Chickens generally lay more eggs at some times of the year than others. Historically there was a plethora of eggs during the Spring, and they could be purchased very inexpensively – and eggs were much scarcer and more costly during the winter months.
As a result, people often preserved eggs using the water glass method. They mixed water and water glass (hydrated lime) together in large stoneware crocks or jars. Eggs were then placed in the liquid to preserve them.
According to a 1920 advertisement by the Stoneware Manufacturers Association (who would have guessed that there was a Stoneware Manufacturers Association) which represented the manufacturers of the crocks:
Eggs properly preserved in stoneware jars will keep fresh as the day they were laid for 8 to 12 months.
When I googled water glass eggs, I discovered that some people still use this method to preserve eggs. For example, Homesteading Family and Timber Creek Farmer each have posts about how to use the water glass method.
62 thoughts on “1920 Egg Preservation Method Advertisement”
I think I’ll still stick with the fridge though.
I will, too.
Interesting, but I dunno. I’m too modern for this idea, I guess.
It’s one of those things that I might experiment with if I owned chickens and had lots of eggs; but, since I don’t, I think that I’ll just buy them at the store and store them in the refrigerator.
Interesting! I just freeze my extra eggs if I have too many. I scramble them ,marking how many eggs are in a freezer bag. It works great for baking or just plain scrambled eggs. Also I keep hens that have hatched at different times of the year, ducks also help out. So I have eggs pretty much all year. Spring time definitely produces the most eggs though.
What a great idea! Until I read your comment, I hadn’t realized that eggs could be frozen.
Saving eggs in water is most interesting. I’m not tempted, though.
This ad provides an interesting window into the history of how foods were preserved years ago.
I’m thankful keeping food fresh is easier these days.
So am I.
Very cool! I’m going to check those sites out.
I found it really fascinating that some people still use this technique to preserve eggs. It apparently works well.
You know me and my eggs…I take eggs very seriously. 😛
I haven’t heard of this before, so it’s all new to me. I know that my two egg friends have way fewer eggs in the winter, and stop laying altogether during little extreme cold snaps, so eggs are more precious that time of year. This time of year, they are both asking me if I need more eggs because they have so many! I can’t say that I’m tempted to do this, but I really am curious how they would turn out. Perhaps I’ll pass this on to one of my egg people!
I’m also curious about what eggs are like that are preserved this way. If someone offered me a few eggs preserved in this manner, I’d definitely give them a try.
With a bit of hesitation, I would definitely try them anyway!
A bit of hesitation would definitely be appropriate. 🙂
There are many ways of preserving eggs here…I haven’t heard of this method though although limewater is used for other purposes…Interesting post Sheryl I will check your links out 🙂
Now I’m curious about what other uses lime water has. 🙂
As am I, Sheryl… it is used to firm fruit here and also used with betel nuts and rubbed on the gums(an)ancient tradition but what else I have yet to discover 🙂
Fascinating – I knew that betel nuts are often sprinkled with a white liquid and then wrapped in something else before chewing, but I hadn’t realized that the white liquid was lime water.
Yes sometimes it is and apparently one has to be careful not that it is my intent to try but industrial lime can be used…so caution is advised.
Isn’t it amazing how we managed before modern appliances, like with a spring house, or cellar? The stoneware/egg advertisement is also very attractive!
It’s really interesting how people kept food from spoiling in days gone by. I also was surprised by how colorful and eye-catching this ad was. There are relatively few color advertisements in hundred-year-old magazines – and this is definitely is one of the brightest I’ve seen. It may me think that the Stoneware Manufacturers Association must have had a lot of money.
Tins used to buldge disclosing bad process. Wonder if there is a tell tale here, or if, an egg that doesn’t smell bad is for sure, good to go.
I sometimes use the water test if I’m not sure about an egg. I put cold water in a pan, and then put the egg into it. If it lays flat on the the bottom of the pan, it is very fresh. If it stands on one end at the bottom of the pan, it is less fresh, but still good to eat. However, if ii floats, it is not good.
I did not know that!
I wonder if this method still applies to eggs stored in water, as I *think * I remember that this method relies on the permeability of the shell allowing air to transfer into the egg as it ages.
hmm. . . I don’t know. You’re probably right. I haven’t researched this.
My mother has several crocks – and at one time there was a lid for one of them… I always thought the lid was for making sauerkraut but I see there were other uses! Who knew?!
Until I saw this old ad I also thought that crocks were used mainly for making sauerkraut (and pickles) .
It absolutely floors me how consistent the price of eggs has been over the past hundred years. When I did a google search to adjust for inflation it said that $1.10 in 1920 adjusted for inflation would be $14.96 today. Insane.
Whew, that’s a lot to pay for a dozen eggs. No wonder people wanted to preserve eggs in the spring to use during the winter when there were fewer fresh eggs available.
I never heard of this before ~ fascinating!
I’m glad you liked this post. I also thought that it was interesting.
Wow, I didn’t know you could eat an egg that was over eight months old! I’m always careful to use mine within the “sell by” date, or at least a week or so afterwards.
I definitely look at the “sell by” date when purchasing eggs, and try to buy the ones with the date that is the furthest out.
It never ceases to amaze me how clever the folks were back then at preserving food. I wonder if they would taste much different preserved by this method. I’m going to go to the links right now and see what they wrote about it. This is very interesting. Makes me wish I has some eggs to spare to experiment with. 😉
I’m also intrigued by this method, and wish that I had some eggs to experiment with.
Never heard of water glass. I am impressed that the article assumed one would know what it was.
It apparently was a relatively common technique a hundred years ago.
I guess since they didn’t need to explain it.
I’m finished.. who would have thought they could last that long.. 😉
I sure wouldn’t have thought that eggs would last that long. I learn so many things from doing research for this blog. 🙂
They certainly had to be creative in those days..
Never washing but wiping with vinegar caught my attention! Who knew you could freeze eggs…xxx
I learned a lot as a result of doing this post – both from the directions in the advertisement and from readers’ comments.
Thanks for posting. Good to know
It’s nice to hear that you liked this post.
I stumbled upon this method recently from a YouTube video of someone who still does it. Then I went down a rabbit hole on the potential health concerns of the chemical used… and probably won’t be following this method should I have an overrun of eggs someday.
It’s fascinating that people still use this method – but, similarly to you, I’ll probably just stick with fresh eggs.
Sheryl, I did not know this about chickens and how they vary when they lay eggs. This is an amazing piece of trivia on how to preserve eggs.
I have a vague memory of once reading that the tradition of Easter eggs began because people had so many eggs in the spring.
My chicken farmer sister enjoyed this article tremendously 🙂
It’s wonderful to hear that she liked it.
I vaguely remember my grandparents using something like this. Recently, I bought 5 dozen eggs from Costco. Fortunately, there was room in my refrigerator for them and now I feel more secure about having food for isolating myself for the next 2 months. We can learn a lot from our ancestors who had to be resourceful, for sure.
this really amazing this post. thanks for sharing us. i like it.
Going to have to try this one!
I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it goes well.