Dining while on the Railroad, 1869

Ten Minutes for Refreshments.
How much longer shall we be condemned to hear
this horrid cry upon our railroads? That it brings
pleasure to any but a few hungry fellows, with long
legs, hard cheeks, and ready digestion, we have always
doubted. The miseries and costliness of railroad re-.
freshment-rooms have long been a proverb; and it did.
not need that Dickens should show us how badly these
things were managed in England that we should ap
preciate our peculiar national grievances in this line
They manage these things better in Europe. On cer-
tain German railroads, for instance, you may be
travelling about the ordinary hour. At a certain station a
man gets on the train and takes the orders of all pas-
sengers who desire dinner. At another station, about
half a mile distant, the said dinners are placed before
each passenger; the number of orders having been
telegraphed from the station where they were taken.
For half an hour or thereabout the passengers are at
liberty to enjoy their meal, and then, at another sta-
then, the empty plates and baskets are taken away.
It need not be supposed that there is any inconveni-
ence or possible discomfiture in these railway dinners.
One does not hold a plate on his knees and a cup of
coffee in his hands. Upon the arrival of the train at
the dinner-station, each passenger ordering the meal
is furnished with a tall, round basket, about as high
but of not as great a diameter as a flour-barrel. This
basket has a flat top, with a rim around it, and a door
in the side, which, opening, shows shelves within, with
hot soup, meat, vegetables, perhaps dessert, and a bot-
the of wine, bread, etc. A depression in the top of the
basket holds the drinking-glass; and all tIme passenger
has to do is to take out his plates and eat at his leisure.
The cost of this meal is something like a half-dollar.
The value to a hungry, tired traveler is at least five
dollars. Are the American people so stupid that they
would not appreciate some improvement of this kind?
Let an enterprising company try them.

from the Manufacturer and Builder, Oct,1869

Bread Making, 1869


THE bread-making business has undergone great
changes since the days of our fathers and mothers.
Fifty years ago bakers bread was a comparative
rarity; and the purchase of the article by a well-to-do
Yankee family was rather the exception than the rule
in domestic economy. The family yeast-pot was as
common in those days as the pork barrel in the cellar.
And at all the little corner variety shops, where were
sold clay-pipes for old men, and maccaboy snuff for
old women, and gingerbread men and horses and
chaises, and candy and chestnuts for children, a
cents worth of yeast, too, might be bought by those
whose pets had unexpectedly failed them, or whose
poverty or huprovidence compelled them to live from
hand to mouth. But now, how changed is every thing
of this kind! A very few old-fashioned people still
keep up the habit of making family bread ; but they
are very few and very far between in our great cities
and towns especially. And even these old-time people
now depend very much on patent yeast-cakes, or some
other modern invention, for raising their bread; or
upon soda or saleratus, or some such stuff; to make the
bread eatable when made; while the great mass of
families look to the professional baker for the staff of
life. And we rather think that, on the whole, the
community are gainers by substituting bakers bread
for what can ordinarily be got from their own kit-
chens; for bread-making is almost one of the lost
domestic arts of America. Girls are taught astronomy
and algebra, philosophy and physiology, German and
French, music and dancing, embroidery and every
thing else that can be crammed into them even to
cake-making sometimes; but bread-making good,
light bread-making many of their mothers know
nothing about; and how can the children be taught
the lost art?
Good home-made bread is doubtless more economical
and healthful than the general run of bakers bread.
But bakers are so improving in the manufacture of
bread, that their leaves and rolls are now preferred by
many, even of those who can have family bread if they
wish it. This certainly would be a fair inference from
the number of bakers who find remunerative employ-
ment in this community, if we had no other means of
knowing the fact. This city alone supports no less
than one hundred and thirteen baking establishments,
and many of them large ones too. Some of them, to
be sure, are shipbread and cracker bakers; but the
vast majority of them bake bread of various kinds for
family use ---fine flour bread, coarse flour bread, biscuit,
and rolls. A few bake occasionally --once or twice a
week, or daily---brown bread, or rye and Indian bread;
and not a few supplement their bread-making with a
great variety of cake and pastry, some of it of a very
superior quality.
In nothing has there been a greater change among
bakers than in the method of heating their ovens.
These are now made broad and low, say from fourteen
to eighteen feet square, and from thirty-six to forty-
four inches high; and instead of being heated with
fagots, or finely split wood that would burn freely
with a good deal of flame, a fourteen-foot oven is now
heated, and kept for any length of time at any re-
quired temperature, by the use of some two or three
bushels of anthracite coal, placed in one corner of the
oven on a movable grate, which can be easily handled
and regulated from with out the oven, and which can
be kept burning during the process of baking, and
diminished or increased in violence as tile contents of
tile oven may require. This invention not only saves
an enormous amount of hard, hot, and dirty work,
which was required of the old-fashioned bakers in pre-
paring their oven wood and supplying the oven after
tile fire had been made, and in clearing and cleaning
the oven when sufficiently heated; but it saves, also,
the annoyance occasioned by the differerent heating pow-
ers of different kinds of wood, and enables the baker to
keep up a steady and unvarying heat for any length of
time, whether the oven is in use or not. In fact, it
gives a baker a perpetual oven, always ready for use,
without the trouble of filling or cleaning it; simply
by the easy process of throwing into one corner a
shovelful of coal occasionally.

Paper Houses, 1869

The following article was printed in The Manufacturer and Builder in June, 1869.
It says it was originally printed in the Des Moines Register, Wisconsin. I was intrigued by the idea of Victorian era paper houses, but found nothing else about them so far. I did, however find a Rev.W.W.King in Des Moines in 1868. There's a problem though. This is what I found in a history of Des Moines, Iowa.
In 1868 the first Universalist Church was organized, with Rev. W. W. King pastor. Its first meetings were held in Moore's Opera House, until a church edifice was erected on the corner of West Sixth and Cherry streets. This building was removed to Ninth street in 1879, and is occupied by the Temperance Reform Club.
At that time, however, as far as I could tell in my research, there was no Des Moines Register. There was, however, a paper called the Iowa State Register in Des Moines. Iowa and Des Moines used to be part of Wisconsin Territory til the mid 1830's.
Is it all coincedence, or did someone at The Manufacturer and Builder print some facts incorrectly? In any event, It's still interesting to know that at least a few people were trying out paper as a building material.

Paper Houses.
THE Rev. W. W. King thus relates in the Des
Moines (Wis.) Register his experience in building
one of these paper houses. We have no doubt that
our readers will extract from Mr. Rings communica-
tion, hints which may be valuable under some
circumstances. His story runs as follows:
I want to give such information as I possess touch-
ing a matter of interest to some people, especially to
those who desire to build comfortable houses, and whose
pecuniary resources are limited. Anxious to secure a
house for my family, and avoid paying one dollar a
day rent, I began my preparations for building the
1st of last October, and the 1st of December moved
into very comfortable winter quarters. After consult-
ing with reliable parties and examining the material,
I concluded to use the Hock River Company’s build-
ing paper, and it is of this experiment and its result
that I desire more particularly to speak. I have used
the paper on the outside instead of weather-boards, or
siding, on the roof instead of shingles, and on my in-
side walls throughout instead of plastering, and with
results more than satisfactory. I have a home warm-
er than any plastered house I ever saw, and I have
saved more than one third of the expense of the old
method. The erection of my building was in all re-
spects an experiment, but I learned continually by
trial, and could now improve on that experiment in
many respects. I think I can give practical advice to
those who desire to use this material.
In the first place, as all the walls inside and outside
are covered with common surface-dressed sheeting,
the studding can be placed at least three feet apart,
and the frame be stiffer than that of an ordinary
building. Here there is a large saving of about one half of
the dimension-lumber required in a plastered build-
ing. I covered the outside walls and roof with -
sheeting. On the roof, I used the plain paper, commencing
at the eaves, and bending over the edge of the paper,
and fastening to the edge of the roof-board with
common headed ten-ounce tacks, driven about one inch
apart. The next course of paper was lapped over the
joint four inches, taking pains to join the lap before
laying with a heavy coat of mineral paint, then tack-
ing as before, near the lower edge of the second course
and through both. Care should be taken to tack the
ends carefully. When the roof is thus laid, it should
be covered with a heavy coat of mineral paint. Then
have common inch lumber cut into strips half an inch
thick, and these strips laid up and down the roof from
eight to ten inches apart, and fastened with shingle
nails ; then cover all with mineral paint, and you have
a roof that no wind or rain can penetrate, and which I
am confident, if kept properly painted, will last an
ordinary lifetime. On the outside walls, put the paper
on perpendicularly, laying the edges of the courses
together and tacking once in four inches, and following
with mineral paint. Then take common battens,
paint them on the back side, lay once over the joints,
where the courses of paper meet, and once in the
centre of each course; then paint as on the roof. Care
should be taken outside and inside to lay the paper
close to the window-frames and door-frames before the
casings are set, so that the casings may cover all joints.
On the inside, I use common sheeting laid close from
the floor to the top of the back of a common chair; and
from that point to the top and overhead I use strips of
lumber from two to four inches wide and two feet
apart taking pains to have the edges of the paper
meet the centre of a strip. The paper should be laid
lengthwise on the strips, and the edges tacked each
inch, with occasional tacks here and there through the
centre of the paper. Then, when all is done, use for
walls and ceiling any wall-paper to suit the taste.
The walls and ceiling of the kitchen and pantry should
be painted with mineral paint for a ground-work, and
then any color to suit. Strips of paper or thin muslin
pasted over the joints in the paper before painting, to
hide the heads of tacks, will improve the appearance.
For floors, use common surface-dressed lumber, and
then cover with paper before carpeting. These plain
directions will insure comfort and economy. The
paper can be laid at a cost of from ten to twelve cents
per yard. This includes every thing, labor and mate-
rial. Let us look at the net results of advantages:
First. You can build at any season of the year,
finish your rooms to-day and move into them to-mor-
Second. You save a large expense in hauling lime
and sand.
Third. You save largely in the amount and qual-
ity of labor required, as there is far less work, and it
can mostly be done by common laborers.
Fourth. You save one half of your dimension-lum-
ber; and after the frame is up and the partitions set,
it is less expense to prepare the walls for the paper
than for plastering.
Fifth. You have a warmer house than can be built
with lumber and mortar.
In conclusion, I believe the Paper House is a
success, and will prove a great blessing and improve-
ment in this climate, and especially to the thousands
who must study economy.

Children's Toys, 1869

From THE MANUFACTURER AND BUILDER, vol 1 issue 1, Jan. 1869

By far the larger class of toys are those which appeal only to the imagination. Children like to make believe; therefore, mamma buys little horses and carts, little cups and saucers, little chairs and tables, little dolls and doll-houses. These things are all well; but a child should not be confined entirely to them, since they stimulate but one part of the mind. Especially should the mistake be avoided of buying expensive, ready-made toy apparatus of this class, such as is imported from Europe, and giving it to children, who find in a few hours that there is nothing left for them to do but to admire that which has been done for them. The children of Nuremberg or the Black Forest, who make these elaborate toys, get all the good out of them; for they are educated to skill in their pretty handiwork. But the pampered city boy or girl who receives one of those marvelous complete sheepfolds, or baby-houses, or trains of cars, with passengers and conductor and baggage complete, and an engine which papa must wind up before it will go, can do little with it except to smash it; and this healthy instinct, we are glad to say, is generally followed.
Children are popularly said to be destructive. So they are; but in many cases their destructiveness is famished and hungry constructiveness. Your boy would make a whistle if he had a chance; but you buy him a whistle, and he breaks it. Among the toys for the imagination, to which we have alluded, there are many which call into activity what might be called the practical application of imagination, ingenuity, inventiveness, etc.
For girls, no dolls are so instructive, and amusing too, as paper dolls. When girls can sew, it is almost a wicked waste of their time to leave them sewing clothes for those great monstrosities of dolls which require as much labor and care as real babies, and are horribly ugly after all. But paper dolls give larger dividends of entertainment, beauty, and education, both in taste and dexterity, than any others.

Let us say just here, that we do not believe arbitrary distinctions should be made between boys and girls. Nature causes their tastes to diverge quite easily enough; and while they are unconscious of such a difference, it is unwise to force it upon them. For girls to engage in out-door sports, and for boys to find pleasure in quiet play, even with dolls, is beneficial to both. Besides, the only way to discover what may be the bent of any mind is to open all the avenues of activity to the child, and see into which it naturally enters.
Marbles, tops, kites, and all games of dexterity, especially when accompanied with healthy exercise, are admirable. But children should be allowed to assist at least in making their own kites and balls. Pinewood and a jack-knife are better than all manufactured toys put together; and even before the age when these may be employed, it is possible to begin to educate children in the direction of making things.

But still more important and easy is it to provide entertainment which trains the powers of observation. Lead-pencils and paper, slates and pencils, give pleasure to very young children, and should be furnished them freely. If a child scrawls on the leaves of books, the remedy is to provide it with plenty of fair white paper, or with a pretty blank-book, and to praise its free use of the pencil there. A small magnifying-glass is a wonderful pleasure to a child. Nor is it difficult to interest very young children in the various natural objects around them. The youngster who is painfully taught, at three years, the difference between A and B, should rather be learning how to distinguish an oak from an elm, or a cricket from a grasshopper. In those cases (unhappily rare, as yet, among us) where the parents themselves are familiar with nature and natural science, it is astonishing how rapidly the children imbibe the& knowledge and the love of it.

Philosophical toys, so-called, are of no great benefit. Either they are quite incomprehensible to the young, or they demand reflection, without particularly stimulating observation. Their proper function is in the school-room.

To recapitulate in better order the hints thus given, we subjoin a list of toys which we would recommend as at once the most agreeable and the most profitable to children. The list is arranged in the order of advancing age, beginning with the time when the child is first able to play by itself. No account is made of sex ; but it is evident that the articles mentioned are not equally appropriate to both sexes. A proper choice should be made. Here is our catalogue : Soft ball, of bright color; blocks, not all of one size, but of various shapes and sizes, and with pictures; books containing pictures of animals, trees, and other familiar objects; a little toy cart, which can be loaded and unloaded, a pair of reins for playing horse ; a rocking-horse; paper dolls; lead-pencils; slate and pencils ; a magnifying-glass; marbles and tops; nine-pins; mineral specimens, and other objects illustrating natural history. All these may be given before a child learns to read. As soon as possible, the all-important jack-knife should be added, and, after that is done, the question of toys will take care of itself.

The prevailing evil at present is, that too many toys are given to children. A few well-chosen ones susceptible of varied use, are better than many costly but cumbrous and unfruitful contrivances. The children of the last generation, who grew up on one picture-book and a basketful of chips, got as much amusement, and more profit, than do the pampered little innocents of to-day.