Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Universal Receipt Book (1824, rev. 1835), Reprinted




My wife's great-great-grandfather Thomas Cottam made chairs in Mormon Pioneer-era southern Utah. While I was poking around online, exploring the idea of having one replicated for a dining room set, I stumbled upon Stephen Shepherd's awesome, extreme 19th century woodworking blog, Full Chisel.

Recently, Shepherd has published a scanned/facsimile edition of a suddenly essential-sounding book I'd never even heard of: Universal Receipt Book:
This book contains 6000 receipts or recipes from everything from varnish, stain, paint (oil color, water color, etc.), glues, cements, metallurgy, leather, glass, ink, medicine, food, beverage (fermented, distilled, brewed, etc.), husbandry, horticulture, Domestic Economy, &c., &c.

It is 850 pages and a small format, but the information contained is of importance to history and contain many obscure, archaic and obsolete recipes together with treasures like ‘cold tinning’ and ‘turpentine varnish’. More of a formulary than a recipe book, there is some amazing stuff in this work.
I don't even know what cold tinning is, but I don't want to be caught short if a project calls for it. [update a few minutes later: ok, no sweat, I looked it up.]

1824 Universal Receipt Book is $40 +4 s/h. Full Chisel has ordering details and sample pages. Oh, look! Here's the recipe for gunpowder!