Old engineering, chemical
and craft recipes


Some old recipes for engineering and artistic formulae. If the names are confusing, look in the glossary

Take care when reproducing these recipes, especially those that involve heating flammable liquids.
Remember this sage advice of the 17th century:

On the other hand, no advantage or excellence can accrue either to Lacker or Varnish; especially when, as some of them do, tis boiled to so great a height, that this Ætna is forc'd to throw out its fiery eruptions, which for certain consume the admiring Empedocles, who expires a foolish and negligent Martyr; and it would almost excite ones pitty, to see a forward ingenious undertaker, perish thus in the beginning of his Enterprise; who might have justly promised to erect a noble and unimitable piece of Art, as a lasting monument of his fame and memory: but (unhappy man) his beginning and his end are of the same date; his hopes vanish, and his mischance shall be registered in doggrel Ballad, or be frightfully represented in a Puppet-shew, or on a Sign- post.

A Treatise of Japaning and Varnishing Stalker & Parker 1688
Sealing wax
red sealing wax and black sealing wax
Pontypool ware
An early recipe for black japanned iron.
Wax polishes
Wax polishes for woodworking
Rust-joint cement
Victorian jointing paste, made from lead