Monday, September 15, 2014

Vintage Stencils - Flowers and Beasts

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Another Reason I'm Glad I Was Born in 1955

From Mechanical Devices in the Home, by Edith Allen, 1922.

A brief explanation of stoves is given in this chapter to help the woman with a new stove or with an old one which she does not understand so that she may manage it without wasting fuel and nervous energy. Cooking stoves (Fig. 1) were invented as a convenient means for holding pots and pans in close proximity to the fire. They include a device for regulating the supply of air to the burning fuel.

1. Air Supply for Fire. A proper amount of air must be supplied to the fuel to produce a hot fire. A smoky or yellow flame indicates a lack of sufficient air to produce complete combustion of the fuel. Smoke is unburnt fuel. A smoky fire does not produce as much heat as one which burns with a blue or almost colorless flame. It is usually not the fault of the fuel, but the way it is being used that causes a smoky fire.

2. The Grate. Cooking stoves may be constructed for burning either wood or coal. In both cases, the operation is similar, except that more air should be passing thru the stove while wood is being burnt. For burning coal, the grate should be less open in order to prevent the coal from falling thru. Some modern stoves are made with double grates. These may be turned so that the more open part of them is used for supporting the wood, and the less open part for coal.

These grates are usually reversed by a stove shaker. The housekeeper must understand how this is done in order to avoid reversing them when she shakes down the ashes. Two difficulties arise in reversing the grate when the stove is filled with fuel. The coal may be wasted by falling thru the part intended for wood, or pieces of fuel may fall between the parts so that they cannot be moved. When this happens, it is best to let the fire go out, take out the fuel, adjust the grates as they should be and rebuild the fire.

3. Drafts or Dampers. There are from three to six dampers on a stove  as follows:
1) The draft below the fire box, found on all stoves, is to let in air to the burning fire.
2) The draft above the fire box, not found on all stoves, when slightly opened, lets in air which completes the combustion of the gases arising from the top of the fire. When opened too wide, it checks the burning of the fire.
3) The oven damper, found on all cook stoves, is placed at the point where the flame naturally enters the stove pipe. When this damper is closed, the flame must go around the oven instead of directly up the chimney.

To see the oven damper, take off the lid nearest the stove pipe and watch the direction of the flame. The handle to the oven damper may be at the side of the pipe on top of the stove or at the front of the stove under the top near the reservoir. Closing this damper causes the hot gases from the fire to go back over the top of the stove down behind the oven, turn under the oven and come up the chimney. Good stoves are constructed so that the hot gases come in contact with every part of the oven. This makes a longer journey for the gases, but, if the drafts in the front of the stove and chimney are properly adjusted, the gases will make the circuit without forming soot.

4) A damper in the stove pipe for letting air from the room into the pipe serves to check the burning of the fire by taking the place of the draft thru the stove.
5) A damper, or shutter, found in the pipe or chimney of most stoves, when closed, checks the draft up the chimney, and, when open, lets it pass freely.
6) The reservoir damper, found on some stoves having reservoirs, lets the hot gases pass next to the reservoir when open and prevents this when closed.

4. Starting the Fire. If the stove has a reversible grate, see that it is adjusted to suit the fuel before building the fire; then adjust the drafts. Open the draft below the fire box, the oven damper, and the shutter in the chimney; close the draft above the fire box, and the draft which lets air from the room into the pipe, so that the air may pass up thru the fire box and directly up the chimney. Some chimneys produce such strong drafts that the shutter in the chimney has to be kept closed most of the time, even when starting the fire. After the fuel has become ignited, the draft below the fire may be partly closed so that it burns less rapidly. If the fire is to be used for heating water or food on top of the stove, it is now ready for use. If it is still burning too rapidly, the draft may be entirely closed, or the shutter in the chimney partly closed. If at any time the stove smokes, the shutter or drafts above the fire may be closed too much and should be opened enough to let all the smoke pass. Adding too much fuel at one time and not spreading it in a thin layer over the entire surface of the fire may cause the stove to smoke.

5. Keeping a Fire. If, after a fire has been used, it is wanted for use later, close the draft below the fire box, open the one above the fire box, or, if there chances to be no draft here, tilt the lids on the stove to let in the air; close the shutter in the chimney and open the draft in the pipe that lets in[19] air from the room. With the drafts so adjusted, the fire should keep a long time, as it will burn very slowly.

6. Heating the Oven. When baking is to be done, wait until the fire is well started; then close the oven damper. The eveness of heat in the oven depends upon the even distribution of the hot gases below and on the sides of it. This is provided for in the manufacture of the stove itself. The heat in the oven may be regulated by the intensity of the heat from the fire as well as by the damper. Whenever a cooler oven is wanted, the flame may be permitted to go directly up the chimney. Since hot air is always seeking a higher level than cold air, opening the oven door cools the oven, but it will not prevent food set on the bottom of the oven from burning on the bottom. In a closed oven, the greatest degree of heat is at the top, excepting sometimes the surface of the bottom of the oven. Many stoves require the placing of a thin grating on the bottom of the oven to prevent food from burning on the bottom. If food does not brown sufficiently on the bottom, remove the grating so that the dish comes in closer contact with the heating unit.

The insulation of the oven door helps to hold heat in the oven, but the amount lost here is so small that many housekeepers prefer the convenience of the glass door, which, in turn, saves heat by doing away with the necessity of opening the oven door to watch the cooking food.

Some housewives adjust the dampers for heating the oven and then never change them. They heat the kitchen in summer more than is necessary and use more fuel than they need for cooking. It has been estimated that where the careful manager of a stove uses one pound of fuel, the careless manager uses three and a half pounds.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Thursday, September 11, 2014


If you have a German Shepherd puppy, it is very, very, very suspicious.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Knitting - Ribbed Jumper from 1952

A high-necked sweater to knit in wool or cotton, depending on what season you're transitioning to.  From the Australian Home Journal, September 1st, 1952.  The moccasins have appeared here, before.  Left-click to enlarge, or download in different sizes from my Flickr account.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Vintage Advertising - Crisco

From The Ladies' Home Journal, September, 1922.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"Teatime Treats and Snacks"

(copyright-free silhouettes from Dover).

For the next time you have neighbor ladies in to tea.

Pecan Tassies

1 3-oz package cream cheese
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 c. sifted enriched flour
 *               *                *
1 egg
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. soft butter or margarine
1 t. vanilla
Dash salt
*                 *                *

Cheese pastry:  Let cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter soften at room temperature; blend.  Stir in flour.  Chill slightly, about 1 hour.  Shape into 2 cozen 1-inch balls; place in tiny ungreased 1 3/4 inch muffin cups.  Press dough against bottom and sides of cups.

Pecan filling:  Beat together eggs, sugar, 1 T. butter, vanill and salt just till smooth.  Divide half the pecans among pastry-lined cups; add egg mixture and top with remaining pecans.  Bake in slow oven (325°) 25 minutes or till filling is set.  Cool; remove from pans.


1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 1-oz. squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. sifted enriched flour
1/2 c. chopped California walnuts

Thoroughly cream butter and sugar; add eggs and beat well.  Blend in melted chocolate, vanilla and flour.  Add nuts to batter or sprinkle them over the top after batter is poured into the pan.

Pour batter into greased 8x8x2 inch pan.  Bake in slow oven (325°) about 35 minutes.  Cool and cut in squares.  Makes sixteen 2-inch brownies.

From Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cook Book, 1959.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Friday, August 29, 2014

Quote Of The Day

I read not long ago in the journal Brain that knitting increases the activity in the left prefrontal cortex, causing less susceptibility to stress and a more positive attitude toward life.  The article said meditation and trampoline jumping had similar neurological benefits. ~ Jenny McPhee

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

There's A Reason To Classify Them As Weapons

Me (pointing to a "Bagpipes for Beginners" class in the local community college catalog):  How much will you pay me not to register for this?

RN:  If you do that, I'm going to have to sign up for the wine appreciation class...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Vintage Images - Crate Labels

Fruit crate labels -- lush and appropriate. From Dover.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Everything About The House

Jean-Baptist Greuze, "The Laundress"

Homekeeping tips from The Ladies Home Journal, October,1892. Edited by Maria Parloa.

"A GOOD CLEANING FLUID. When the washing of an article in soap and water is out of the question, sponging with some substance thatwill remove grease and other stains is the next best thing.  Naphtha or benzine is excellent for this purpose, bust at times something more is required.  A cleaning fluid that I have used upon silk and woolen fabrics with satisfactory results is made as follows:  Put into a large saucepan two quarts of water, half an ounce of borax and four ounces of white castile soap, shaved fine, and stir frequently until the soap and borax are dissolved; then take from the fire and add two quarts of cold water.  When the mixture is cold, add one ounce of glycerine and one of ether.  Bottle and put away for use; it will keep for years.

To clean an article, first brush thoroughly, and then spread on a table.  Sponge with the cleaning fluid and rub hard until the stains disappear.  Spots can be removed from carpets in this manner."

"TO MAKE JAVELLE WATER.  Into a large saucepan, porcelain-lined if possible, put four pounds of bicarbonate of soda and four quarts of hot water.  Stir frequently with a wooden stick until the soda is dissolved; then add one pound of chloride of lime and stir occasionally until nearly all the solids are dissolved.  Let the liquid cool in the kettle; then strain the clear part through a piece of cheesecloth into wide-mouthed bottles.  Put in the stoppers and set away for use.  The part that is not clear can be put into separate bottles and used for cleaning white floors and tables, also for cleaning the sink.  In making this preparation be careful not to spatter it on your clothing or the paint.  Half a pinto fthis water can be put into a tub with about a dozen pails of warm suds and the soiled white clothes be soaked in it.  Much of the dirt can be removed by this method.  The French laundresses use this preparation for white clothes."

(Javelle Water is the French term for bleach).

"CAUTION IN REGARD TO NAPHTHA.  Naphtha and benzine are so effective in removing grease and dirt from most fabrics, and are clean, sure, and so easily applied to eradicating buffalo bugs and moths, that I use the myself in preference to anything else.  In recommending them, however, to my readers, I always caution them to leave the windows opened and have no light or fire in the room when using the articles.  I want to say still further that the bottle should be kept closely corked, and where there is light and ventilation.

Sometimes insurance companies have contested the payment of claims for damages by fire when it has been shown that there was naphtha or benzine on the premises, so it is well not to buy the fluids until the day you intend to use them, and to get only the quantity you will need for that one time.  It seems to me that these agents are a great blessing; but the housekeeper should use them herself, and not leave the work to an irresponsible person."

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Some days it's just too hot to do anything else.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Quote Of The Day

There are some people you like immediately, some whom you think you might learn to like in the fullness of time, and some that you simply want to push away from you with a sharp stick. ~ Douglas Adams.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Yet Another Sign the Apocalypse is Upon Us

I was in a local grocery emporium tonight and there were cappucino-flavored potato chips on display at the checkout counter.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crochet - A Filet Traycloth, 1949

I don't offer crochet patterns much, but here's a filet traycloth (with diagram) from the Australian Home Journal, November 1949.  You can try to enlarge it by left-clicking, or go to my Flickr account if that's still too small to read.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Vintage Magazines - Women in Crime

I Had Nothing To Lose But My Virtue -- that had to be a page-turner.