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Friday Funny or Friday Fright? Medicine in 1857

1857 Medical Electrician advertisement, appendix- no page, in Smiths Brooklyn Directory for yr ending May 1 1857, via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)
1857 Medical Electrician advertisement, appendix- no page, in “Smiths Brooklyn Directory for year ending May 1 1857,” via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)

Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

I hate today’s cooky cutter medical care and insurance desk jockeys telling a doctor what they can prescribe, operate on, etc., but we really have it good today despite all that. So many terrible diseases have been eradicated (though some are coming back, distressingly) and with all the wonderful tests and medications available, especially antibiotics, our lives and longer and more comfortable than those of our ancestors.

The above ad was found in an 1857 Brooklyn, New York City Directory, when I was searching for our Springsteen family. They were not there, as expected, since they had moved to Indianapolis about 1853, but there were interesting ads that I have been sharing. I don’t know if this therapy was available when they were in Brooklyn, or if it was available in Indianapolis, but I hope they did not partake of this cure!

A few notes to help understand the ad:

N. B. stands for “nota bene,” Latin for ‘note well.’ It was used to point out very important aspects. (Still used today in some circles. The medieval form was a hand with finger pointing, and we have that today in emojis!)

Electricity in various forms was a new ‘toy’ in 1857 and they weren’t sure how to use it. Many a diabolical-liking apparatus was used to shock people into sanity, reduce ‘nervous’ diseases, etc.

“Sulfur baths” at “Sulfur Springs” were used to cure diseases for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years. Having an “Electro-Medicated and Sulfur Vapor Bath” (were they combined, or two separate treatments?) available prevented sick persons from having to travel, often far, to partake of the natural cure.

“Dropsy” is a swelling we call ‘edema’ today, especially that caused by congestive heart failure. A big shock to the heart could definitely make it beat differently.

1857 Medications for sale, page 241, in Smiths Brooklyn Directory for yr ending May 1 1857, via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)
1857 Medications for sale, page 241, in “Smiths Brooklyn Directory for year ending May 1 1857,” via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)

If one was afraid of the Medical Electrician, one could always go to the local druggist or apothecary to get something to cure whatever ailment was a problem. Drugs, of course, were made from plant extracts (before Big Pharma), and pharmacy textbooks even into the 1950s taught how to gather and process plants to make effective medicines, and compounding them was a part of a druggist’s training. Homeopathic medicines today still use some remedies such as these- cloves in a toothache medicine is one example- but thankfully our drug ads cannot guarantee a complete cure as these did in 1857.

 

Can you imagine what Jeff and Ann Connor Springsteen would think of our tv ads for Cialis today??

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. See citations with images.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
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Funny Friday: Did the Springsteens use a ‘mangle’?

1857 Ad for an improved mangle, page 112, in Smiths Brooklyn Directory for yr ending May 1 1857, via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)
1857 Ad for an improved mangle, page 112, in “Smiths Brooklyn Directory for year ending May 1 1857,” via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)

Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

It must have been one of those days, or I had been researching waaaaay too long (probably the latter). Seeing this ad while I was searching page by page for Springsteen ancestors in the 1857 Brooklyn City Directory, it just hit me funny. A ‘mangle’??

Even though I read old books and history and love archaic terms, I had never heard of a mangle before. This certainly looked like one could get a hand or long hair ‘mangled’ in it, and I knew that was true because my grandmother had a wringer washer and we kids played with it when she wasn’t looking. I had long hair and, well, we won’t go there…

I had never seen a wringer with a table attached though, nor one so large, so time for some research.

Wikipedia to the rescue, which is hard for me to say, but I have found it is more accurate than I used to give it credit. Wikipedia says the machines are called ‘mangles’ in the UK, but ‘wringers’ here in the US. Looks like they were called ‘mangles’ here for some time too- the British influence on our country was strong.

The earliest and most simple mangle was a cylinder that was wrapped with a wet cloth that had just been laundered, like a tablecloth or sheet, and rolled with a flat board pressed along the top to get the excess water out before line drying, or to remove wrinkles. (Our colonial ancestors probably used one.) The wringer for a washer was invented in the 1840s, , which would have saved women a lot of time. A wringer would have really helped in the winter, too, when clothing and household items had to be hung indoors because of inclement weather- getting most of the water out before hanging meant your head would not be dripped on while eating dinner, sewing, etc.

Heat was later added to the cylinders to help dry and press cloth. My mother and grandmother both had mangles, though we called them ‘ironers.’ They are large machines that put off a lot of steam and heat. A foot pedal or knee lift raised or lowered one of the rollers so that you could put a piece of cloth in, then lower the cylinder and iron away. My mother was SO good at using hers- she could iron a man’s shirt or pants with it! Really fast, too.

Mangles are not really used anymore except in commercial applications, such as hotels that dry and press their long tablecloths on them. Smaller mangles, such as those of my mother and grandmother, can be seen today in smaller laundries like the neighborhood dry cleaners.

Sure seems like the above mangle would have taken up a lot of room, even the smaller one. The table likely folded up, but that would still be a lot of space required. I wonder if Jefferson and Anna (Connor) Springsteen had a ‘mangle’ in their house in 1850s Brooklyn?

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Wikipedia: Mangle- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangle_(machine)

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
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Friday Funny: Ale for the Springsteens?

1857 Home Brewed Ale advertisement, appendix-no page, in Smiths Brooklyn Directory for yr ending May 1 1857, via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)
1857 Home Brewed Ale advertisement, appendix-no page number, in “Smiths Brooklyn Directory for year ending May 1 1857,” via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)

Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

Although the Jefferson and Anna Connor Springsteen family had moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, before the date of this ad, there were likely other brewers in Brooklyn, New York that offered the same beverage when they resided in Brooklyn. Jefferson ran a restaurant at the Fulton Market as well, so he may have stocked this or other ales.

Water was not always safe to drink, even that coming out of city pipes. Children were given beer from very early on to reduce their risk of parasites and infections from local water. “Family ales” would have had a lower alcohol content, but the alcohol and the heating during the brewing process would have killed off much of the disease-inducing microorganisms found in drinking water. Even Puritan children drank beer!

Benjamin Franklin loved beer. In fact, his quote that, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” can be found on t-shirts in pubs today. The advertisement notes that the ale listed is “…strongly recommended by Medical men…” and “…calculated to strengthen and invigorate the system…” This ad is persuasion as to what a smart purchase this would be for a family in 1857.

Since the Springsteen family probably was originally from Germany, and Anna Connor from Ireland, plus Jeff had lived in frontier areas, the chances were high that ales/beer were a part of their larder.

 

See? What’s old is new again- “Craft Brews” in 1857!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. See reference with image.

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.

Friday Funny: Did the Springsteens Hire a House & Ship Plumber?

1857 William P. Sweet House & Ship Plumber advertisement, appendix, in Smiths Brooklyn Directory for yr ending May 1 1857, via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)
1857 William P. Sweet House & Ship Plumber advertisement, appendix, in “Smiths Brooklyn Directory for year ending May 1 1857”, via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)

Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

Checking through a run of city directories to confirm where Jefferson Springsteen and his wife Anna Connor Springsteen were living, I didn’t find the family in 1857 in Brooklyn but did find some delightful ads that gave me a chuckle.  Although the Springsteens had moved from Brooklyn, New York to Indianapolis, Indiana about 1853, it is possible that these plumbing companies had been in business when they were still in the city. (I believe they also had relatives still in the city then, but still have a lot more collateral kin research.) In the meantime, I thought I would share these ads as a plumber they may have called- with a young family of seven people in the household and no disposable diapers, they probably needed a plumber at some point!

1857 R. R. Coggin House & Ship Plumber advertisement, page 17, in Smiths Brooklyn Directory for yr ending May 1 1857, via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)
1857 R. R. Coggin House & Ship Plumber advertisement, page 17, in “Smiths Brooklyn Directory for year ending May 1 1857,” via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)

The Springsteens lived only blocks from the East River and the Navy Pier. With shipping being such a huge industry in the port city of New York and environs, it seems logical to find the combination of house and ship plumber. After all, it’s all pipes, right?

R. C. & A. Scrimgeour Plumber advertisement, page 267, in Smiths Brooklyn Directory for yr ending May 1 1857, via InternetArchive.
1857 R. C. & A. Scrimgeour Plumber advertisement, page 267, in “Smiths Brooklyn Directory for year ending May 1 1857,” via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)

Apparently there were some plumbers who only worked on residences and commercial buildings, or maybe it was a given that if  you were a plumber, you didn’t need to be specific as to whether the plumbing was located on land or water. It was just a job.

 

Our ancestors are more than names, dates, and places. Seeing images of the minutiae of their lives helps us to understand them better, and make connections to our lives today.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. See references with images.

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.

Friday Funny: A Portable Forge for Blacksmiths, Gunsmiths, and… DENTISTS???

Portable Forge and Bellows Advertisement in Smiths Brooklyn Directory for yr ending May 1 1857, page 18. via InternetArchive.
Portable Forge and Bellows Advertisement in Smiths Brooklyn Directory for yr ending May 1 1857, page 18. via InternetArchive. (Click to enlarge.)

Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

Well, maybe “not funny, hah ha” as my parents and grandparents would have said, but it does seem funny in this day to think that dentists would have needed a forge back in 1857. It makes sense though, when one realizes there are still metal fillings and gold inlays used in dental work. Having that wonderful power source called electricity makes it much easier for dentists in 2015.

Our Springsteen ancestors lived in Brooklyn just before this time- we know Jefferson Springsteen and Anna Connor Springsteen were there, and likely Jeff’s father and maybe siblings or cousins. (Anna’s family possibly too, though she was our immigrant ancestor in that line. She is very hard to trace because of her name and sex.) They may have visited a dentist with a forge out back!

Can you imagine sitting in the dentist’s chair, having him walk out, but instead of going to the next room to check on another patient, he goes out to the forge to create your new tooth or filling?? Think of the heat, smoke, noise, and fine dust of a forge, and the sulfur and other smells- no wonder people were afraid to go to the dentist!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Smiths Brooklyn Directory for yr ending May 1 1857, page 18. via InternetArchive.

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.