Around the House – Water-proof Cloth

I find these directions for water-proof cloth interesting, as well as their uses.

Transparent and Water-proof Cloth – To every quart of raw linseed oil, add half a pint of copal varnish and two ounces of sugar of lead. Mix well together and apply with a brush. This mixture applied to thin sheeting, answers a good purpose in place of glass, for hot-beds, letting in plenty of light, excluding cold and wet equally well, and protecting the young plants from the hot breath of the old shiner, which proves often time fatal to them. (The Genesee Farmer, April 1860)

 To Make Cloth Waterproof  – Take half on ounce of isinglass (Russian is best), put it into one pound of rain water, and boil until dissolved; take one ounce of alum, put it into two pounds of water, and boil till it is dissolved; take a quarter of an ounce of white soap, and one pound of rain water, and boil till it is dissolved. After each of these ingredients has been separately dissolved, strain them separately through a piece of linen; afterwards mix them well together in a pot, put it on the fire again till it simmers, then take it off, and while thus near boiling, dip a brush into it, and apply it to the wrong side of the cloth intended to be waterproof.

The cloth must be spread out on a table during the operation, and remain there until it is dry; after it is dry must be brushed on the wrong side against the grain; and then dipping the brush in clear water, pass it lightly over, and leave it again dry.

After that, the gloss caused by the application of the ingredients can be taken off.

Three days after the operation has been done, the cloth will be impervious to water but not air. (The Workwoman’s Guide)

You can also find an expanded description of water-proof cloth in Thomas Webster’s An Encyclopaedia of Domestic Economy.

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Published in: on June 22, 2013 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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