Friday, August 3, 2012

Standard Farmer's Almanac 1905 excerpts, Part 2

Following on the heels of yesterday's post, here are some more intriguing tidbits from the Standard Farmer's Almanac of 1905...

  • In an advertisement, Mica Axle Grease is lauded because it "prevents hot boxes and vexatious days." And clearly those are two things we would like to prevent. The grease was available in tin boxes, buckets, kegs, barrels and half barrels.
  • A short article features the headline "Timber Cut by Electricity" and states the following: "A new and interesting method of cutting trees was experimented upon recently in the forests of France which may prove to be of great commercial value. A platinum wire is charged with a heavy current of electricity to a white heat, and is then used like a saw. The process takes about one-eighth the time of an ordinary saw, no sawdust is produced, and the carbonization caused by the heated wire acts as a slight preservative to the end of the timber."
  • The monthly national weather forecasts throughout the almanac tend to be quite ominous. March, for example, calls for "stormy, destructive conditions," "disasters," "disastrous gales," "electrical storms," "heavy frosts," and "danger of floods in the Upper Ohio and Susquehanna Rivers."1 Here's the full outlook for March 1905:

  • In a section about medical emergencies, the following "Tests of Death" are given: "Hold mirror to mouth. If living, moisture will gather. Push pin into flesh. If dead the hole will remain, if alive it will close up."
  • The feng shui of 1905 is related in this excerpt from the section titled "Colors in Living-Room Should Harmonize":
    "The woodwork and floors of the living-room may be of mahogany color, the walls olive, the ceiling a suggestion of olive,2 and the rug green or terra-cotta, or a mixture of green, terra-cotta, old blue and yellow. The furniture may be of any dark wood. ... Cushions for chairs in dark green would harmonize, as would a couch cover in terra-cotta, old gold or green."
  • A section titled "Correct Masculine Dress Chart for All Occasions" breaks down those potential occasions in the following way:
    • Day Weddings, Afternoon Calls, Receptions and Matinees
    • Evening Weddings, Balls, Receptions, Formal Dinners and Theater
    • Informal Dinner, Club, Stag and At-Home Dinner
    • Business and Morning Wear
    • Wheeling, Golf or Outing
    • Afternoon Teas, Shows, Etc.
    • Church
    Something tells me this portion of the almanac was not targeted toward your average Nebraska farmer.
  • The amazing Continental Ointment is advertised as being suitable for "cuts, bites, sore shoulders, bruises, galls, burns, scalds, scratches, barb wire cuts, sprains, etc., and for all diseases of the hoof — cracks, corns, hardness, dryness, and brittleness."
  • Finally, it is amusing, here in 2012, to read this section from a 1905 almanac titled "It is Amazing How People Lived in 1800, judged from modern standpoints":
    "Half of them dwelt in log huts. Window glass was a luxury even in coast towns. Some people used oil paper; others had simple openings in the walls, which in winter were closed with plank split from logs. The iron stove was a positive luxury; the furnace was unheard of. Great fireplaces supplied heat, but could not keep these huts comfortable in winter."
    What will they write of 1800, 1905 and 2012 in the year 2112?

1. Some of the actual bad weather that occurred in 1905 includes the Mataafa Storm and a deadly tornado in Snyder, Oklahoma. The 1905 hurricane season was a dud.
2. Would "A Suggestion of Olive" be (a) a good band name, (b) a good album title, (c) a good title for a hit single, or (d) a good title for a collection of poetry?

1 comment:

  1. If someone pushed a pin into my skin when I wasn't quite dead, I'd rise up and punch their lights out!