fredag 19 november 2010


I'll be back when my Internet problems are solved.

tisdag 16 november 2010


Benjamin Franklin, born in Boston in 1706, when a boy laid down certain rules of conduct which he always followed. He made up his mind to be temperate, orderly, frugal, and industrious. When ten years old, he cut wicks for candles, minded the shop, and ran errands for his father, who was a tallow-chandler.

He did not, however, neglect his books, for he tells us, "I do not remember when I could not read." Though no boy ever worked harder, he was fond of manly sports, and was an expert swimmer. Not liking the tallow-chandlery business, his father apprenticed him to a printer. This was precisely the kind of work which suited Franklin. When hardly eighteen years old, he was sent to England to buy printing material, and to improve himself in his trade. As a printer in London, a very young man, entirely his own master, with no friends to control him, surrounded by temptations, those rules which he had fixed upon early in life were of singular benefit to him. Returning to America in 1726, in time he opened a modest printing-house in Philadelphia. Industry, honesty, and good work made him successful. He became member of the Assembly, Postmaster, and during the Revolution, while in France, induced that country to espouse our cause. If to-day the world has to thank Americans for making electricity their servant, Benjamin Franklin first discovered its most marked qualities. With a kite he brought down the spark from heaven to earth, and held it under control. Franklin died, honored by all his countrymen, in 1790.

When a lad, hungry and tired, he landed in Philadelphia with a dollar in his pocket, he bought some bread, and marched through the streets munching his crust. He happened to see a young lady, a Miss Read, at the door of her father's house. He made up his mind then and there that he would marry her; and so in time he did. Strangely enough, that exact part of New York from whence Harper's Young People is issued is called Franklin Square.

måndag 15 november 2010


Little David came running home from school one winter afternoon. As he passed through the yard, he saw the door of the cellar-kitchen standing open, and heard some one down in the cellar, pounding, thump, thump, thump.

Little David ran down the steps to see who it was.

He saw a great blazing fire in the wide fireplace, and three big pots hanging on the crane over it; and his mamma, Leah, Jane, and Aunt Jinny, making sausages; and John Bigbee, the colored boy, with a wooden mortar between his knees, and an iron-pestle in his hand, pounding, thump, thump, thump, in the mortar.

Little David ran to John, and asked, "What's in there?" but did not wait for an answer. He drew in his breath as hard as he could, and blew into the mortar with all his might.

A cloud of fine black pepper flew up into his mouth, nose, and eyes. How he did sneeze and strangle and cry!

Leah ran for a basin of cold water. His mamma got a soft linen cloth, and washed away all the pepper and most of the pain.

When he stopped crying, she said, "Little David, don't meddle."

D. D. H

söndag 14 november 2010


Electric Hair-Dryer.—This is an idea that will find favor with all women who have long hair and dread the long, tedious process of drying, and the misery and tangles that are a part of the first combing after the hair is dry.

It is an electric hair-dryer, partly comb and partly brush. It is connected with an electric wire which heats a sliding plate in the inside. The dryer is passed over the hair, smoothing it and removing the tangles, and drying it at the same time by means of the heated plate inside.

It can be easily adapted to every house where electricity is used, as a small wire attached to the lights will do the work required.

The hair-dryer is carefully insulated, and there is no danger of the user receiving an electric shock.

The dryer should become a favorite toilet article. The softness and silkiness of the hair is greatly enhanced by constant washing, and yet there are many women to whom the dangling of damp locks means a sure cold in the head and sore throat.

Hammer.—Any one who has tried to pull nails with the claw of a hammer will appreciate this little device which has just been patented.

The claw end of the hammer is provided with a number of grooves, into which a little bar fits and locks.

'When you go to draw a nail, instead of the half-dozen hit-or-miss slips that are the usual fate of such attempts, the bar falls down in front of the nail as the claw grips it from the back. The nail is held in a vise and must come out willy-nilly.
This new hammer is likely to save amateur carpenters more worry and wounded fingers than any contemporary invention.

lördag 13 november 2010

Poor Pussy

t was early morning, near eight of the clock,
And all might hear the milkman's knock,
When a wandering stranger strolled the street,
Well clad in fur, but with nothing to eat.
................................ Poor Pussy!
She had passed by the houses of ladies in silk,
But no response to her quest for milk,
And while beginning to feel "dead beat,"
The passers by she would entreat.
............................... Poor Pussy!

No food whate'er could Pussy buy,
And travellers passed her. I'll tell you why:
They thought, of course, "It's only a cat,
And nothing much to be marvelled at."
.................................. Poor Pussy!
In vain, dear Puss, was thy appeal,
No hammer could reach those hearts of steel,
And in this world, so full of strife,
A plaintive mew won't save a life.
.................................. Poor Pussy!
Ill did it seem thy tabby grace,
The woes of London streets to face,
Cold glances, or a kick for thy fur,
And none to list to thy murmuring purr.
............................. . Poor Pussy!
But pussy, strolling down the street,
Chanced a child's kind glance to meet,
And soon her troubles all were passed,
And love and plenty came at last
................................ To Pussy.

From Little Folks (November 1884), A Magazine for the Young

torsdag 11 november 2010

onsdag 10 november 2010


POLO STICK.—Our boys should be interested in this invention, as it suggests many ideas for the improvement of other sporting goods.

While the inventor has called his idea a polo stick, it is in fact in the glove that the novelty lies.

This is made of strong leather, and in the palm a metal plate or lock is fixed.

The glove fastens at the wrist with a strong button.

The polo stick, instead of being grasped around the stock, is held by a metal handle, in the centre of which is a hasp fitting the lock in the palm of the glove. The polo stick is thus firmly locked to the hand and practically becomes a part of the user's arm.

So strong is the lock that the stick must be splintered before it will give way.

For polo such a device is invaluable, for dropping one's stick means dismounting and losing much valuable time; but a simple locking device would be of great assistance in all games that require the stick, bat, or club to be held with especial firmness.

SPRING CASTER.—This is a very novel idea, and one which is likely to become very popular if it is found to be practical.

Between the roller of the caster and the plate which attaches it to the chair-leg, a strong spiral spring is inserted. The chair thus supported adapts itself to every movement of the sitter, and gives ease and comfort that no firmly fixed seat can do.

For writers these springs are particularly delightful, as the forward movement of the body brings the seat forward with it, and the writer can have the comfort of resting his back at the same time that he is at a convenient angle for his work.
............................................................ G.H.R.

tisdag 9 november 2010


"Now I've had my lesson in my 'Nursery Primer,'" said little five-year-old Ellen, "and I want to learn to iron clothes."

"You are rather too young to be trusted with a flat-iron," said her mother: "you might burn your fingers."

"I'll promise not to cry if I do," said Ellen. "Please let me go out and help Patience iron, mamma."

Mamma at last gave her consent; and our picture of Ellen and Patience at work at the ironing-board gives about as good likenesses of the two as their reflections in a mirror could have given.

Ellen saw how Patience used her flat-iron, and then used hers in the same way. She ironed a towel so well, that Patience praised her, and said she could not have done it better herself.

But, as she was trying to put a flat-iron on the stove, Ellen burnt her fingers so as to make her hop. She did not cry; for she remembered her promise. Patience wet a cloth with cold water, and put it on the burn; then she remembered that common brown soap was the best thing for a burn, so she spread some soap on a cotton rag and put that on. Soon the pain was gone, and Ellen ran and told her mother what had happened.

"You should not have tried to put the flat-iron on the stove," said her mother. "If your clothes had caught fire, you might have had a bad time."

"Would my dress have blazed up?" asked Ellen.

"I take care to dip your clothes in a weak solution of nitre before they are worn; for that prevents their blazing, even if they should catch fire," said mamma. "But you must not let that keep you from taking great care."

"Next Tuesday may I take another lesson in ironing?" asked Ellen.

"Yes: if you say your lessons well during the week, you shall not only learn to iron your clothes, but to wash them."

"That will be fun!" cried Ellen, clapping her hands, and quite forgetting her burnt finger.
From The Nursery, November 1877, Vol. XXII. No. 5, A Monthly Magazine for Youngest Readers

måndag 8 november 2010


ovember is a month of very great dulness in Gardening matters, from a practical point of view, and will probably fully justify the epithet of "gloomy" so often applied to it. Familiar floral faces which have been for the past several months brightening us with their cheerful looks have now vanished, and we once more witness Nature in her winter aspect. "A garden," says Douglas Jerrold, "is a beautiful book, writ by the finger of God; every flower and leaf is a letter. You have only to learn them—and he is a poor dunce that cannot, if he will, do that—to learn them, and join them, and go on reading and reading, and you will find yourself carried away from the earth by the beautiful story you are going through."
One of the best occupations which we can recommend to our young readers during winter evenings is the perusal of various elementary books on gardening, and a few of the best seed catalogues which are issued every spring. Those containing plenty of illustrations should be preferred, as a figure, even if badly executed, will convey a far better idea of a plant than the most elaborate of descriptions. We would, however, remark that mere reading, no matter how wide and varied, will by no means constitute any one a good or even indifferent gardener where experience and knowledge are not acquired by practice. It is probably true that a poet must be born such; but the case is just the reverse with a gardener, who must in fact be made one.
The present month is one of the best for making additions to our little folk's gardens in the matter of nearly all sorts of hardy perennials, and dwarf-growing shrubs. We would especially name the Christmas rose; if planted now in a light loamy soil close to an east wall, plenty of flowers will be produced in succession from the latter part of December until February, and in order to secure pure white blooms, the plant, when just commencing to flower, should be covered over with a bell-glass. If grown exposed to winds and rain the flowers will be of a very dirty white. The roots of the winter aconite, or, as it is sometimes called, "The New Year's Gift," should now be planted in, if possible, a rather damp and shady situation; its bright yellow flowers will be most welcome throughout the dull months of December and January. It may be grown successfully under the shelter of trees and shrubs.
Secure nice specimens of the forget-me-not, and plant in any damp, shaded situation. A plentiful supply of flowers from early spring onwards will amply repay any small amount of trouble entailed in their cultivation. As the true forget-me-not (Myosotis palustris) grows in most damp, boggy meadows throughout England it will cost nothing to obtain it—except, perhaps, a pair of wet feet. The winter aconite is likewise a native plant, but is rarely seen in a wild state. Such spring-flowering perennials as the white arabis, herbaceous candytufts, aubretias, primulas, and polyanthuses, should now be placed in situations where it is desired for them to flower. The majority of those just named thrive very well in almost any moderately good garden soil, and under ordinary treatment.
The hardy annuals required for spring flowering which were omitted to be sown during the previous months should now be done so with all speed; the most suitable position will be in a box of light soil, and the young seedlings may be protected from the severity of winter by the box containing them being placed in a cold frame, which should be covered by straw or other litter during very hard frosts. Although the majority of annuals are of a very ephemeral character, few things are more showy or more floriferous. Among many others we may particularise the fragrant white-flowered alyssum, the blue, dark purple, spotted, and white varieties of nemophila, white and pink virginian stock, and the large yellow buttercup-like flowered limnanthes. Batches of the annuals sown in August and September can now be placed in warm spots in the open border, where, in all probability, they will withstand the winter and flower duly in spring.
The planting of flower-roots may be still carried on with vigour. As regards the general work to be done now in the garden, we may mention that in dry weather all walks and pathways should be swept and rolled, which latter operation, like that of digging, ought to be done by a labourer, although dragging a garden-roller has been described as an excellent gymnastic exercise. Grass should be mowed on every favourable opportunity; and where turf has been much worn away, or where it is uneven, the objectionable portions must be removed and replaced by better.

From Little Folks (November 1884) A Magazine for the Young

söndag 7 november 2010

Barbara Uttmann

Scientific American Supplement, No. 514, November 7, 1885
The question whether Barbara Uttmann, of Annaberg, Saxony, was the inventor of the art of making hand cushion lace, or only introduced it into Annaberg, in the Saxon mountains, has not yet been solved, notwithstanding the fact that the most rigid examinations have been made. It is the general belief, however, that she only introduced the art, having learned it from a foreigner in the year 1561. The person from whom she acquired this knowledge is said to have been a Protestant fugitive from Brabant, who was driven from her native land by the constables of the Inquisition, and who found a home in the Uttmann family. However, the probability is that what the fugitive showed Barbara Uttmann was the stitched, or embroidered, laces—points, so called—which are still manufactured in the Netherlands at the present time. It is very probable that the specimens shown induced Barbara Uttmann to invent the art of making lace by means of a hand cushion.


Very little is known of the family of Barbara Uttmann, which was originally from Nurnberg; but members of the same migrated to the Saxon mountains. Barbara's husband, Christof Uttmann, was the owner of extensive mines at Annaberg, and was very wealthy. She died at Annaberg, Jan. 14, 1584.

The art of making hand cushion lace was soon acquired by most of the residents in the Saxon mountains, which is a poor country, as the occupation of most of the inhabitants was mining, and it frequently happened that the wages were so low, and the means of sustaining life so expensive, that some other resource had to be found to make life more bearable. Barbara Uttmann's invention was thus a blessing to the country, and her name is held in high esteem. A monumental fountain is to be erected at Annaberg, and is to be surmounted by a statue of the country's benefactress, Barbara Uttmann. The statue, modeled by Robert Henze, is to be cast in bronze. It represents Barbara Uttmann in the costume worn at the time of the Reformation. She points to a piece of lace, which she has just completed, lying on the cushion, the shuttles being visible.

Some point, Valenciennes, and Guipure laces are made on a cushion by hand, with bobbins on which the thread is wound, the pins for giving the desired pattern to the lace being stuck into the cushion. A yard of hand cushion lace has been sold in England for as much as $25,000. The annexed cut, representing the Barbara Uttmann statue, was taken from the Illustrirte Zeitung.

A Boston paper tells of a man who built two houses side by side, one for himself and one to sell. In the house sold he had placed a furnace against the party wall of the cellar, and from its hot air chamber he had constructed flues to heat his own domicile. The owner of the other house found it very hard to keep his own house warm, and was astounded at the amount of coal it took to render his family comfortable, while the "other fellow" kept himself warm at his neighbor's expense nearly a whole winter before the trick was discovered.

lördag 6 november 2010

Plan your Thanksgiving dinner



Fig-and-Cranberry Pie
Chop one-half a pound of figs and cook until tender in a pint of water. Add a pint of cranberries, and cook until they pop. Mix one cup of sugar with four tablespoonfuls of flour and stir into the fig-and-cranberry mixture; let boil, remove from fire, and stir in two tablespoonfuls of butter and the juice of one-half a lemon. Put into a pastry shell, arrange strips of paste in a basket pattern over the top, and bake until these are browned.
Dry Deviled Parsnips
Wash and scrape—not pare—three large parsnips; cut in halves, lengthwise, and place, cut side uppermost, on the grate of a rather hot oven to bake for thirty to forty minutes, or until soft and lightly browned. Soften one-half a cup of butter, without melting it, and rub into it the following mixture: Two teaspoonfuls of salt, four tablespoonfuls of dry mustard, one-half a teaspoonful of cayenne, one teaspoonful of white pepper, and flour enough to stiffen the paste. When the parsnips are cooked make four slanting cuts in each of the halves, and fill each with as much of the paste as it will hold. Spread over the flat side with the remainder of the paste, arrange on the serving dish, sift fine buttered crumbs over them, and place under the gas flame, or on the upper rack of an oven until crumbs are brown.

Cranberry Tart
Spread a round of paste over an inverted pie plate, prick the paste with a fork eight times. Bake to a delicate brown. Remove the paste from the plate, wash the plate and set the pastry inside. When cold fill with a cold, cooked cranberry filling and cover the filling with a top pastry crust, made by cutting paste to a paper pattern and baking in a pan. Arrange tart just before serving.

Cooked Cranberry Filling
Mix together three level tablespoonfuls of cornstarch, three-fourths a teaspoonful of salt and one cup and one-half of sugar; pour on one cup and one-half of boiling water and stir until boiling, then add one-third a cup of molasses, two teaspoonfuls of butter and three cups of cranberries, chopped fine. Let simmer fifteen minutes.
Pumpkin Fanchonettes
Mix together one cup and a half of dry, sifted pumpkin, half a cup of sugar, two eggs, two tablespoonfuls of molasses, one tablespoonful of ginger, two tablespoonfuls of melted butter, one teaspoonful of cinnamon, one-fourth a teaspoonful of salt, and one cup of rich milk. Pour into small tins lined with pastry, and bake about twenty-five minutes. Serve cold; just before serving decorate with whipped cream.
Pilgrim Cookies
Let soak overnight one cup of seedless raisins, then drain and dry on a cloth. Cream one-third a cup of butter; beat in one cup of brown sugar, one tablespoonful of milk, and two eggs, beaten light. Add the raisins, and one cup of flour, sifted with one-half a teaspoonful, each, of nutmeg and cinnamon and two teaspoonfuls and one-half of baking powder. When thoroughly mixed, add one-half a cup of graham flour, unsifted, and one-half a cup of bran, unsifted.

fredag 5 november 2010

An Explosive Guy

The Gunpowder Conspirators are discovered
and Guy Fawkes is caught in the cellar of the
Houses of Parliament with the explosives.
I'm sure all my British readers knows much more about Guy Fawkes' Night than I do, so I won't even try to teach you anything about this guy. But for those of you who don't mind sweet stuff (you need a third of the weeks 3 lbs. sugar allowance to make this toffee) I'll give you a recipe (that I haven't tried) for Tom Trot Toffee.
It comes from the lovely book "Cattern Cakes and Lace" by Julia Jones and Barbara Deer. And this is how they present it: "In Yorkshire a treacle toffee is made on Guy Fawkes' Night with the curious name of Tom Trot."
1lb/450 g soft brown sugar
5 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 oz./25 g butter
1/4 pint/150 ml black treacle

Put the sugar into a saucepan with the water and vinegar and when dissolved add the butter and treacle. Heat gently until the butter and treacle melt. Raise the heat and boil for 12-15 minutes. The temperature on a sugar thermometer shoud read 138°C-142°C/280°F-290°F.
Pour the treacle into an oiled tin aand leave until partially set. Mark into bars or squars and, when cold, break up and store in an airtight tin. (and eat it?)

torsdag 4 november 2010

Cost of Living in October, 1919

The Frugal Meal
Jozef Israels
Cost of Living in October, 1919

Food. To obtain the average cost of food, several budgets including articles sufficient for a week's supply for a family of man, wife and three children were used as a basis. From these were constructed food budgets designed to meet the requirements of a minimum standard and of one slightly above the minimum. Prices were collected from four of the large down-town stores, from branches of two different chain stores, one of them represented by 21 separate branches, and from various neighborhood grocery stores: one Polish, one Portuguese and two French. When there was more than one quality of an article the price used was the lowest consistent with what appeared to be good value. The quotations collected for each article were averaged and are given in Tables 1 and 2.



..... Meat and Fish Fruit
2 lbs. flank ................ ............ .... $ .32
2 lbs. chuck ............... ................... .40
½ lb. bacon ............... ................... .21
1 lb. dried cod ................................ .20
1 can salmon ................................. .27
. Dairy Products Bread, Cereals, etc.
1 doz. eggs ..................................... .61
1 lb. butter .. ................................ . .66
½ lb. oleomargarine or lard .......... .18
1 lb. cheese .................................... .41
14 qts. milk .................................. 2.10
........... Vegetables
1½ pks. potatoes ........................... .77
3 lbs. carrots ............................ ..... .12
2 lbs. onions .................................. .13
3 lbs. cabbage ................................ .14
2 lbs. dried beans ................... ..... . .23
1 can tomatoes ............................... .15
...... Fruit
3 qts. apples ......................................27
3 oranges ......................................... .12
4 bananas ........................................ .15
½ lb. raisins .................................... .12
1 lb. prunes ...................................... .24
.. Bread, Cereals, etc.
12 lbs. bread ..................................... 1.28
2 lbs. flour ......................................... .16
1 lb. corn meal ................................... .07
1 lb. rice ............................................. .16
1 lb. macaroni ................................. .. .16
3 lbs. sugar .........................................33
3 lbs. rolled oats ................................ .21
1 pt. molasses . ............................... .. .12
... Tea, Coffee, etc.
¼ lb. tea ........................................ .. .15
½ lb. coffee .................................... . .23
½ lb. cocoa ....................................... .22
Condiments ...................................... .11
Total weekly cost ................. $11.00
From the food budget itemized in Table 1, which must be regarded as a minimum, it appears that the least that can be allowed for food for a man, wife and three children under fourteen years of age in Fall River in October, 1919, is $11 a week.

From "Fall River, Massachusetts, October, 1919, Research Report, Number 22, November, 1919" by National Industrial Conference Board

Isn't 3 lbs. sugar a week plenty for a family of five? I don't use much more in a year!

onsdag 3 november 2010

I'm sure you need a glove case

The holiday season is approaching, and little girls, who have generally more time than money, are employing their leisure moments in making pretty gifts for their papas and mammas, and brothers and sisters, which will give double pleasure as being the work of their own hands. Here is a pretty holiday gift, which our young friends can readily make with the help of the following description: Cut of Bordeaux velvet one piece eleven inches and three-quarters long and six inches wide for the outside, and cut three pieces of white satin of the same size for the lining. Apply embroidery worked on white cloth to the velvet. Having transferred the design to the material, which is pinked on the edges and inside of the figures, work the flowers in chain stitch with coral red silk in several shades, the stamens in knotted stitch and point Russe with yellow silk, and the spray in herring-bone stitch with olive silk in several shades. For the buds in knotted stitch use pink silk. Having bordered the application with olive-colored satin ribbon half an inch wide laid in box pleats, chain-stitch it on the foundation along the inner edges with gold thread. Underlay the velvet with wadding, and line it with satin; join the two pieces of satin designed for the bottom over wadding, and edge the bottom with a ruffle of Bordeaux satin ribbon seven-eighths of an inch wide. The case is joined with narrow white satin ribbon. Bows of olive and Bordeaux satin ribbon trim the case as shown by the illustration. A full-sized design of the embroidery was given on page 120 of Harper's Bazar, No. 8, Vol. XII. It is a good plan to perfume the wadding with sandal-wood, violet, or some of the many fragrant powders sold by druggists for this purpose. This pretty glove case can be varied by making it of plain silk or velvet, and trimming it in any style our young readers may fancy.

From Harper's Young People, November 11, 1879 An Illustrated Weekly

tisdag 2 november 2010

Home from the woods

It rains! and, hark! the rushing wind
Begins to moan and blow:
Take jug and basket, and come on.
For we have far to go.
Don't fret and whimper, little one;
Here, my umbrella take:
The birds heed not the pouring rain;
Just hear the songs they make!
And see how glad are leaf and bud
To get each cooling drop:
Come, soon it will be bright again,
For soon the rain will stop.
................................ From the German

From The Nursery, November 1873, Vol. XIV. No. 5

måndag 1 november 2010

November 1st.

Portrait of Samuel Pepys by J. Hayls.
Oil on canvas, 1666, 756 mm × 629 mm
National Portrait Gallery, London.

November 1st. I went this morning with Sir W. Pen by coach to Westminster, and having done my business at Mr. Montagu's, I went back to him at Whitehall, and from thence with him to the 3 Tun Tavern, at Charing Cross, and there sent for up the maister of the house's dinner, and dined very well upon it, and afterwards had him and his fayre sister (who is very great with Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Pen in mirth) up to us, and looked over some medals that they shewed us of theirs; and so went away to the Theatre, to "The Joviall Crew," and from hence home, and at my house we were very merry till late, having sent for his son, Mr. William Pen, [The celebrated Quaker, and founder of Pennsylvania.] lately come from Oxford. And after supper parted, and to bed.