A Day in the Blacking Factory

"My job was to.....cover the pots of paste-blacking: first with a piece of oil-paper, and then with a piece of blue paper; to tie them round with a string; and then to clip the paper close and neat all round". After finishing a few gross of these, "I was to paste upon each a printed label".

Yesterday was wax-polish making day:

DSCN4164The old propane stove,which Joanne and I bought from a Dickensian one-legged dealer in Ganges when we were camping out with daughter Norah (aged 2) preparing to build a workshop and house, is pressed into service to melt beeswax. My mother's jam kettle makes a handy waterbath. (These days one does not make jam in aluminium utensils.)

The molten wax can then be combined with turpentine, and poured into the rather pretty tins. I was a bit stuck when it came to pouring the wax without dripping, but for a confirmed tea-drinker a solution is always at hand........


Sometimes I have suspicion that this is not how things are done in the real world.

Home from school, Joanne takes over:


Note that darkness has fallen.

Next installment: In which the labels are glued to the lids, and corrections made.