Vintage and Steampunk

Read A (Vintage) Book!

I took yesterday and today off work to catch up with life and finish getting ready for World Steam Expo! Been really nice. Yesterday I slept in, then met up with a friend for lunch at Chipotle (LOVE their shredded beef tacos and guacamole). We then ambled over to Curious Books to take advantage of a huge credit she had from a previous used book dropoff. Friend only used about $20 of the credit, then tossed the remaining amount at me – about $55! Woo! So, I indulged in some sweet little rarities that are Relevant To My Interests (and also great thought-fodder and info for my Steam and Dieselpunk projects). I found these three used-but-decent little hardbacks, and paid a whopping total of $7.92 for all of them, after using up Friend’s store credit:

“The Ethics of Opium” by Ellen N. La Motte – 1924. This little gem breaks down the total revenue of many countries and then shows how much of that revenue came from opium. Every country gets a chapter with the dry figures, and then a nice wallow in critique and uppity attitude towards the country exporting the ‘chests’ of opium. For example, here’s how the chapter on Japan ends: The admission as to smuggling made by the Japanese delegate at Geneva, together with perpetual seizures of contraband morphia and opium, leaves no doubt that Japan is the active center for a huge illicit drug distribution in the Far East. This it (sic) too bad. All sincere friends of Japan deeply deplore this. Japan, with her great traditions behind her and her responsibility as a great Oriental nation, cannot afford to damage her prestige in this manner. She should not imitate nor make herself a willing cat’s-paw for the nastiest traffic the Christian nations go in for.”

“Food and Clothing” – 1914. by Leno Osborne, who apparently was the supervisor of the Department of Home Economics, for the Oklahoma City public schools. It’s a small course-book filled with all sorts of practical advice on cooking and clothing. (throw the coffee grounds, an eggwhite and some salt in a pot of cold water, bring it to a boil for three minutes. Strain. YUM.) Other vital-to-know recipes include divinity, candied orange peel and creamed dried beef. Them’s good eatin! And here’s your inspiration from the Textile section: The woman who feels herself entirely capable of managing her weekly washing has solved a big problem in home economics. The satisfaction of having pure, clean, sweet smelling clothes for the family, and the house, is worth all the troubles of “wash day.”

“Health Habits” from a series on physiology and hygiene – 1920. Co-written by Professor M.V. O’Shea of the University of Wisconsin and J.H. Kellogg (yes, of corn flake fame), credited as the “Supervisor of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Author of “Man, The Masterpiece,” etc.” And from this book, something to make you totally paranoid of dust: It is important that we try to breathe the air which we know has the least dust in it. Men of science who have made a study of this matter have found that house dust is especially dangerous to health. It often helps to bring on those dreaded diseases, pneumonia and tuberculosis, so often, indeed, that these diseases are called house diseases. It has been found that the very best way to cure them is to live out-of-doors, – to breathe outdoor air all the time.

Now, if you will excuse me, I must flee for my life to the great outdoors, boil some coffee over a campfire and tend to my poppy garden.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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