• Welcome to the Receipts of the Blue & Gray. - The receipts you will find here are original Antebellum, and Civil War period receipts, as originally published between the years 1796 and 1880. One exception, is: Newspaper Clippings & Periodical Receipts are limited to a publishing period from 1858 to 1866.

    Some receipts from this era attempted to give medicinal advice. Many dangerous, and in some cases, deadly, "cures" were given, reflecting the primitive knowledge of that time period. Don't assume everything you read here is safe to try! Recipes and Receipts posted here are for Historic Research Purposes, enjoy them, learn from them, discuss them!

    ★ If you attempt to try one of these recipes / receipts, you do so at your own risk! ★

  • Welcome to CivilWarTalk, a forum about the American Civil War! - Join today! It's fast, simple, and FREE!

Useful Black Varnish for Straw or Chip Hats

no. 249. black varnish for straw or chip hats.
(from Six Hundred Miscellaneous Valuable Receipts Worth Their Weight in Gold, by John Marquart, 1860)


1/2 oz. best black sealing wax​
2 oz. rectified spirits of wine​


Take 1/2 ounce best black sealing wax, pound it well, and put it into a 4-ounce vial containing 2 ounces rectified spirits of wine. Place it in a sand bath, or near a moderate fire, till the wax is dissolved; then lay it on warm, with a fine soft hairbrush, before a fire, or in the sun. It gives a good stiffness to old straw hats, and a beautiful gloss equal to new. It likewise resists wet.​