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Frank E. Ellwanger Commonplace Book, 1906-1914

Held by Special Collections, Linderman Library
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015

Call No.: SC MS 0169
1 v., 22 cm.



A curious compendium of early 20th Century memorabilia compiling miscellaneous household tidbits of knowledge, medical remedies, scientific inventions and mechanical observations compiled by a citizen of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The collection reflects the years of 1906 to 1914.  Personal observations and notations as well as articles clipped from newspapers, magazines and brochures are included.  With its various recipes for making home remedies and references to do-it-yourself solutions, the volume compares to a receipt book or commonplace book of an earlier age.


Contact Information:
Special Collections
Linderman Library
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015, USA
Phone: 610-758 4506
Fax: 610-758 6091



Processed by:
Eleanor Nothelfer

Lehigh University, Linderman Library, Special Collections

Ellwanger, Frank E. (b. 1875)

Frank E. Ellwanger Commonplace Book 1906-1914

Restrictions to Access:
This collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation:
[Identification of item], Frank E. Ellwanger Commonplace Book 1906 – 1914,  University Library SC MS 0169, Special Collections, Linderman Library, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA

Copyright Notice
Please inquire about copyright information.

Historical Note:
In an earlier age, the commonplace book or receipt book was a compilation of  useful knowledge usually assembled by women responsible for a household out in the country.  In this particular case the compiler is a scientifically curious man.  The scope of time specifically noted ranges from 1906 to 1914.  Mr. Frank E. Ellwanger, the creator of this compendium, was a long time resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The volume notes his personal four resident addresses as well as other addresses of people he seems to have known in Philadelphia.  The compilation is composed of a plethora of handy household hints, medical remedies and cures, formulas for various products, mechanical drawings and designs of useful appliances, engineering observations, and economical improvements to many existing appliances of the early 20th century.  Also noted are Pennsylvania localities beyond Philadelphia such as a description of a water aireator or cooler as seen at the Allentown Fair in 1906 or finding a good source of dry yeast in Hazelton, Pennsylvania and a visit to St. Luke’s Hospital (Bethlehem) for poison ivy treatment.  Among the many hints and tidbits of information and recommendations are recipes for hair growth stimulant, a diabetes cure, a kidney disease remedy, skin whitening elixir, purifying tainted meat and water, wart and mole removal (tincture of Cannibus indica), a consumption cure, appendicitis remedy to mention just a few of the many homeopathic information that seemed to be of his special interest.  Included are many chemical formulae with references to a book by Williams titled as Elements of Chemistry noting the various catalytic reactions of NaCl, hydrogen, formation of acids, oxidation, atmospheric pressure and use of hydrochloric acid for numerous solutions.  Interesting mechanical devices that are illustrated:  a power generator powered by the waves of the surf, a corn popper, a burglar alarm, economical water pumping, various heating devices, economical use of petroleum and gas.  Also noted as of interest to Mr. Ellwanger are various engineering elements such as the Murray Marine Steady-Floating Steel Structures for ship salvage, an unreinforced concrete bridge, concrete for building homes, cement compounds, aluminum solder.   This compilation of ephemera gives an interesting insight into the mindset of the amateur scientist and a self- improvement citizen of the early 20th century – before the age of easy access to knowledge by way of the computer.  It follows in the earlier tradition of a receipt book or commonplace book.

Scope and Content Note:
The scrapbook contains 289 numbered pages many of which are blank.  The first numbered pages contain adages advising against fear, encouragement ( an adage by Elbert Hubbard, a turn-of-the 20th-century writer and propagandist for can-do American inventors and tycoons), a Table of Equivalents compiled and prepared by Chas. D. Clarkson, Dep’t of Commerce and Finance Drexel Institute and an index of sorts (with the note Don’t Hurry). Pages 19 to 252 contain the body of the compilation of handwritten notes, newspaper and magazine clippings some glued on to the pages others loosely attached.  Among the main body of the collection are several pages left blank among the entries as if to leave room for additional   information.  The writing is in black ink.

Organization of the Content: 
This hard cover book is bound in red leather with gold embossing and contains 289 numbered pages.  It measures 5 ¾” x 9” x 1 ¼” (14.25cm x 22.5cm x 3cm) with marbleized printed end pages and page edges.  The book spine is missing.  Inside the front cover is a label bearing the following: Wm. H. Hoskins Co. Mfg. Stationers, Business Furniture, Printers, Engravers, Blank Book Makers. 904 906 Chestnut Street…Philadelphia.  On the inner side of the facing fly leaf is handwritten in black ink:  Property of Frank E. Ellwanger  #5919 Ellsworth St, Phila. Pa.  Other addresses that are crossed out are:  1720 Willington St., 2741 W. 13th Phila. Pa., #4539 N. 19th  Phila, Pa.  Also crossed out is “try American Trust Co. “for address.”  Broad & Ridge Ave. Phila.  Not crossed out is a note:  “Try Integrity Title & Trust Co.  4th & Green at Phila Pa.  Another note below is: My Harmonious days are Tuesday (born on this day) Thursday & Saturday.   At the bottom of this page is the number 682 ½ printed in purple ink on the lower right side of the inner fly leaf.  The Index of 190 items appears on numbered pages 2 to 9; following are nine blank pages faintly lined.  The main collection of memorabilia begins on page 19 and continues to page 252.
Indexing Terms:
Ellwanger, Frank E.
Civilization, Modern – 20th century
History – 20th century
Philadelphia (Pa.) – Social life and customs – Twentieth century
Commonplace book


Related Material:
The Southern Gardener and Receipt-Book, containing valuable information, original and otherwise, on all subjects connected with Domestic and Rural Affairs, Gardening, Cookery, Beverages, Dairy, Medical, Veterinary and Miscellaneous, Third Edition, Revised and Corrected by Mrs. Mary L. Edgeworth; Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1860.

Detailed Description of Collection:
The contents Index is listed below.  Although in the compilation the index is not alphabetized, for convenience of the Special Collection user, the Index has been somewhat ordered to gain an insight into the interests of the compiler.  Mr. Ellwanger’s Index alphabetized:


Acetylene made safe  241
Amalgamating Battery Zincs (Page 429 Avery's Physics)  190
Antiseptic/Hydrogen Peroxide (its uses)  98
Apparatus (Bending or Baring), 123, 125
Apparatus (Reduction), 124
Apparatus (Sausage casings), 127, 132
Appentacitis.  166
Artificial draft. 153
Artificial Rubber for tires  181
Asthma. 167
Auto fuel.  137
Automatic Bookeeper  176
Automatic latch lock  174
Barometer Paper.  163
Bead, 129
Bed Sores  190
Bending, mending & cutting tops off glass jars/tubes  123
Bird Tonic loss of voice  31
Black Ants.  162
Blackberry Brandy  95
Boils/Carbuncles.  116, 246
Boreing in glass  123
Brazing  189
Bugs, 117
Building Materials needed for a house  180
Buoys & Floating wharf  94, 136, 184
Burn remedy  242
Burn the smoke. 134, 137, 147,153, 162,173,178-179,241,247
Cancer & Tumor Remedy (good)  31
Candle grease & Stain Remover  49
Candles.  226
Catarrh Remedy (good)  19
Catarrh remedy (simple)  19
Celluloid incombustible   241
Chaffing or for Babies  31
Chills - simple cure  33
Cholera Infantum by Dr. Abbot  31
Clean Paint Brushes (Remove Paint). 53
Clean Paints.  171
Cocoa (scumless), 133
Coke, 126
Concrete   94, 102, 155, 181
Consumption Cure  168
Corn Popper  219
Corn/Bunion Cure. 150, 170, 246
Corns, callous, moles, warts.  170
Destroy worms in the lawn  139
Diabetus. 167
Disinfectant  190
Disinfectant for all contagious diseases  98
Double Furnace (intense heat cheap).  148, 247
Ear & Tooth Ache  239
Earache Cure, 239
Eggs to preserve  121
Elevator  87
Erysipelas Remedy  224 - 246
Extraction (oil) (moisture), 115
Eye Tonic - to remove irritation by Dr. Ealer   101
Feed box apparatus. 135
Felon - Bad Burns Bunions Good Samaritan Ointment  246
Fertilizer (good by Wanner). 99, 158
Fever Remedy/Pneumonia  168
Fireproof, 130
Fitz to cure  236
Flegm remover, 116
Flood protection - stop shore from being washed away  95
Floors - Stained & polished  130
Flux  163
Formulas  102 to 122
Freckles.  160
Fruits preserved in Natural Condition. 163
Fuel.  89, 91, 134, 137, 162, 178, 179
Fusibility. 230
Futures by the controls, 220
Gallstone cure. 162
Galvanize Iron to Solder Iron.  5, 161, 163
Gas (Economizer)   89, 91, 93, 134, 137, 162, 178, 241
Gas fuel formula. 93
Gas Water. 91, 241
Gathered finger  239
Glue.  169
Gluten. 167
Gold & copper Synthetically.  161
Gold from sea water  248
Hair Tonic (Lavona Decomposee (Smiths)  131
Heel plates.  140
High temperatures  230
Hives. 86
Hives. 86
Hominy (Lye) to make it  90
Hot air heater cheap.  134, 137, 147, 162, 153, 173, 178, 241
Ice, 27, 111, 164, 182
Inflammation ovaries.  167
Inflammation.  166
Ingrowing Toe nail, 150
Iodine finish to wod.  243
Itimization, 114
Ivy Poison.  166, 171, 177
Jelly, 119
Kidney trouble, 227
Kill weeds & Vegetation  92
Kite.  140
Leather & mend shoes.  114, 138
Lime Kiln  148
Lubricating grease  226
Luminous Paint. 163
Maintain level in fluid or water. 152, 178
Make Diamonds, 128
Mead (old fashioned)  95
Measure Coal in bin  193
Melting or Fusing Magnetite. 163
Mouse or Rabbit Trap.  60
Nettle sting Antidote, 159
New cement. 102, 155
Oil (to pump easily)  61
Oil distillation.  142
Oil stoves  178-179
Oils, 114, 131
Paint (filler for crevices). 53, 225
Paint cement.  245
Panama to clean  181
Paste.  234
Piles cured in one night  119
Planting/Sprouting Slips.  92, 162
Polish for furniture.  171
Polish for silver, 163
Post Preserver  191
Potato Alcohol.  154
Pour hot jelly or H20 into glass. 31
Power. 136
Preserve Leather/mending shoes. 114, 138
Preserve Shingles.  162
Prevent Rusting of Heater pipes.  159
Prevent Rusting of Iron. 165
Pumping power. 47, 94, 142, 147, 184
Quinzy Cure (flax for sty or black eye). 98
Quinzy Cure. 242
Radiation. 134, 137, 147, 162
Raspberry Vinegar. 30
Reflector. 149
Remove glass stoppers & lids. 30
Remove Ink stain Rust stain easily.  238
Rheumatism cure  188
Roof Lead & 1st coat of Paint on galvanized iron  245
Rubber.  139
SeaSick & Trolley sick  187
Season wood (Caution). 162
Seed Planting or Sprouting  92
Skin (substitute for)  151
Skin diseases - Eczema - Barber's itch   209
Small Pox Remedy.  88
Smelter  148
Soap  226
Soldering Fluid  181
Sore feet remedy  242, 246
Sore feet, 162
Splinters easily removed  252
Spring (Rope)  183
Stumps removal.  114
Sty remedy    233
Subterranean Power  47
Syphon or pump water power. 142-145
Table of Equivalents/on 2nd fly Leaf
Tainted meat to clean & purify  224
Tartaric Acid.  19
Teeth, 239
Telescope. 32
Temper  185
Thymol Menthol antiseptic, Preservative, Pain Killer  223
Tonsillitis.  242-246
Tooth ache or ulcerated tooth, 239
Transferring Fluid  180
Travel over ice & water.  156, 157
Tredle for power. 141
Trenton Fertilizer Co.  158
Turbine Speed Regulator Stop Motion. 172
Vacuum Insulation  97
Valve (no Jerk no Jar) 175
Varnish & Whitewash. 155, 244
Vermin Exterminator   117, 190
Watch compass  86
Water - carrying power.  151
Water cooler & aireator for gas Engines  218
Water testing impurity.  146
Wax (Sealing Wax), Close Bottles, 114
Weaning a child.  96
Wet & Dry Battery.  165
Window Fastener.  169
Write (etch on Metals).  163
Yeast (Liquid & Dry)  29




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