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Forgotten Household Crafts

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  83 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Taking the reader on an evocative journey through the worlds of traditional craftspeople from blacksmith to bee-keeper, wainwright to housewife the acknowledged "Father of Self-sufficiency" John Seymour celebrates their honest skills, many of which have disappeared beneath the tread of progress.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 30th 2007 by DK
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Historical Skills and crafts
6th out of 34 books — 12 voters
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Vanishing Crafts and Trades
3rd out of 24 books — 2 voters

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Community Reviews

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Oct 22, 2007 Susan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: folklorists, SCAdians, historians, crafters
I'd prefer to give this book 3.5 stars, rather than 4. Although I ended up thinking very highly of the author and his research, I spent the first third of this book thinking it would be better titled " Forgotten Household Doohickeys". Richly illustrated with detailed, pen-and-ink drawings of seven* different types of chamber pots, 5 spinning wheels, 9 candle-making tools, etc., this book is a visual treat, as well as an educational one. The chapters covering food and cookery seem weaker than the ...more
Mar 06, 2008 Inder rated it liked it
I love John Seymour's books on farming and self-sufficiency, but this one is more a history book than a helpful manual. I think it's mis-titled. It should be called Household Crafts of the 19th Century. The problem with the book as currently titled is that it really isn't about household "crafts." It's about the equipment that people used to use to do some of those household crafts. Almost of the equipment is from the 19th Century, too. How odd! Why should I romanticize a 19th century washing ma ...more
Sep 20, 2011 Julianna rated it really liked it
First, let me say that I read the older version of this book (ISBN 0-394-55830-8, (c)1987). I agree with what other people have said about the emphasis on equipment, but there is a considerable amount of information about technique as well although I would never consider it a how-to reference.

It's clear throughout the book that Mr. Seymour had a lingering and pervasive melancholy about the inevitable march of progress and he often uses such colorful epithets such as "despicable," "horrendous," a
Teresa Russell
I picked up this book expecting to find a little more about textiles, sewing, embroidery and other crafts. There wasn't much but what there was, I found very interesting, historic and helpful. I had no intention of reading the book entirely, just the parts that interested me. I borrowed it from my local library.
Feb 01, 2016 Sue rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Didn't read every word, but gazed at every one of the beautiful drawings of the equipment that has made a house a home for the past few centuries. Also learned quite a bit about cauldron cooking and the practical beauty of the Aga stove.
David A. Carey
I am afraid that this book was not at all what I expected it to be. I did not finish it.
Mar 08, 2015 Ashley rated it it was ok
lots of interesting information, but not exactly what I was looking for.
May 06, 2008 Sally rated it liked it
I have to second anther reviewers idea that this book is about forgotten household TOOLS, and not the crafts. It was a fascinating overview on what tools were used in everyday life a century ago, almost like a museum in a book. But there was not even any cursory description of crafts, per se. It's the everyday and mundane that gets lost as life and technology advances, so I'm glad the author took the time to document this facet of life.
I really enjoyed this book. I didn't care for the personalized writing as much as I did the pictures. This would be a great book for anyone interested in "how they used to do it." I definitely learned about some items and ways of doing things that I did not know about before. I think a lot of this type of knowledge does become "forgotten" and it's wonderful that Mr. Seymour has gone to the trouble of compiling it for us to enjoy.
Jun 27, 2011 Clare rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was an interesting look at many household chores of yesteryear and the tools and implements used for those tasks. The amount of work involved in keeping a home in good order was amazing and I certainly felt glad that I live in these times. However, there is also a sense of loss - loss of many of these old-time skills that few today can still do with the finesse and pride of not so long ago.
Aug 14, 2012 Jonele rated it liked it
At first I thought this book was going to teach me how to do things, but the author really just talked about how things were done – not step-by-step instructions – when he was younger. I really enjoyed the personal vignettes about his family and childhood, and of course I learned a lot about what it was like growing up in the early 1900s.
Oct 13, 2013 Beth rated it it was amazing
Hey Steam Punk Writers - Get this book and sit with it for hours until its imprinted on your brain! Knowing what was is EXTREMELY helpful in world building! A damn fine bit of everyday historical research. (found it in a used bookstore for a steal!)
Aug 04, 2009 Dioscita rated it liked it
Every summer I get this weird urge to read books with stories from around the turn of the century/pioneering days. In addition to re-reading the "Little House" books, I've added this one to the mix. It's already a lot of fun!
Jun 09, 2009 Lietta rated it really liked it
From the point of view of someone who grew up in Europe, it was more intriguing to read not only the how it was done, but the perspective from a child growing up, seeing the results of how it was done.
Aug 24, 2010 Clatters rated it really liked it
Shelves: dyi
I found the book to be nicely illustrated and fun to see all those forgotten ways of live in one cover.
Mar 11, 2012 Megan rated it it was amazing
Immensely fascinating.
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John Seymour was an idealist- he had a vision of a better world where people aren't alienated from their labours.
As a young man, he travelled all over Africa and fought in Burma in World War II. Returning penniless to England, he lived in a trolley bus and on a Dutch sailing barge before settling on a five-acre smallholding in Suffolk to lead a self-sufficient life. He continued this lifestyle wit
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“I'm only a housewife, I'm afraid." How often do we hear this shocking admission. I'm afraid when I hear it I feel very angry indeed. Only a housewife: only a practitioner of one of the two most noble professions (the other one is that of a farmer); only the mistress of a huge battery of high and varied skills and custodian of civilization itself. Only a typist, perhaps! Only a company director, or a nuclear physicist; only a barrister; only the President! When a woman says she is a housewife she should say it with the utmost pride, for there is nothing higher on this planet to which she could aspire.” 34 likes
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