Back to Great-Granny’s recipe book for more home recipes. Some of the ingredients had us scratching our heads in bemusement, but we’ll share the recipes here anyway. You’ll never know when you need to mention one of these in a story sometime!
Measurements are usually given in drams or drachms (same thing, different spelling), which is shown as ‘dr’ and a number. The Britannica encyclopaedia defines as this “An apothecaries’ dram contains 3 scruples (3.888 grams) of 20 grains each and is equal to one-eighth apothecaries’ ounce of 480 grains.”
Other measures used are ordinary ounce (oz) and pound (lb). Liquid measures used are pints and gills (a gill is ¼ of a pint).
We’re used to buying whatever beauty products we want, when we want. For most Victorian women, these were too expensive or difficult to come by. So, being inventive and clever, they created their own:
1 oz pure wase (?)
2 oz spermaceti
1 pint almond oil.
Melt together and mix well. Beat in 12 drops attar of rose and 3 oz honey. Put in jars and cover securely. It will last a long time.
For Chapped Hands/Dirty And Rough Hands
Chapped Hands Recipe One
1 dr carbolic acid
1 oz glycerin
Mix with water and apply to hands.
Chapped Hands Recipe Two
Take an equal quantity of glycerin and methylated spirits and mix thoroughly together to rub on hands after washing.
For Dirty, Rough Hands
Use Bicrolium Jelly, which removes all dirt and makes them soft and white.
1 oz Lavena de Composee (?)
¼ dr menthol crystals
3 oz Bay Rum
Get some Boranium from chemists (pharmacist) and mix with Bay Rum
For Grey Hair
To keep hair from turning grey, obtain some Tammalite (?), dissolve it in Bay Rum and apply this lotion every day.
1 teaspoon Stallax dissolved in hot water
Home Care Products
Most housewives found it easier and cheaper to create her own polishes and cleaners, rather than buy ready-made ones. Here are a couple of recipes:
Cheap boot polish
1 dr hulball (?)
1 dr turpentine
1 dr neat’s foot oil
Melt hulball and mix with oils, and put in a tin. This makes boots waterproof.
A good floor polish
1 dr bees wax and scrape it into a jar. Pour over it enough paraffin to cover it and put on stove to melt. When cold it is ready for use. Is a good furniture polish, too.
Do you have old family remedy recipes like this that you’d like to pass along? Post them into the comments here (or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org) along with the name of your ancestress who is credited with the recipe, and we’ll add them to the relevant page in the Resources section.