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By November 17, 2014 Read More →

Receipt Book 1835

Post 10 13 14 photoThis little homemade notebook reveals the complexity of the world economy in the 1830’s. The book, labeled “Receipt Book 1835,” belonged to Ebenezer Jones (1804-1878).  Jones began his early working life in Gilsum but later moved to Peterborough to keep a store.  In his early years, he was active in mill work and purchased the Acworth Woolen Manufacturing Company in 1843.

His book is not a listing of business transactions but a book of receipts or recipes for dyeing wool. Included in the book are instructions for preparing wool for dyeing and how to achieve various colors. On these pages are the recipes for light drab on 60 lbs of wool, slate on 450 lbs of wool, lavender on 40 lbs, drab on 100 lbs, light drab on 65 lbs, dark drab on 70 lbs, and dark stone drab on 70 lbs. The three recipes on the right hand page have wool samples demonstrating the color.

The international element comes into the receipt book when you look at the recipes themselves. All of the dyes are derived from natural sources, synthetic dyes were not introduced until 1856. Light drab called for camwood, the hard wood of an African tree; madder, a dye derived from the root of a perennial from Southwest Asia; and fustic, the wood from a tropical American tree related to the mulberry.  Other recipes call for cochineal, made from crushed insects found in Mexico and Central America. Something from every corner of the planet came together to make Jones’ humble dyes.