Friday, May 13, 2005

Many uses of Gasoline in 1909

As previously promised, here is a description of uses for gasoline from "Household Discoveries" circa 1909.

1) To destroy ants nests by injecting into the nest
2) To clean bathtubs and washbowls in a bathroom.
3) To eliminate bed bugs by washing down the mattress with gasoline on a sponge and by washing down the beadstead with the stuff.
4) To freshen faded carpets by going over it with a broom or whisk broom moistened with gasoline.
5) To polish copper kettles by dipping a cloth in gasoline and sprinkling bath brick or pumice on it.
6) To wash delicate fabrics in such as silk or curtains.
7) To wash woollen fabrics in and goatskin rugs.
8) To wash floor coverings with to remove fleas from them.
9) To wash gloves. Wearing them on the hands, gloves can be washed in gasoline the same way as washing your hands.
10) To repell moths by soaking cloth in gasoline.
11) To remove oil stains from marble by mixing with chalk or whiting.
12) To remove paint from woodwork.
13) To clean your sewing machine.
14) To remove grease from a stove.
15) To clean upholstered furniture by saturating with gasoline and scrubbing stained areas with a brush.
16) To add to water for washing windows.

Of course I have already mentioned in an earlier post how gasoline tanks were buried next to houses and the vapor fanned into pipes for gas lighting and gas stoves.

In many of these uses gasoline can be substituted with kerosene, benzine or naptha.

Who'd of thunk it!

I guess it wasn't wise to smoke on wash day......


naladahc said...

Distilled petroleum. Is there anything it can't do??? =)

Greg said...

I have some advertisements for gasoline vaporizers for gas lighting. These would have been in the basement. They would have a large weight that would be reset periodically like a grandfather clock. The weight would compress and vaporize the gas to be used for lighting and cooking. There is one of these contraptions in the Smithsonian. I have heard of carbide tanks buried in the back yard. In these you mix carbide crystals and water to produce acetylene gas for lighting and cooking. By far, the biggest gas used for lighting was coal gas, also called “Town Gas”. There were more than 50,000 coal gas plants built in this country over a 125 year period.

Kasmira said...

I'm surprised gasoline wasn't prescribed as a cure for the common cold! It seems to be good for just about everything else.

Guess gas prices must have been lower back then.

Anonymous said...

I'm just thinking how "high" everyone would be on laundry/cleaning days! I get a headache from walking behind a lawn mower. :)

Derek said...

and imagine the smell of the bathroom after cleaning the tub and sink. And if you had a septic system, it would accumulate outside. I can smell the fuel oil in the soil where the oil tank used to be buried, and it was removed over a year ago. I guess they spilt some when they removed it. It was before we moved in.

Gary said...

It is my understanding that gasoline was a by product of kerosene production. Kerosene is actually diesel fuel now. No one really knew what to do with it in the late 1800s. At one time it was sold as medicine but I can't remember what for. If it wasn't for the invention of the internal combustion engine it may still be used for washing clothes! After WWI many soldiers came back with the ability to drive, having learned in Europe so the automobile took off and the rest is history...

K said...

Isn't the smell of gasoline an additive so you can detect it? I wonder if it had that yet in 1909?

Anonymous said...

re:the last post, they added scent to natural gas so it could be smelled/detected, not gasoline. also, body odor was more of an issue back then so gasoline was probably a nice alternative at that time.

also,, many of the uses sound like a real good way to burn down your house!

nevertheless, thanks for the tips, I have about 30 gallons of old gas, maybe I will keep a gallon...maybe for my hair!

Nora said...

I was just reading an old book from the early 1900's where a woman says she was having her hair cleaned with petrol and it caught fire!

Dr. This N. That - christ.seen said...

Gasoline back the may have smelled a bit different, having lead & a MUCH higher/pure octane which in turn made it even MORE flammable if you can imagine. Many people enjoy gas smell today even...