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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Long before there was Google

From its first publication in 1858 and well into the 20th Century, for answers to the common questions of everyday life many people referred to the handy reference book Enquire Within Upon Everything first published by Houlston and Sons of London. The 1905 front page declares "Whether You Wish to Model a Flower in Wax; to Study the Rules of Etiquette; to Serve a Relish for Breakfast or Supper; to Plan a Dinner for a Large Party or a Small One; to Cure a Headache; to Make a Will; to Get Married; to Bury a Relative; Whatever You May Wish to Do, Make, or to Enjoy, Provided Your Desire has Relation to the Necessities of Domestic Life, I Hope You will not Fail to 'Enquire Within.' "—Editor.
There were many editions over the years and I have in my possession the 1905, one hundred and second edition and the 113th edition dated 1923. These books were really popular at the time and can still be found in second-hand bookshops in the UK. Many items, to our 21st Century eyes just seem quaint and some others quite bizarre and I intend to quote a few in the blog from time to time.

For now here is the 1905 item: Dr Clark’s Pills for Nervous Headaches. – Socotrine aloes, powdered rhubarb, of each one drachm; compound powder of cinnamon, one scruple; hard soap, half a drachm; syrup enough to form the mass. To be divided into fifty pills, of which two will be sufficient for a dose; to be taken occasionally. By the 1923 Edition the Headache item starts: Aspirin…is prescribed as an anti-rheumatic remedy and for relief of headaches and other pains. It should be taken only under the supervision of a medical man.
And here, now don’t even think to use this if the occasion arises, is the 1905 treatment for Drowning: “Attend to the following essential rules: -
1. Lose no time.
2. Handle the body gently.
3. Carry the body face downwards with the head gently raised, and never hold it up by the feet.
4. Send for medical attention immediately, and in the meantime act as follows
5. Strip the body, rub it dry; then wrap it in hot blankets and place it in a warm bed in a warm room.
6. Cleanse away the froth and mucus from the mouth.
7. Apply warm bricks, bottles, bags of sand &c., to the armpits, between the thighs and to the soles of the feet.

And so the article goes on….and finishes with:
Cautions: Never rub the body with salt or spirits. Never roll the body on casks. Continue the remedies for twelve hours without ceasing.

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