Five Thousand Formulas for Druggists

Before I start, and I shouldn’t even have to say this, a druggist isn’t a fellow (ab)using drugs. A druggists a US term for what the rest of the world would commonly call a pharmacists. So the title of this book – and this post – really ought to have been Five Thousand Formulas for Pharmacists. Except that the Era Formulary was indeed printed in the US back in 1893, so druggists it is.

And the reason I bring it up – in addition to, y’know, cool old book – is that among the five thousand formulas are some shave related ones.

Part three of the book – formulas 1218 through 2230 – are toilet preparations. And we’re talking things you would use in your daily toiletry. The use of words have shifted slightly in the 130 years since the book was printed.

And among those thousand odd formulas there were two words that caught my eye in the table of content: Bay Rum, and Shaving Pastes.

As you can see, the formulas – or recipes, if you prefer – are fairly simply laid out. It’s just what you need and a sentence or two on how to prepare. Mix. Fix and filter. Macerate, then filter. Part of this was, of course, because a properly trained pharmacist would know how to prepare these things.

There are several of the recipes I wouldn’t mind trying, both bay rums and shaving creams. But the problem is that they make for large batches, and that some of the ingredients are difficult to identify and source a hundred and thirty years after the formulary was printed. It’s not like I can go to the pharmacists and ask for 15 grams of spermaceti these days.

You can read – and download – all five thousand formulas from the Internet Archive.

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