Cut and Wound Care, Circa 1911

15-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, February 19, 1911: I went to Sunday school this morning and staid for church. While washing the dishes at noon (that is one of my daily duties) I cut a gash in my finger. It is so excruciatingly sore. It seems as if I am always getting some burns, cuts, or bruises.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later: 

In Grandma’s day many homes had a copy of the Compendium of Every Day Wants: General Information and a Thousand and One Facts (1908). For cuts and wounds the Compendium recommended:

CUTS AND WOUNDS.—There are two kinds of cuts or wounds—incised, which means cut into, or lacerated, which means torn.

The first kind are usually not so dangerous and are treated in proportion to their size and depth. These generally heal of themselves. Clots formed on a cut should not be washed away. If there is not much bleeding, wipe away any impurities and bandage. A small piece of adhesive plaster is all that is necessary for household cuts.

Lacerated wounds have ragged edges, and the soft parts about them often will be found bruised and torn. These are most frequently caused by railway accidents, machinery and falling timbers. Treatment.—Cleanse the wound with warm water, wet a cloth over it and bandage lightly.

2 Responses

  1. [...] The sore thumb mentioned in the entry refers to the finger that Grandma cut six days earlier. [...]

  2. [...] on February 6 when she burned it on the wood or coal stove at school while horsing around. And, on February 19 she’d cut her finger while doing [...]

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