Monday, June 29, 2015

How to Stop Bleeding, 1596

One of those days.
(Wound Man, Wellcome Library, London)
"A very good Medicine to staunch bloud... Take a peece of Salt Biefe, (the leane onely) as much as will lye in the Wound, and lay the biefe in the Embres of the fire, and let it be thorough hote, and when it is hote, thrust it into the Wounde, and binde it fast, and it will foorthwith staunch the blood, & let it lye for a good space after in the Wounde, for the stopping of the bloud." 
A Rich Store-House or Treasury for the Diseased
Too manly for Band-Aids? Try barbecue.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to Improve Your Brain, 1596

Andreas Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica, 1555
Wellcome Library, London
A Rule to knowe what thinges are good and holosome for the Braine.
To eate Sage, but not overmuch,
To drinke Wine measurablie,
To keepe the Head warme,
To washe your Hands often,
To heare litle noise of Musicke or Singers,
To eate Mustarde & Pepper,
To smell the sauour of Red-roses,
& to washe the Temples of your Heade often with Rose-Water. 
These Thinges are ill for the Braine.
All manner of Braines,
Drunkennes,
To stand much bare-headed,
Overmuch Watching,
Overmuch Bathing,
Cheese,
Garlicke,
Overmuch Knocking or Noise,
& to smell a white Rose.
A Rich Store-House or Treasury for the Diseased 
 A bouquet of white roses: the floral equivalent of a concussion.

Friday, June 19, 2015

How to Stay Cool, 1723


"When the Sun is in its full Force, there is nothing more refreshing, or affords more Pleasure to Mankind, than cool Breezes, whether Natural or Artificial, which, provided they are moderate and constant, will invigorate the Spirits, and help the Health of the Body. Many of the Curious have already endeavour'd to purchase the pleasing Coolness I speak of, either in Grotto's or Pleasure-houses... The House, Fig. I. should, in my Opinion, be either Round or Polygonal... Fig II. Shews a Chain of Buckets, which may be continually kept working, by means of a Wheel cross the River, and will constantly supply the Cistern on the Top of the House; and the Water being once brought together in a Body, and deposited in a Bason above us, will by proper Pipes give us the Jets and Cascades we desire." 
Richard Bradley, A General Treatise of Husbandry and Gardening
Summer heat got you down? What you need is an indoor water park. Hello, pleasing Coolness!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How to Avoid Sunburn, 1756


Pierre-Thomas Le Clerc, "Polonaise" (1779), MFA
"Take Deer's Marrow, put it into a sufficient Quantity of Water with Wheat-Flour, and let them settle; then take some Ounces of what subsides to the Bottom and mix it well with a sufficient Quantity of the Whites of Eggs. Plaister your Face with the said Paste when you go to Bed at Night, and wash yourself the next Morning with warm Water. This Method is excellent to prevent Sunburn." 
Abdeker: Or, the Art of Preserving Beauty
The secret to a pasty complexion? Paste.

Monday, June 8, 2015

How to Avoid Bad Weather, 1660

Edward Topsell, The History of Four-Footed Beasts and Serpents (1658)
"Whosoever are defended by a skin of a River Horse called Hippotamus, are never touched by the Thunder... some say that if you hold a Looking-Glass against the Cloud that hangs over you, the Hayl will pass away:  also if you compass the place with the skin of an Hy├Žna, Crocodile, or Sea Calf, and hang the same up before the Doors of your house, for then the Hail will not fall." 
Johann Jacob Wecker, Eighteen Books of the Secrets of Art & Nature
Added bonus: nothing says "welcome!" like a crocodile skin nailed to your front door.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How to Choose a Spouse, 1879

Adelaide Claxton, Courting (1868)
"Bright red hair and a florid complexion indicate an excitable temperament. Such should marry the jet-black hair and the brunette type. The gray, blue, black or hazel eyes should not marry those of the same color. Where the color is very pronounced, the union should be with those of a decidedly different color. The very corpulent should unite with the thin and spare, and the short, thick-set should choose a different constitution... The quick-motioned, rapid-speaking person should marry the calm and deliberate. The warmly impulsive should unite with the stoical. The very fine-haired, soft and delicate-skinned should not marry those like themselves; and the curly should unite with the straight and smooth hair." 
Thomas E. Hill, Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms
Hey, baby. I'm a warmly impulsive rapid-speaker, and you are looking SO stoical.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How to Care for Your Dog, 1607

Topsell, The History of Four-Footed Beasts (1658)
"It is the nature of a Dogge when he maketh water, to holde vp his legge... the females doe it for the most part sitting, yet some of the genereous spirits do also hold vp their legges. They euer smell to the hinder partes of one another... when they lie downe they turne round in a circle, two or three times together, which they do for no other cause, but that they may the more commodiously lie round, and from the wind. They sleepe as doth a man, and therein dreame very often, as may appeare by their often barking in their sleepe... 
They cannot endure Wine, but bread sopped in Wine they deuoure, dryed flesh & bread in Milke is their safest foode, if Cummin bee now and then mixed in their bread, they are not much troubled with wind in their bellyes. If you put a little Oyle in their Water to drinke or lappe, they will proue more able and swift to runne. If he refuse and loath his meate, take a little whot bread and giue it him before meat, or dip broune bread in vineger and so presse or squise the liquor thereof into his nose, and it will ease him." 
Edward Topsell, The Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes
The gassy dog: man's hilarious, appalling best friend since forever.