Friday, 27 February 2009
Yes, my sterling work in digitising Cassells results in, finally, another completed section of this marvellous part-work, where we learn that "helplessness and inactivity are no longer looked upon as feminine virtues" and that "As soon as women experience the benefits of physical education a general desire arises to share in its advantages, among which we may reckon a sense of power of action, an increased cheerfulness, and general vigour". Hurrah for general vigour! I could do with some myself. Interesting for its mention of women's gyms - I didn't know there were such places in the 1880s. Also, rather marvellous for its instructive pictures. Click here to read Calisthenics for Ladies in full.
One obvious picture library that I seemed to have missed from my Links page is the Museum of London Images collection. Particularly useful whilst the Museum's Victorian section is closed for refurbishment. Left, for your delectation, Varney the Vampire!
Monday, 16 February 2009
I recently stumbled across Wellcome-images, the image library of the Wellcome Collection (concerning, as you might guess, all things medical). It's not just Victorian material, of course (far from it) but contains some fascinating pics ... I particularly liked the image of ear trumpets, a feature of Victorian life I had forgotten. Note the 'trumpet' swathed in crepe for mourning!
Sunday, 1 February 2009
Cassells Household Guide offers a range of guidance. Suffering from problems with your decanters? Read on ...
To loosen Glass Stoppers.- A very common source of trouble and vexation is the fixed stopper of a smelling-bottle, or of a decanter; and as in the case of all frequent evils many methods have been devised for its remedy. Some of these methods we shall enumerate. 1. Hold the bottle or decanter firmly in the hand, or between the knees, and gently tap the stopper on alternate sides, using for the purpose a small piece of wood, and directing the strokes upward. 2. Plunge the neck of the vessel into hot water, taking care that the water is not hot enough to split the glass. If after some immersion the stopper is still fixed, recur to the first process. 3. Pass a piece of list round the neck of the vessel, which must be held fast while two persons draw the list backwards and forwards. This will warm the glass, and often enable the hand to turn the stopper. 4. Warm the neck of the vessel before the fire, and when it is nearly hot, the stopper can be generally moved. 5. Put a few drops of oil round the stopper where it enters the glass vessel, which may then be warmed before the fire. Next take the decanter or bottle, and employ the process No. 1, described above. If it continues fixed, add another drop of oil to the stopper, and place the vessel again before the fire. Then repeat the tapping with the wood. If the stopper continues still immovable, give it more oil, warm it afresh, and rub it anew, until it gives way, which it is almost sure to do in the end. 6. Take a steel pen or a needle, and run it round the top of the stopper in the angle formed by it and the bottle. Then hold the vessel in your left hand, and give it a steady twist towards you with the right, and it will very often be effectual, as the adhesion is frequently caused by the solidification of matter only at the point nearest the air. If this does not succeed, try process No. 5, which will be facilitated by it. By combining the two methods numbered 5 and 6, we have extracted stoppers which had been long fixed, and given up in despair after trying the usual plans. Broken stoppers are best left to professional hands.