The Most Important Book You Could Own If Society Collapses
A basic tenant of history is that it is cyclical, nations and civilizations rise and fall.
Our western civilization is at the apex of its development. We have a standard of living undreamt of by our forbearers.
However, our technological civilization is built on the most tenuous and fragile of foundations – electricity and petroleum. Remove either of these foundations for more than a couple of months and our civilization will collapse rapidly and we will find ourselves in a literal dark age.
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There are dozens of potential events, from a nuclear EMP and solar flare, war or terrorism, to natural disaster or planetary catastrophe that could collapse our society overnight. We would have to return to a restore point, a reset, of a time when we survived as a society without electricity or petroleum products, which, for western civilization would be the 1800’s.
This book provides all the information needed to live comfortably without electricity or gas, just like your great grandparents did.
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Originally published in 1881 The Household Cyclopedia of Useful and Domestic Arts was compiled from various contributors by Dr, Harshorne as a means of distilling the most useful skills, knowledge, instructions, and recipes of his time. This knowledge is what allowed people to live relatively comfortable lives, and it is the same knowledge that would be needed to survive when, not if, our society collapses.
“In truth, the present volume has been compiled under the feeling, that if all other books of Science in the world were destroyed, this single volume would be found to embody the results of the useful experience, observations, and discoveries of mankind during the past ages of the world.”
Henry Hartshorne MD
Notes on the Edited Edition
While there are many books on homesteading, prepping, and survival that provide similar information, few contain the completeness of the current work. They are further biased being written from the perspective of a technological age, while this book was written in a time before the light bulb and so uses technology that is practical and efficient according to the resources available to people of that time.
Hard copies of this work are rare and fragile. By re-printing in hard copy allows people to easily store a copy in their homes that will be available when needed and does not rely on electronics to read. The PDF version has a navigable table of contents.
The original structure and text has been retained. The only editing I have done was to cut some of the fat. Some entries, such as how to fire a needle gun and 19th century hairstyles have been deleted being completely irrelevant in any future collapse scenario. Trimmed down, the edited edition makes it easier to find the information one would need.
I’ve also included a comprehensive table of contents and index that the original lacked.
Table of Contents
Editor’s Preface 1
Practical Farming 16
To Cultivate Wheat 58
To Cultivate Hemp 99
To Cultivate Hops 105
Cotton and Tobacco 132
Directions for The Rearing of Silk Worms 135
Budding and Grafting 161
To Raise and Manage Fruit Trees 176
Flower Gardening 237
Rural and Domestic Economy 245
To Manage a Dairy 247
Bees and Their Management 268
Miscellaneous Articles 436
Remedies for Coughs and Colds 451
Medicine for Worms 454
Medicines for Indigestion 456
Diseases Peculiar to Females 470
Management and Diseases of Children 482
Useful Domestic Medicines 495
Hygiene – Salutary Cautions 510
Preservation from Drowning and Shipwreck 516
General Rules for Preserving Life and Health 526
The Teeth 535
Weights and Measures 538
Culinary Arts 541
Plain Cookery 541
Original Receipts in Cookery and Pastry, Etc. 662
To Make Cider 737
Management of Domestic Wines 768
To Manage Foreign Wine-Vaults 774
Compound Spirits, Or Cordials 807
Essential Oils 822
Distilled Waters 832
Compound Distilled Waters 838
Acid Liquors 844
Test Liquors, Test Papers 852
Saline Carbonated Waters 854
Sulphuretted Waters 857
Chalybeate Waters 857
Fixed Oils 859
Animal Oils and Fats 861
Aromatic Vinegars 884
Bleaching and Scouring 887
Paints and Colors 943
House Painting 943
Artists’ Oil Colors 957
Colored Fires 1056
Matches for Instantaneous Light 1059
Chemical Recipes 1107
Preventing and Removing Boiler Incrustations 1111
Artificial Cold 1115
Antiseptics and Disinfectants 1117
Weather Prognostics 1129
The Culture of Fish 1153
To Tie Knots 1157
Management of Canary Birds 1163
To Destroy Insects 1167
The Art of Rowing 1173
Macadamized Roads 1174
Miscellaneous Medical Recipes 1191
The Cattle Plague, Or Rinderpest 1210
Common Still 1219
Liebig’s Condenser 1222