Monday, 29 September 2014

Tricks of the Trade

My maternal grandmother and my paternal grandfather, who never knew each other at the time, were both in a similar business.  My grandmother was half owner of The Coatwell Paint Company, that made paints and varnishes. My grandfather was a traveling salesman for paint and varnish companies. When my parents were in the antique business they used their parents' expertise and their recipes for how to clean old paint and varnish off furniture. They also made and sold their own furniture polishes.

In my family papers I found 3 recipes for furniture polish, each one a little different, and a recipe for some kind of hair tonic.


In my post about Cookbooks I told about my Mom being able to cook anything and not need a recipe... well my Dad is like that in Carpentry. If he can think it, he could make it. Since he did not know his father's family, he didn't realize his love of carpentry came from his ancestors. My daughter is also a carpenter.  I tried my hand at it but, as in cooking, I need a "step by step". When my grandson was born I decided I wanted to make a cradle.  I didn't like the new designs, so I turned to an older book I found in a used book store. I chose this design because the bed part could later come off and be used as a toy box.


By the late1800's many industries had manuals that contained instructions, plans, tips, references and sometimes recipes. So if your ancestors had a trade, you can discover more about what that entailed by looking for a manual or reference book.  The earliest one I found was from 1615.

Relevant Links:

The harness makers' illustrated manual. A practical guide book for manufacurers and makers of harness, pads, gig saddles, etc - 1880

The universal assistant and complete mechanic : containing over one million industrial facts, calculation, receipts, processes, trade secrets, rules, business forms, legal items, etc in every occupation, from household to manufactory - 1880

Grocer and Distiller's useful guide - 1932: directory for making and managing al kinds of wines and spirituous liquors ; also for preserving beef, pork and fish ; for making the best pickles and preserves ; and for preserving fruits

A booke of sundry draughtes, principaly serving for glasiers: and not impertinent for plasterers, and gardiners: besides sundry other professions. Whereunto is annexed, The manner how to anniel in glas: and also the true forme of the fornace, and the secretes thereof – 1615

Clay glazes and enamels, with a supplement on crazing, its cause andprevention; the whole forming a treatise on glazing and enameling brick, terra cotta and pottery, including exact recipes and formulas for all the principal colors now in use, and full instructions for their preparation and application – 1896

The photograph and ambrotype manual; a practical treatise on the art of taking positive and negative photographs on paper and glass, commonly known as photography, in all its branches - containing various recipes - USA 1858

The dyer and colour maker's companion: containing upwards of two hundred receipts for making colours on the most approved principles, for all the various styles and fabrics now in existence, together with the scouring process, and plain directions for preparing, washing-off, and finishing the goods – 1860

Modern bath rooms ; with useful information and valuable suggestions about plumbing for home builders or those about to remodel their present dwellings - 1912 

Cowie's Bookbinder's manual - London 1860

Mida's trade-mark register of canned goods - USA 1906

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