Sunday, April 3, 2022

Poisonous Easter Eggs and Easter talks

Paas Egg dyes, patented 1881, were advertised to "be eaten without fear of poisoning." At that time some eggs were dyed with a biproduct of coal being burned to make gas. Logwood dye was recorded in a 1781 letter ... with pin scratched Battle of Bunker Hill scene.

Paas Egg Dyes were first packaged by a pharmacist in Newark, NJ in 1880 and patented Ap 12, 1881.

Now is the time to lay in a stock of the attractive Paas Dyes for Easter eggs, prepared and sold by WILLIAM M. Townley, of Newark, N. J. The dyes are put up in neat boxes containing sample eggs, and bits of worsted, silk, feathers, etc., to show the results of using them. Eggs that have been thus dyed can be eaten without fear of poisoning. Every one who had a stock of the dyes last year [1880 his first year] appears to have sold it out completely.
New Remedies NY Feb 1881

What happened when touching or eating poisonous Easter Eggs…

A gentleman in Portland, Oregon, the week following Easter, having a small scratch on his hand, handled eggs which had been dyed. The coloring matter entered the wound, which became much inflamed and the arm was swollen to the shoulder. He recovered after a week's illness.
Drug. Cir., July. Quarterly Epitome of American Practical Medicine and Surgery. March 1883

In the Farmatzevtilchesky Jurnal, No. 13, 1886, p. 200, Mr. Edwin Johansohn, the editor, writes that, having seen several cases of vomiting, gastric pain, &c., after eating coloured Easter eggs, he has analysed five sorts of bright aniline dyes used for staining the eggs. All the five contained arsenic: blue and orange in ‘perceptible quantities,’ crimson (ponceau), red, and yellow only in traces.

The poisoning was observed mostly in such cases where persons ate eggs the shells of which had been broken during boiling, and thus let in the poisonous dye. Children may be exposed to the danger when they take the eggs in their mouth during play. On the whole, the author warns people against the use of aniline colours for the purpose under consideration, and recommends reverting to the practice of staining Easter eggs with dye-woods
The Sanitary Record. June 15, 1886

Easter Eggs were dyed with Anilin from … coal gasification plants! Despite warnings, still used in 1908 -

Anilin dyes, which are used for coloring Easter eggs, are made from the tar from the gas factory [coal gasification]. When coal is roasted in an oven, coke, tar, ammonia liquor and lighting gases come out of it. These gases are passed from the oven through holes in the bottom of a large iron pipe which lies on the ground. This pipe is half filled with water, in which most of the tar and ammonia settle. The gases are then passed through a number of tall iron pipes to cool them. Then they go up through a tower filled with coke, down which water trickles. This is the "scrubber" in which the rest of the ammonia and other soluble gases are taken out. After passing through the purifier the gas, now ready for use, goes into the large gas holder which presses it into the street pipes [gas street lamps].
Dangers and Chemistry of Fire: For Grammar Schools. Columbus, Ohio: 1908

Side note: I studied the coal gasification process the years I researched the Civil War bread ovens in the US Capitol, there was a small plant next to the Capitol. Thus, this different take on Easter Eggs.

Image in Germany 1878 blog post; Easter Egg games, White House Roll, Bunker Hill battle egg, Decorating 1830, Pasch Eggs, Onion skin dye HERE


Ap 3 Sun 3-4:30 Perfecting Pisanki. “painting eggs, in Polish culture.” Evan. Eagle-Orzel Educational and Cultural Exchange, Inc. with tape $15 HERE

Apr 9 Sat 1:30 Capirotada, Mexico’s Lenten Bread Pudding. Alex Peña. Culinary Historians of Southern California HERE Register HERE TAPE HERE

Ap 10 Sun 3-5 Scandinavian Swedish Dessert: Swedish Semlor Buns and Swedish Marzipan Eggs. “On Shrove Tuesday and throughout the Lenten/Easter season in the Scandinavian countries, people indulge in semlor.” Romayne Kilde. Nordic Heart $19 HERE

Apr 13 Wed 2:30 Italian Easter Pie - Torta Pasqualina. Heygo HERE

Apr 14 Thu 7 Pesach: Passover Traditions From Around the World. Avi Hoffman, Arona Roshal. YI Love Jewish HERE

Ap 14 Thu 7:30-9:30 Swedish Kladdkaka (Sticky Chocolate Cake) and Chokladtackta ag (Chocolate covered eggs). Romayne Kilde. Nordic Heart $19 HERE

Hot Cross Buns. 100,000 sold on one day in London HERE Kept for a year HERE

Ap 15 Fri 11-1AMHistoric Hot Cross Buns Workshop. 1830s recipe, history of traditional Good Friday (before Easter) fare, tour of The Regency Town House kitchen. Paul Couchman, The Regency Chef £22 – £29.70 HERE

Ap 15 Fri 2-3:30 Easter Traditions: The story of our spring holiday and its traditions and origins. including hot cross buns, Easter egg hunts… Heritage Lincolnshire £9.21 HERE

Apr 15 Fri 3 Easter food basket from Slovenia. “Holy Saturday we prepare Easter Basket: basket of local specialities which we bring to the local church to be blessed. On Easter Sunday this is going to be our breakfast.” Heygo HERE

Apr 17 Sun 10AM Take a Stroll through the Easter Markets of Prague. “decorate the beautiful colourful eggs… What to avoid on the Ugly Wednesday, how to celebrate Green Thursday and what to wear on Red Monday?” Heygo HERE

TAPED TALKS - only one of 16 talks in 2021 were taped.

Learn with us Polish Easter Traditions. Food, Easter Basket tradition, painted eggs (some for kids) and fun quick lesson on traditional dances for kids. Polish Klan Association Mar 28 2021 HERE TAPE HERE nicely done



©2022 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME

No comments:

Post a Comment