Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pournelle and Mackenzie on preserving civilization

From scifi author Jerry Pournelle in the March 1983 number of Survive magazine:

Probably the most valuable book I own is MacKenzie's 10,000 Formulas. Published in 1868, it has 400 pages telling how to make everything known about at the time. The section on medicines is useful only for amusement, but MacKenzie shows how to butcher animals, smoke and preserve meat, make soap, gunpowder and fireworks, and how to brew beer–from choosing the barley and hops to malting the barley ("Throw the malt up into a heap as high as possible, where let it lie till it grows as hot as the hand can bear it, which usually happens in the space of about 30 hours"). Alas, nothing else like MacKenzie's book seems to be available.

Here's a link to the Google Books copy of Mackenzie, along with its magnificent subtitle:

Mackenzie's ten thousand receipts: in all the useful and domestic arts constituting a complete and practical library, relating to agriculture, angling, bees, bleaching, book-keeping, brewing, cotton culture, crocheting, carving, cholera, cooking, calico printing, confectionery, cements, chemical receipts, cosmetics, diseases, dairy, dentistry, dialysis, decalcomania, dyeing, distillation, enamelling, engraving, electro-plating, electrotyping, fish culture, farriery, food, flower gardening, fireworks, gas metres, gilding, glass, health, horsemanship, inks, jewellers' paste, knitting, knots, lithography, mercantile calculations, medicine, miscellaneous receipts, metallurgy, mezzotints, oil colors, oils, painting, perfumery, pastry, petroleum, pickling, poisons and antidotes, potichomania, proof-reading, pottery, preserving, photography, pyrotechnics, rural and domestic economy, sugar raising, silvering, scouring, silk and silk-worms, sorghum, tobacco culture, tanning, trees, telegraphing, varnishes, vegetable gardening, weights and measures, wines, etc., etc., being an entirely new edition carefully revised and re-written, and containing the improvements and discoveries up to last date of publication, January, 1867.


  1. That is an awesome resource, can't wait to read more of it. Thanks for sharing!
    Karen Sue Miller <*}}}><
    ¸.·*¨`"Quaerite primum regnum Dei¸¸.·*¨`"·Å^
    Seek ye first the kingdom of God!

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    As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

  2. I kind of like "Enquire Within Upon Everything" -- it's Gutenberged. . .

  3. Great catch - thanks!