Victorian London - Publications - Etiquette and Household Advice Manuals - Cassells Household Guide, New and Revised Edition (4 Vol.) c.1880s [no date] - A Few Facts about Water

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Volume 1



THE temperature at which water is drunk greatly influences the health. Below 45£ it is an astringent, highly tonic if pure; at 6o£ it is a diluent for dissolving crudities of food and other obstructions in the stomach : this temperature will give relief to those suffering from indigestion. Above 60£ water relaxes the system, but drunk from 70£ to 80£ , the first thing in the morning, it is an excellent antibilious medicine.
    The following registration by Fahrenheit's thermometer is adopted, under medical ,advice, for bathers:£ At 70£ water is cold to the skin of the hand. A bath of 80£ would be termed a cold bath. From 86£ to 90£ a bath is tepid; 100£ is a warm bath; a vapour bath is from 100£
to 130£ .
    The following tests for water are useful if applied in the proportion of a few drops of each to one or two ounces of water :£
    A solution of nitrate of barytes will cause a turbid appearance if any alkaline carbonates and sulphates exist in the water. A solution of acetate of lead will do the same. A solution of oxalate of ammonia precipitates lime, if there be any. A solution of carbonate of ammonia and, directly afterwards, a solution of phosphate of soda will produce milkiness if magnesia be present in the water.
    Free carbonic acid is detected by a very slight milkiness being produced by adding an equal portion of lime water with the water tested. A solution of soap in alcohol detects lime and shows, by the greater or lesser flakiness of the soap, the degree of hardness of the water experimented upon.
    Hardness in water, which is easily recognised by the difficulty experienced in washing, is due to the presence of salts of lime.
    Saline waters contain salts of lime,  muriate of soda and magnesia, sulphate of magnesia, carbonate of soda, and other alkaline earths. Magnesian waters are those possessing the taste and properties of magnesia. Water is called chalybeate when carbonate of iron abounds, and hepatic, or sulphurous, when impregnated with sulphuretted hydrogen.

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source: Cassells Household Guide, c.1880s