Thursday, August 2, 2012

Standard Farmer's Almanac 1905 excerpts, Part 1

Today, in the first of a series, I'm presenting some excerpts from this copy of the Standard Farmer's Almanac 1905.

That's "Standard" as in Standard Oil Company, which was one of America's feel-good start-ups of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, until the cranky Supreme Court, led by Edward Douglass White, tired of its (Standard's) conspiratorial, restraining and monopolizing ways and ordered its (Standard's) breakup.

The almanac has a punch-hole with a string run through it — perfect for hanging it from a nail in the barn. And this issue was compliments of Jos. Breck & Sons, an agricultural supply business in Boston.

Here are some interesting tidbits from the first few pages:
  • This is part of a note to the "American Farmer" from Standard Oil Company on the inside front cover: "In compiling the Standard Almanac for 1905, it has been our aim to give you a number of useful facts from the scientific world in its forward march of progress. This is a progressive age. No one can afford to ignore new truths or facts. The difference between a wise man and a foolish one is the difference in their powers of observation and utilizing what they have learned."
  • On the following page, after that treatise about the scientific, progressive age, Standard Oil Company presents a chart with the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Oh well.

  • There is a large advertisement for Eureka Harness Oil, which claims to "keep the fibre soft and pliable" and "blacken the worn red spots on the harness." One thing that makes Eureka Harness Oil superior to other products, according to the advertising copy, is that no "lamp black" is used in its manufacture.

  • Suggestions are given for the problem of ants in the house. While "trapping and killing" is the recommended solution, the almanac states that the odor of tar, wormwood or pennyroyal will drive ants away in some cases.

  • Regarding the farm's poultry-house, the almanac offers the following tips: "Whitewash the poultry-house inside so as to make the interior light and cheerful. Poultry have a repugnance to dark quarters, and will remain outside, exposed to storms, in preference to resorting during the day to a dark and uncomfortable poultry-house. Ducks must be kept in a house which has a board floor covered with straw."
  • Finally, the following is written of milk, my favorite beverage:
    "Milk is not a beverage; it is a perfect food. When children drink milk at meals it should take the place of nitrogenous foods — meat of course, being omitted. It is far better when the children eat meat to give them water to drink. Where two sorts of nitrogenous foods are used, like meat and milk, constipation is universal."
    So there.

  • Read Part 2

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Note: The "Harvesting in Russia" illustration that appears on the cover of the almanac also appears on this 1910 International Harvester Company of America postcard. There, the caption states: "Camels are used as draft animals to operate American Harvesting Machines on the Steppes of the Caucasus."

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