One Thousand Valuable Secrets, in the Elegant and Useful Arts

Collected from the Practice of the Best Artists and Containing an Account of the Various Methods

Published in Philadelphia in 1795, this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection provides various methods for a wide variety of tasks—everything from engraving and fishing to cleaning and gilding—in an effort to assist the newly established United States to become self-sufficient and independent from Europeans at home and in the workplace. 

Originally published in London in 1775, One Thousand Valuable Secrets was Americanized and published in Philadelphia in 1795 in an effort to help the newly established United States become self-sufficient from Europe. As stated in the preface, the purpose of the American edition was to “promote industry and stimulate genius” and will hopefully have been “received as an acceptable contribution.” Covering everything from engraving, “break[ing] an iron bar as big as the arm,” and making varnishes to imitating precious stones, preparing dyes, gilding, brewing, cooking, and creating molds, One Thousand Valuable Secrets “will be equally profitable to every reader, who wishes to be acquainted with a number of curious and useful receipts, applicable to the common occasions of life.” With its one thousand different instructions for practical and helpful arts, this weighty tome has both cultural significance in the information it provides and historical significance in its purpose of helping the United States become truly independent in its economy and culture.   


This edition of One Thousand Valuable Secrets, in the Elegant and Useful Arts was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the society is a research library documenting the lives of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection comprises approximately 1,100 volumes.     

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