Many years ago I found a small book in a charity shop, called
'520 Everyday Moneymaking Opportunities.'
It was printed early in the twentieth century, and contains a variety of ideas for the would-be entrepreneur, most of them ways of cheating the unwary purchaser,many of them harmful, and a large proportion utterly useless.
Here are a few(I have added bracketed comments):
Norman's Freckle Remover
This popular remedy is a lotion composed of a teaspoonful of hydrochloric acid mingled with a fluid ounce of rectified spirit and mixed with 8 fluid ounces of water.
(Possibly likely to remove skin with the freckles!)
Truman's Chilblain Cure
This lotion is simple oil of peppermint,disguised with some unimportant additions.
Willoughby's Oil for Rheumatism
This "wonderful" embrocation, over which thousands of pounds have been spent in advertising,is only 1part of turpentine to 2parts of olive oil,disguised with an unimportant addition.(Colouring?)
Giving Body to Milk
Milk from which the cream has been abstracted,or into which water has been mixed, may
be given the appearance of its normal consistency by stirring thereinto the following compound:
1 pound of powdered white sugar
1 pound of starch
Half a pound of flour
6 ozs.each of magnesia and arrowroot
Stir well,and keep in a dry place until used.
[At this time it was quite common to add foreign ingredients to household foodstuffs such as tea, and especially sugar(which often concealed sand!)]
The book also offers useful projects for the ambitious moneymaker;again,many were most unlikely to succeed,for a number of reasons. They include:
A visit to the docks of any of our large seaport towns will enable anyone to acquire a parrot brought thither by one of the sailors.In many instances the parrot will be unable to talk,and will, accordingly, be of but little value. When trained to talk,however, the value of the bird will be greatly enhanced,and the amount of labour involved will be amply compensated for by the profit thus secured.
( Six years of labour for the price of one parrot?!?! Not exactly profitable work!)
To Improve Wine by Electricity
Wines which are of such a low quality as to be almost worthless are transformed into good table wines by plunging into the vat two plates of silver or platinum to which are attached two wires of the same metal connected with an electric battery, which is kept continually working for a period of two to three weeks.
Beetle and Cockroach Powder
Preparations for the extinction of vermin and insects have brought fortunes to very many people. A preparation which proves very effective when sprinkled is made by mixing the following:
15Ibs.of liquorice root
(If this product ever killed anything,it would have been through diarrhoea!!!)
A really interesting read, and all for a shilling!