brisk oven, and bake the cakes well, seeing that they do not burn.
You may cut them out small with the lid of a cannister (or something similar) the usual size of gingerbread nuts.
These cakes will keep during a long voyage, and are frequently carried to sea. Many persons find highly spiced gingerbread a preventive to sea-sickness.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Almond Cream Pudding

Okay this was a new recipe for me. Perhaps, some of you have heard of it and possibly have eaten it before and if that is so, let us know. On the other hand, this recipe is a lot of work and has items I've never heard about before (definitions of those are below the recipe) so many it isn't made any longer.

Below is a recipe from the Miss Ledlie's Lady's New Receipt Book ©1850

ALMOND CREAM.—Take a pound of shelled sweet almonds, and two ounces or more of shelled bitter almonds, or peach-kernels. Blanch them in scalding water, throwing them as you proceed into a bowl of cold water. Then pound them (one at a time) in a mortar, till each becomes a smooth paste; pouring in, as you proceed, a little rosewater to make the almonds white and light, and transferring the paste to a plate as you go on. Then when they are all done, mix the almonds with a quart of rich cream, and a quarter of a pound of powdered loaf-sugar. Add half a dozen blades of mace; put the mixture into a porcelain kettle, and boil it, slowly, stirring it frequently down to the bottom. Having given it one boil up, remove it from the fire, take out the mace, and when it has cooled a little, put the cream into glass cups, grating nutmeg over each. Serve it up quite cold. You may ornament each cup of this cream with white of egg, beaten to a stiff froth, and heaped on the top.

Loaf-Sugar it is sold in a solid block and is granulated. A tool such as a sugar nip was used to break off chunks of this sugar.

Blades of Mace: is the outer lacy looking shell of nutmeg. Ground mace which we all tend to be accustomed to today is made from this lacy scarlet-colored shell. Once the shell is dried fades to light brown.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Linen Weddings

This comes from the Ladies' Home Journal ©1893

MAY be celebrated twenty years from the "day of days " in a woman's life. It must be confessed that, although it furnishes an excellent opportunity for pretty presents in embroidered doilies and all manner of other napery, it is less suggestive to a hostess as a "theme" for an entertainment. A dinner, to which only intimate friends and the families of bride and groom are invited, seems more appropriate than any more ambitious observance of the day.
The invitations may be written on squares of linen in indelible ink and inclosed in envelopes of the same material. The elaborate folding of napkins is no longer in vogue, but the fashion might be revived on such an occasion when linen is to be made the prominent feature. Any pretty drawnwork or embroidered linen may be appropriately introduced. Napkins folded to represent a succession of scallop-shells or fans may surround and conceal the dish holding the flowers in the centre of the table. No flowers are so suitable for the occasion as the pretty blue blossoms of the flax plant, but they are hardly vivid enough by themselves to be effective, as the table is so severely white. Bright poppies and yellow-hearted daisies mingled among the blue flax make a charming centrepiece. Small squares of fine linen with fringed edges may be embroidered with the guests' names in blue or red (Kensington stitch) in bold English writing, and will answer very well for name-cards when made to adhere to squares of Bristol-board bymeans of a little flour paste.
Nothing makes a better surface for watercolor painting than linen, and imagination may run riot if the hostess be an artist. Upon every dish a round, fringed doily should be placed.
A really dainty flower-holder may be made by placing a slender thin glass tumbler in the centre of a round piece of fine linen, edged with lace an inch or two wide. This should be drawn up and plaited around the edge of the tumbler and tied with narrow ribbon in many loops. The lace stands out like a ruffle, making a border around the flowers.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hurricane Irma

Hi all,
Sorry for no new posts due to Hurricane Irma. We faired well with loss of power for less than 24 hours and no damage to our home. We are grateful to the Lord for our protection during this storm.
I hope to get some posts done tomorrow.
In His grip,

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

1895 Hair Dye

Here is an advertisement from an 1895 newspaper offering to wash that gray away. Okay, so it isn't actually that but I remember those old commercials. Hair Dye has been around for centuries.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Gig, A Flirting Girl

Below is an article I found in an 1899 Newspaper that I thought was interesting in terms of word use. We've discussed often on various writer loops the way certain words were in vogue at certain times and how they can have totally different meanings in other times. For example the gig. A gig concerning my research into 19th century Carriages & Wagons is a light, two wheeled carriage. Obviously it has another meaning as you can read from this article. Enjoy!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Crystal Wedding (Anniversary today)

This comes from the Ladies' Home Journal ©1893

THE fifteenth anniversary may be effectively celebrated by an '' afternoon tea" out-of-doors, if the "happy pair" be the fortunate possessors of a lawn and shade trees. A few little tables in sheltered nooks—and a larger one for the more important dishes—are suggestive of pleasure at first sight. In the centre of the large table I would place a cut-glass dish, holding a mass of red roses.
As one is confined to glass dishes for everything at a crystal wedding its lack of color is better supplemented by red flowers than those of other shades.
A glass dish or vase filled with roses, geraniums or carnations might ornament each of the little tables, for the lavish month of June is so prodigal of blossoms.
It is the custom in Russia to serve tea in very thin glasses, in preference to cups, and as it is taken with lemon, instead of cream, it is much more dainty in appearance. The Austrians also prefer glasses to cups for their coffee, and the habit once formed 110 cup seems thin enough. Any excuse to use glass is admissible. The lemonade and ices are, of-course, served in tumblers and glass saucers. Instead of sugar for the tea and coffee the crystals of white rock candy may be used, and are no mean substitute. A profusion of cut glass on the large table makes, of course, an attractive decoration in itself, but the pressed glass now imitates it very nearly and is wonderfully cheap.
Should a dinner be preferred every possible device for using glass should be taken advantage of.
A large piece of looking-glass bordered with red roses, or other flowers if desired, may be placed on the table, a glass bowl of flowers in the centre. If one be not fortunate enough to have inherited old fashioned glass candlesticks with long pendent prisms, ordinary glass ones are cheap and easily procured. The shades may have a fringe of cut-glass beads around them, that, catching the light, has a pretty, prismatic effect.
For name-cards small, round, beveled mirrors, three inches in diameter, may be easily inscribed with the names of the guests in any colored ink preferred. Wreaths of tiny blossoms painted along the edges would, of course, greatly enhance their beauty. Should these prove too expensive a simple white card, around the edges of which crystal beads are thickly sewed, forming a sort of a frame, may not be an unacceptable substitute.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Farm Land for sale 1874

Here's an ad from American Agriculturalist ©1874 encouraging farmers to go out and settle the west. The price was $10 per acre. You didn't have to pay for the first four years. You can pay the note off early. All enticing the farmer to come and settle Nebraska.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Crescent Bicycles

Last week I posted 5 ads for different types of bicycles. Below is a copy of an advertisement for Crescent Bicycles the prices reflect the costs of 1895. Note that I also saw a Monarch Bicycle ad reflecting higher costs of $85 to $100.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Horse Timers

For those of you who race horses this is probably nothing new but for me...well it caused me to pause and think...hmm, the perfect gift for the character who needs nothing. Or perhaps, it is a helpful gift for someone raising race horses. In either case it is an unusual tidbit. This comes from an ad in "The Rider & Driver" magazine ©1883.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Tin Weddings

This comes from Ladies' Home Journal ©1893

COMES with the tenth anniversary. If a dinner be given, the table may be made beautiful with pink roses and syringa placed in a bright new tin dish, in the centre. Four dishes, holding the pink and white bonbons, cakes, etc., may be set in the midst of tin rings (used for baking cakes in circular shape), the edges of the plates resting on those of the tins. These rings filled with roses and syringa will make pretty wreaths around each prominent dish. If a more elaborate decoration be desired any tinsmith can make a flowerholder in the form of the initial of the groom's name and that of the bride's maiden name—one to be placed at each end of the table.
The little round stands of twisted tin wire, made for the teapot, turned upside down and lined with pink laced papers, make dainty receptacles for salted almonds or small bonbons. If, as is now fashionable, small "individual " dishes are supplied for the almonds new heart-shaped "patty pans " will answer the purpose.
Cards of heavy Bristol-board, very lightly covered with mucilage, may be entirely enveloped in tin foil, and so smoothly that the artifice will not be suspected. The guests' names may be scratched upon the surface. A small tin funnel at each lady's place will make a pretty bouquet-holder.

Another post: In this one you'll find some suggested gifts for the 10th anniversary as well.
A Tin Wedding Day (5°» S. vi. 307) is the tenth anniversary of the happy day. "Cards" are sent out, made of tin, on which is printed a suitable inscription, and, by the way, for the benefit of all printers, I will say this should be done with a rubber stereotype, because type-metal will indent the tin. The inscription gives the year of the marriage and the current year, and, leaving out of view the material, is much like any "at home" card. Each guest is expected to bring a present which must be partly or wholly of tin, and may be a tin drinking cup worth twopence, or a costly piece of lace in an old tin mustard box. Dealers in tin ware prepare articles, assimilated in shape to wearing apparel, laundry utensils, or furniture, utterly useless, of course, and only intended to cause merriment. Fancy a broad brimmed hat or a flat iron made of tin, or a writing desk made of the same material. At a tin wedding I recently attended, a guest brought a tin pail, filled with lemonade, and a silver ladle to serve the beverage. Another brought a fog horn, such as the fishing schooners use on the high seas, in thick weather, to give warning of their presence, and avoid collision with other vessels. Its note is an exceedingly low c, so low that, after one solo on it, the hearer would be glad to see it so low in the sea that none would ever see it again. The tin wedding is an excellent occasion for the renewal of the kitchen tins, while it affords much merriment by the ludicrous offerings which are sometimes made. Like many other good things, it may be "run into the ground," or, as Dr. Johnson would say, become so vulgar and trite as to deserve the reprehension of all. John E. Norcross. Brooklyn, U.S.
Source: Notes & Queries ©1876

Below is a poem written by Alice Holmes ©1868
A Tin Wedding.
We hail your Tin wedding with eager delight,
And join the glad circle that greets you to-night;
And call back the moments we saw you with pride,
At Hymen's fair altar, made bridegroom and bride.

The pure cup of pleasure, unmingled with tears,
Hath flown for you sweetly these ten sunny years.
And strewn with bright roses your pathwhy hath been,
While joy crowned your labors again and again.

And smiling with plenty your garners are stored,
And bright is the future your prospects afford,
When buds ye are training in beauty shall bloom,
And love's sweetest halo the light of your home.

And while your new nuptials we now must begin,
We bring you in friendship some presents of Tin ;
And when their bright lustre by time is defaced,
With silver untarnished we'll have them replaced ;

And keep your Third wedding with high merry glee,
And hope that the Fourth one all golden may be.
And when for another the time rolls around,
With diamonds most brilliant, oh! may ye be crowned ;

And bright wreaths of honor around you be twined,
And friendship unfading your hearts ever bind.
With fast fleeting years may your pleasures increase,
And life's ripened harvest be gathered in peace.

Friday, September 1, 2017

1853 Fares

I stumbled on this while working on my 19th Century Carriages & Wagons Resource Book. Below is a list of fares published in Disturnell's American & European Railroad & Steamship Guide ©1853.

Coach fare, with baggage, 25 cents
Coach and Cab fare, with baggage, 25 cents
Carman's fees, 25 cents
Porter's fees, 18 ½ cents
Coach fare,* with baggage, 50 cents
Porter's fees, 25 cents
Coach fare, with baggage 50 cents
Porter's fees, 25 cents
Coach fare, with baggage. . . 25 cents
(CT For further information, see the laws relating to Hackney Coaches, &c., which can usually be found in the carriages, as required by law.
* The law allows 50 cents for one or two passengers.
N. B. The best mode to reduce the coach fare in Philadelphia and Baltimore, where it is too high, is not to employ them at present rates.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Superior Muffins

It's been a while since I've had some recipes and I stumbled on this while searching for ways to stay cool in the summer. I hope you enjoy.

Superior Muffins. 1 quart of flour. 1 teaspoonful of salt. 1 tablespoonful of white sugar.
Rub in one heaping tablespoonful of butter and lard mixed, and one tablespoonful of Irish potato, mashed free from lumps.

Pour in three well beaten eggs and a half teacup of yeast. Make into a soft dough with warm water in winter and cold in summer. Knead well for half an hour. Set to rise where it will be milk-warm, in winter, and cool in summer. If wanted for an eight o'clock winter breakfast, make up at eight o'clock the night before. At six o'clock in the morning, make out into round balls (without kneading again), and drop into snow-ball moulds that have been well greased. Take care also to grease the hands and pass them over the tops of the muffins. Set them in a warm place for two hours and then bake.

These are the best muffins I ever ate.—Mrs. 8. T.
Source: Housekeeping in Old Virginia ©1879

PS Remember a teacup is one cup, so she's suggesting 1/2 cup of yeast.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


We are all aware but I admit I haven't seen too many bicycles in fiction. Below are some examples of bicycles being advertised in The Ladies' Home Journal ©June 1894. All of the ads below were found on a single page in the magazine. Take a look at the Hickory Bicycle ad, the wheels were made of wood, which after a moment of thought on the matter, made sense since wagon wheels were also made of wood. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Wooden Weddings

This was a new one for me, I hope you enjoy it too. It comes from Ladies' Home Journal ©1893

THE WOODEN WEDDING ""THE first milestone—after five years of * married life—when the young wife speaks of herself as "an old married woman," is called the " wooden wedding."

A cozy little dinner, to which those who were the bridesmaids and groomsmen are bidden, with a few intimate friends, is usually the favorite form of entertainment. Note-paper may be had, resembling birchbark, which is suitable for the invitations.

The dining-room may be made to look as "woodsy" as possible with roping of evergreen and verdure of any sort. The introduction of "Christmas trees" into the room adds much to the sylvan effect. They are to be had almost for the asking in summer.

A box made of twigs holding ferns makes an appropriate centrepiece for the table, and the cheapest wooden dishes lined with ferns will hold the bonbons and cakes quite acceptably. At each lady's place a little toy bucket or pail—the staves alternately of dark and light wood—will make a very pretty receptacle for the flowers. Wild flowers of all colors, those growing in the woods, are appropriate and plentiful in June. The city florists are always in communication with persons who can supply them when they are ordered. The little pails have the additional advantage that they may hold a little water, for wild flowers wither so quickly. The wire handles should be bound with ribbon and tied with bows.

The name-cards of real birch-bark should have at the top the date of the marriage and the present date, and under these the guests' names all written in dark green ink. On the reverse side of the one given to the bride her husband might write the summing up of all wifely duties, quoted from the famous game of '' oats, peas and beans ":
"Now, you're married, you must obey,
You must be true to all you say;
You must be loving, kind and good—
And help your husband chop the wood."

While the groom may be reminded of his responsibilities in the same vein, changing the first line—
"Now, you're married, this happy day,"
and the last—
"And keep your wife in kindling wood."
The candle shades may be bought very cheaply of plain white crimped paper, decorated with bits of evergreen. The colors of the flowers should be repeated in the bonbons and cakes, the green background of ferns harmonizing all shades.

The bride should wear her wedding dress. The more old-fashioned it be the more interesting.
Source: The Ladies' Home Journal ©1893

Monday, August 28, 2017

How to Keep Cool

For today's tidbit I'm sharing some of the various ways I've come across during the later part of the 19th century, to keep cool.

Another New York bookseller, who has been interviewed on the subject of keeping a store cool in summer, claims that it can be done if proper measures of precaution are taken.
"For example,*' he says, "I have a transom over my door that I leave open every night; also the top of the back window. This gives a draft of cool air during the night, and I find it cool in the morning. I also follow the trail of the sun, and in the hot days in summer see that it never gets into my store."
"All the cleaning that is done in my place of business is done between six and seven in the morning. This gets the store in trim for the day's work. In order to keep out flies the store should always be darkened and, above all, the atmosphere pure. Flies and other insects will only come when the air is bad. Care should always be taken to place everything out of the way that will attract them. If possible, do not permit any eating or cooking in your store during the hot months. If you do, then place all your stock under covers, for flies and other insects will play havoc with it."
There are electric fans and other machine devices to cool stores, but for the small city and town bookseller the above is simple and low in price.
Source: The Bookseller and Newsman ©1896

How to Keep Cool in Summer.—In summer we should eat less meat and less food than in winter. Usually our appetite is not so good in summer as it is in winter, and naturally, therefore, we take less food, and we should wear light clothing. Everything we do during the warm parts of the summer days we should do slowly and should not hurry. We should not walk much in the sun without being shaded.
How the Body is Kept Cool in Summer.—It would seem difficult to prevent the body from being overheated in summer when the air around us is so warm; and you might wonder, too, why it is that the blood of a locomotive engineer, or of a cook, who is in front of a hot fire all day long, is no warmer than that of persons who can keep cool. There are two ways in which the bodily heat is prevented from rising above 98 degrees when persons must be near furnaces and fires or are otherwise exposed to the heat.
Both methods depend upon the fact that whenever moisture or water leaves any surface it makes that surface cold; that is, it takes some of the heat of that surface with it. In India, the drinking-water is cooled by placing it in porous clay

In this way our blood does not get any warmer in summer than in winter. For in summer more moisture leaves the body than in winter. Moisture leaves the body in two ways: By the lungs and by the skin. We breathe more rapidly in summer than in winter, especially if it is very warm, and in this way, more moisture is given off to the air from the blood passing through the lungs. Then again, the expired air contains more moisture in summer.
Perspiration.—The moisture which passes off by the skin is called perspiration. This is taking place constantly through the pores, but in summer so much passes off that it collects in drops and is then called visible or sensible perspiration.
Ice-water in Summer.—There is no objection to ice-water in summer if you do not drink too much, and if you take but a little at a time. Some people get into the habit of drinking ice-water constantly. This is very unhealthy and will make them suffer. But if it be remembered to drink it slowly and only a little at a time, it will not usually do any harm.
Source: May's Anatomy, Physiology and ©1899

YOU will never look cool in summer unless you learn to arrange your hair properly—that is to say, to bid good-by to the heavy bang which is on your forehead, and which will, after a few hours, look frowzy and become uncurled. Draw part of this back and pin it down with small lace hairpins, and have the very shortest fringe possible, if, indeed, you wear one at all. If your forehead is low and broad you can say farewell to the bang, and parting your hair in the centre draw it back in the neatest way possible. Instead of the soft, full loops that retained their position during the winter, braid your back hair and pin it closely to your head. This done one's coiffure will be neat all the day long, and if you have a well-shaped head it will bring out its outlines to perfection. I do not want any girl to think that I wish her to lose her good looks, and if she doesn't look well with her hair parted then let her elect to wear it rolled off her forehead, or if she has a very high forehead then she must have a short fringe or bang, with the ends just turned to soften her face. Do not wear fancy pins or ribbons during the day. In the evening, though, it is quite proper for you to put among your locks anything that you may choose. By-the-by, it must be remembered that I am talking now to the busy girl who wants to look her best in the summer time, and who yet has not the half hours in which to rest, and who cannot wear dainty house dresses, as does the girl who has no occupation in the outside world.
Source: Ladies' Home Journal ©1893

Friday, August 25, 2017

Electric Lamps / Lights

Yesterday I posted about the early part of the 19th century and specifically the oil lamps. In addition to oil lamps there were gas lights and electric lights. Below is an outline of the history of electric lamps throughout the century.

1801 First electric arc lamp was invented in England by Sir Humphrey Davy.
1854 First true lightbulb invented by Henricg Globel of Germany
1857 Fluorescent lamp was introduced in France by A.E. Becquerel
1875 Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans patented a lightbulb.
1879 Thomas Edison improved the incandescent light
1880 Edison's patent was granted.

Practically speaking you won't have electric lamps in the homes of your characters set prior to the 1880's. Another interesting texture to oil and gas lamps is the smell, keep that in mind when writing as well. Remember to use the five senses when describing what your characters are experiencing.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


I thought I'd post a simple item on lamps but my, oh, my, there is a lot to say about lamps during the 19th century. So, as time goes by I'll be posting more on lamps. But for now, here's a taste into the world of lamps.

Encyclopedia Britannica ©1824 has this to say. The link brings you to Google books and should bring you to the page. The article starts on page 207.

At the beginning of the 19th century lamps were primarily oil lamps of some sort. Argand lamps were developed during the last quarter of the 18th century. The Argand lamp included a burner and a chimney. The reservoir was on the bottom then the wick was feed into the oil.

We have a variety of oil lamps developed with this simple system during the early part of the 19th century. As the Victorian era came into vogue the lamps became more fashionable. In other words, the more elaborate the lamp the more your wealth and good taste showed to those around you. That did not negate the need for practical lighting.

Below are two images from the 1890 Encyclopedia Britannica. The first is a reading lamp. Generally as writers we might have a tendency to think in only table top lamps. But these reading lamps could stand on the floor or be mounted to a wall. The second image is of an 1838 invention by M. Franchot called the moderator lamp. This helped to pull the oil up to the end of the wick for a brighter flame.
A further invention of the flat wick was developed in the image below. In an 1865 patent Messgrs. Hinks claimed it could have two or more flat flames.
The other key ingredient for these lamps was the oil. We've all read and heard about the whaling industry and how whale oil was the best oil for burning. Animal and Vegetable oil were the first oils used. Mineral oil began being used in the 1830's, specifically because of the invention of the moderator lamps. Another names for these lamps is "Camphine, Vesta and Paragon lamps. They light given off by these lamps were brighter and less smokey. However they produced soot-flakes which made people nervous about them being more dangerous.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

1896 Mean Temperatures for the United States

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Single Shot Pistols 1888

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 21, 2017

Winter Gardening

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

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

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

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

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

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

. . .

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

Friday, August 18, 2017

Chair & Chaise Carriages

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

1857 Fabric Advertisement

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Different Buggy Topper

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

1842 Bankruptcy

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

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

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

1842 Fall Clothing Line

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

1842 Fall Clothing Line

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

Friday, August 11, 2017

1842 Hat Prices

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mourning Clothing

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Silly Goose and Other Expressions

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

1869 Advertising

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

Here's the Ad:

Monday, August 7, 2017

1855 Portable Oven

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

Below is the ad with a picture of the item:

Friday, August 4, 2017

House Movers

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

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

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

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sesame Oil

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

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

Was often mixed with Olive oil. Various sources

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Clip Boards of the 19th Century called Letter-Clips

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

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

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

Monday, July 31, 2017

Big Bonanza

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 28, 2017

1851 Pistol Gallery

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

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Western Travel 1851

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

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

1862 Adjustable Handcuffs

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rattle Root - Black Cohash

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

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

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

Monday, July 24, 2017

Chocolate Cake

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

1837 Stoves

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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lost Horse

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Poplar Indian Medicine Herbal

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

1867 Costs in Montana

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

Monday, July 17, 2017

Children's Games

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

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

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