1914 Postum Advertisement

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

Friday, April 24, 1914: Didn’t do anything hardly.

Source; Kimball's Dairy Farmer Magazine (March 1, 1914)

Source; Kimball’s Dairy Farmer Magazine (March 1, 1914)

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share a fun 1914 ad for Postum. Can you still buy this old-fashioned coffee substitute? I haven’t seen it in years. I wonder if it really was better for us than coffee.

Directions for Making Old-time Cleaners

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

Thursday, April 23, 1914: Ditto—Also went up to McEwensville this evening.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

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


Are you still doing the spring housecleaning? At least you got to go to town in the evening. Did you visit one of your friends?

A hundred years ago people often made their own cleaning solutions rather than buying commercial products. Here are the directions in an old book:

Carpets, to Clean

Ingredients—1/2 pound of washing soda, 1 pound of yellow soap, 1 ounce of nitric acid, 1 gallon of water

Mode—Melt the soap and soda in the oven; then mix with the water and add the acid; with a clean scrubbing brush wash the carpet from seam to seam with this, doing only a small piece at a time, and rinsing and drying it as quickly as possible.

Floor Cloth (Linoleum), to Clean

Ingredients- 1/2 ounce of beeswax, turpentine

Mode- Shred the beeswax into a saucer, pour ever enough turpentine to cover it, and set in the oven until melted. Wash the floor cloth in the ordinary way, wait till dry, and rub lightly over with the wax and turpentine, then with a dry cloth.

Another way in which linoleum or floor cloth may be cleaned is by rubbing it over with milk when dried after washing.

Furniture, Polished, to Clean

Ingredients—1 ounce of white wax, 3 ounces of beeswax, 1 ounce of curd soap, 1 pint of turpentine, 1 pint of water boiled and allowed to get cold again.

Mode—Mix all the ingredients together, bottle, shake often, and do not use for two days. Dust the furniture well, rub the mixture on with a flannel, then polish with a duster and afterwards with an old silk handkerchief. A good furniture cream brought ready for use may be found to save trouble.

 Looking-Glass, to Clean

First take off fly stains or any other soils with a sponge damped with spirits of wine, or any other spirit, then dust over the glass with fine sifted powder blue and polish with an old silk handkerchief or very soft dry cloth.

Paint, to Clean

Dirty paint should have the dust removed first with the bellows, afterwards with a brush; it should never be wiped with a cloth, and the great secrets in cleaning paint are not to use much water and to dry quickly.

The water used should have a little soda or pearlash dissolved in it; and after dipping the flannel used in this, it should be wrung almost dry before being applied to the paint. Directly this is done (a small piece only being done at a time, unless two are at work, and one can rinse as the other washes) it must be rinsed with clean water and dried with a clean cloth.

Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery Book (1902)

Hundred-Year-Old Labor-Saving Cleaning Equipment and Devices

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

Wednesday, April 22, 1914:  Spent part of the day on my knees. Now I don’t mean I was trying to be good. I was cleaning house.

1914-12-28-aFor Wiping Up Wood or Tile Floors

This long handle has a row of rubber teeth on the crossbar at the end. When a wet cloth is laid on any floor this handle is used to push it, as the rubber teeth grip the cloth, and guide it over the surface. It makes the wiping up of many floors a very simple matter, as it is light, easily pushed and forces the cloth close to baseboards.

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


Whew, spring housecleaning can be hard work. Maybe you need some of the new labor-saving cleaning equipment featured in the December, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

According to the article these are “the newest labor-savers for women—and not one of them costs more than fifty cents.”

1914-12-28-bA Dustpan that Saves Sweeping

No need for a housekeeper to stoop for every paper and match provided she has this long-handled sanitary dustpan. The pan opens as it is set down, and closes as it is lifted. The sweepings need not be emptied until the pan is full. It can be carried, full, on one arm while both hands carry other articles.

1914-12-28-cWashes the Windows Faster

In this device are combined water pail, sponge, and drying cloth. There is a shallow reservoir of metal, with a sponge on one side and a rubber “squee-gee” on the other. The whole is mounted on a convenient handle and is especially useful for outside window cleaning.

Influence of Seasonal Variation on Health

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

Monday, April 20, 1914:  There really isn’t much to write about.



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

Yesterday, I shared information from a book published in 1914 about the relationship between weather and health. Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share some more from the book about the relationship seasonal variations and health.

At low temperatures, but more especially at high temperatures, the relative humidity of the atmospheres plays a most important role in determining the healthfulness of the climate of a locality.

The seasonal variations alone in the temperate zone are of great influence upon mortality aside from the general climatic conditions of a locality.

Mild winters and cool summers both lower the mortality, the former exerting a special influence upon the aged, and the latter upon the young, more particularly the infantile population. A cool, damp summer is always accompanied by a low mortality.

Season has also an important influence upon the character of the prevalent diseases—intestinal diseases being most prevalent in summer and respiratory diseases in winter.

The Principles of Hygiene (1914) by D.H. Bergey, MD

The Effect of Weather on Health

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

Monday, April 20, 1914:  There wasn’t much coming this way except the rain.


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

This was the second rainy day in a row. According to a book published in 1914, The Principles of Hygiene by D.H. Bergey, MD, there was a relationship between weather and health.

The Influence of Precipitation on Health

The immediate effect of a fall of rain is to cleanse and purify the air from dust of all sorts, organic and inorganic, and from micro-organisms. So far the influence of rain is decidedly beneficial to health; but when rainfall is so excessive as largely to increase the humidity of the air, its hygienic effect becomes merged in that of humidity.

The Influence of Humidity on Health

If the relative humidity be increased, there will be a hindrance to the escape of water from the body; and when this condition is combined with a high temperature the heat is far more oppressive than when the atmosphere is dry and allows free evaporation. On the other hand, a moist, cold atmosphere is far more distressing than when the air is dry, and there is but little movement.

The Effects of Wind Upon Health

It is complex and not well defined how wind affects health. All wind favors evaporation, and therefore loss of heat from the body. Winds that are and moist are mild and relaxing; dry, cool winds are bracing; but cold winds are penetrating, and considered dangerous to persons of delicate constitutions.

Sunlight as a Disinfectant

Sunlight is an efficient disinfectant. This agent is constantly acting and, no doubt, removes most of the detrimental agents on surfaces exposed to the sun. Most bacteria grow best in the dark.


TIZ Foot Soak Advertisement

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

Sunday, April 19, 1914:   Was storm staid at church this afternoon. Had on a pair of new shoes and no rubbers, but managed to get home all the same.

Source: Milton Evening Standard (April 2, 1914)

Source: Milton Evening Standard (April 2, 1914)

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


I hope your shoes weren’t ruined. Do your feet ache from walking home with wet feet? Maybe you’d feel better if you soaked your feet in TIZ.

Parcel Post Packages Sold at White Elephant Sale

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

Saturday, April 18, 1914:  Went to a social this evening up at town. Parcel post packages were sold at an auction. I bought a package, which, when unwrapped disclosed a handkerchief. That wasn’t a misfit, but there were some that were more. Who ever heard of a man wearing a sun bonnet or an apron? Well that’s what some of them got.

Milton Evening Standard (April 28, 1914)

Source: Milton Evening Standard (April 28, 1914)

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

Wow, occasionally I just tingle, when a post pulls together like this one did. I never would have guessed that I’d find a newspaper story about this diary entry—

Several weeks ago, I was browsing through old Milton Evening Standard microfilms at the library looking for interesting stories and advertisements that I could use on days when Grandma didn’t write much—and suddenly this column jumped out at me. Grandma attended the party described in the paper!

Parcel post in the US began in 1913—and apparently it was such a cool thing that people had fundraisers with White Elephant sales—but with a twist. Instead of bringing the wrapped items to the party, they mailed them via parcel post.

Two days before this entry, Grandma mailed several packages that apparently were sold at the party:

Went up to town this afternoon to mail some parcel post packages. Oh dear me, and it cost eleven cents . . .

April 16, 1914


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