The American Pictorial Home Book
or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia - online book

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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General History tells us that all nations in the remotest ages possessed great veneration for water. The waters of the Nile were a special object of adoration among the Egyptians; they offered prayers and made prayers to this fertilizing and life-giving stream; the Scythians worshipped the Danube; the Persians deemed it as sacred for them to wash their hands in the vitalizing fluid; the Greeks and Romans erected altars and temples to their fountains and streams, which were remarkable for their beauty, their delicacy, and architectural embellishments. They appointed officers to keep watch and ward over the waters of their Nile. The purity of the waters was to them an object of special care. The duty of these officers was to clean out these fountains or reservoirs, and to keep them in order, that the water might be perfectly pure and trans­parent. Officers of this nature were appointed over all the Grecian cities. But the Romans surpassed other cities in the splendor of their aqueducts, which their extraordinary remains show. More than half a million hogsheads of water were conveyed daily into Rome by more than 10,000 small pipes not 1-3 of an inch in diam-etor. The water was received in large basins, above which were monuments of architectural splendor, and these basins supplied other subterranean conduits connected with various quarters of the city, and there were small reservoirs, which received water for cer­tain streets for their exclusive use, and through their own taps. There were also large pipes to conduct the water off from the city, which which was not drinkable. The basins that received this were in extensive enclosures, and from which the cattle were watered. This also furnished the needful supply of water in case of fire, and here also the people washed their linen.
To Purify Water.—Throw into a pail of water one or two pow­dered bitter almonds. They do not harden the water like alum.
Drinking Water.—Persons who drink little water will be stronger and bear fatigue much better. Use of water to excess is of no benefit to the health. It effects the skin, the kidneys, the bowels and lungs.
To Clear Water in Five Minutes.—(Dr. Hall.)—Put into a pail of water as much alum, in powder, as will rest on a dime.
To Clarify Muddy Water for Washing.—A lump of alum as large as a hen's egg, dissolved in a tub of muddy water, will clear it nicely for washing purposes. It also renders the clothes less liable to take fire; or, a handful of flour or meal thrown into the tub of muddy water awhile before using it, say the night previous. In the morning it will be found beautifully clear.