Eyebrow Pomade 1904

31 Jul


Eyebrow pomade




Cosmetics American Womans Home 1869


DeSalis, Harriet A., Wrinkles and Notions for Every Household. London: Longmans, Green and Co., London. 1904. Print.

Beecher, Catharine E. and Beecher-Stowe, Harriet. The American Woman’s Home. New York: JB Ford and Co., 1869. Print.

Encyclopaedia Britannica. Edinburgh: Bell and Macfarqhuar, 1797. Print. Digitized by Google.

Leo Men and Leo Women 1893

22 Jul

Leo major and mino

Leo Man

Vintage lion

Leo woman

lion tamer


Lupton, Frank M. The Mystic Oracle. New York: F. M. Lupton, 1893. Print. Digitized by Internet Archive.

Getting Out of Bed 1891

20 Jul

Sleeping Child

Barrie Dream Quote

Early Rising Facts and Hints

It may all come down to whether you want to be a productive member of society that day, or if it’s time to take a few moments to nourish your soul…you pick.


Cassell. Facts and Hints for Everyday Life. London: Cassell, Petter and Galpin, 1891. Print. Digitized by Google.

How to Make Cottage Cheese 1894

19 Jul

A promotion by the U.S. Department of Agriculture

I don’t have publication dates for the advertisements shown here, but a government agency promoting cottage cheese as a meat substitute suggests “War Time” to me.

Cottage Cheese recipe

Don’t let that sour milk go to waste! You can make stylish little cheeses in shaped molds, to be adorned by fresh fruits or served on salads! 

cottage cheese diet adThe ads, of course, came out decades later than the recipe was published (1894), but they are fun to look at.


Merrill, Mrs. C. H. Cookery Craft. St.Johnsbury, VT: Stone and Company, 1894. Print. Digitized by Google.

Cod Tongues and Sounds 1825-1902

18 Jul

Boiled Tongues

In 1825, Thomas Jefferson wrote to his adult granddaughter in Boston to ask that she be his agent in acquiring items unavailable at Monticello:

 “We should be very glad occasionally to get small supplies of the fine dumb cod-fish to be had at Boston, and also of the tongues and sounds of the cod. “

The dish was common on the Atlantic coast at the time, as it was with the Norwegians, the Basque, and the Newfoundlanders, through whom I finally discovered the meaning of “cod sounds”. Thanks to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English we are enlightened with this translation:

Sounds, in the natural state, comprise the gas-filled bladder running along the inside of the spinal columns [of the cod-fish]. It controls the fish’s [buoyancy]. Bearing a striking resemblance to tripe, sounds are normally sold salted and must be soaked over-night in fresh water before use.

fish organs

Below is a steamship menu from 1900 featuring tongues and sounds – for breakfast!



While researching this post, I came across a blog that does a wonderful job of demonstrating how to make the fried tongues mentioned later in the recipe above. She took great photos of the tongues before and after cooking:


There is so much more to be said about swim bladders and their place in the recipes we will explore that these little treasures will have their own post someday soon. Until then, remember this word: Isinglass.


Dictionary of Newfoundland English. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982. Print.

Rorer, Sarah Tyson. Mrs. Rorer’s New Cookbook. Philadelphia: Arnold and Company, 1902. Print.


Treating Sunburn in 1885

16 Jul




eca44fc34143b2b7_landing edited

Sunburn Treatment


A drachm (or dram) is equal to sixty grains or, more helpfully, one teaspoon.

Borax (sodium borate) is a mineral additive for boosting the power of your laundry soap, best known as the brand 20 Mule Team Borax. You can find some fun facts and historic video clips about Borax on the website: http://www.20muleteamlaundry.com. Borax had other uses in history, such as in glass-making, ceramics glazing, and goldsmithing. 

Roman alum (hydrated potassium aluminum sulfate) is essentially the same alum you may have in your spice cabinet. It was used  in Roman times for water filtration. Alum is still used as a styptic (to stop bleeding from shaving cuts) and has antiperspirant and anti-bacterial qualities. You may have seen it sold as an all-natural underarm deodorant in a  “crystal” form.

Strongly aromatic camphor is a pitch derived from certain trees of the Laurel family, mostly in Asia. Camphor emits fumes and is absorbed by the skin, producing a cooling effect similar to menthol when used topically. It can be ingested in small quantities (such as in Indian candies) but is toxic in larger doses. The FDA has set a limit of 11% pure camphor for consumer goods. White camphor essential oil has minuscule amounts of pure camphor.

Sugar candy is simple hard candy of your choice, crushed to dissolve more readily. Maybe it’s purpose is  for visual or aromatic pleasantness? Maybe to compensate for the next ingredient:

Ox-gall is the bile of the ox or other cattle, often mixed with alcohol and used as a wetting agent. This aids other liquids (such as paints) in spreading evenly.

Got your ingredients assembled? Stir for 10 minutes 3-4 times a day for two weeks. When is goes clear, it is considered ready to be filtered through blotter paper and bottled.

So, you’ve got a sunburn remedy that takes two weeks to prepare. When was the last time you scheduled yourself a sunburn? Maybe this recipe was marked on the calendar to be made each year on May 15 or so, in order to be ready when needed.

This is a great example of how much more planning ahead was going on in the households of the 1800’s.



Cassell. Cassell’s Household Guide. London: Cassell, Petter, Galpin and Co., 1885. Print.

How to Make Fireworks in 1872

4 Jul


Independence Day celebrations in the 1800’s did not involve a surreptitious jaunt to the reservation for pre-packaged contraband. Celebratory explosions were created from scratch with all the grandeur and risk to personal safety that implies. Granted, it likely wasn’t the housewives that were cooking up the following recipes so much as the husbands, but you know he was sneaking funnels and spoons and such from the pantry, so we’ll count this as fair game. 






Fireworks Everyday Wants F


Youman, Alexander E. A Dictionary of Every-Day Wants. New York: Frank M. Reed, 1872. Print.