Life Before Refrigeration

Did you ever wonder how folks were able to have eggs in the winter when chickens stopped laying and there were no supermarkets to run to?  Surplus eggs were collected during the spring, summer & fall and stored in crockery containers containing water glass or sodium silicate and water.  Water glass is a mixture of sodium silicate and potash.  The eggs would be submerged in the liquid, keeping them cool and moist for months until needed.

A little known problem was the use of lead in crockery glazes.  Lead was added to glazes for a while to make them shiny, but would leach out into the contents over a period of time.

Food canning was developed in the late 1700’s, but it was also plagued by lead poisoning if the cans sat around for any length of time.  This was most notably a problem and brought about changes in the industry after WWI.  More men suffered from the effects of lead poisoning during and after the war caused by eating old canned rations than there were combat casualties during the war.

Respectfully Submitted, David Moore