Blue Bags/bag blue

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KSBIII
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Blue Bags/bag blue

Post by KSBIII »

Not sure if this is one for this site but I had one of those wierd dreams last night. I was watching my grandmother doing the washing, I think it's down to the trailers for that evacuation programme (wash board, soap etc).

She was using a "blue bag" on the whites. What exactly were they and how long ago did they start being used?

Annie C
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Post by Annie C »

As far as can recall ...

The 'blue bag'was a whitening aid for laundry consisting of synthectic ultramarine and sodium bicarbonate., the famous make being produced by Reckitts in Hull from about 1850 (?) thus known as Reckitts Blue. It works simply by the rules of optics, blue pigment absorbs yellow light , ie is the complementary colour to the yellow tinge that develops on old/worn linen, thus when a bag of 'blue' has been added into the wash with detergent your whites look white again.

I seem to remember that it can still be found from those mailorder companies that have strange odd household quirky stock!

But this is only from memory of lectures on colour so can any chemists or other arty folk out there confirm?

Now the next question is how do I manage to remember and recall info like this when I have to look up my own mobile number ..... :lol:

m300572
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Post by m300572 »

I have had discussions about 'Dolly Blue' with people in this part of the country (Lancashire) who remember their grannies using it (or with the older discussants their mothers). It worked on the same basis of the 'optical brighteners' in modern detergent (new Blue Daz!!!) - your whites may not be that clean but they look it!

KSBIII
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Post by KSBIII »

Reckitts blue! yes that's the one. Thanks.

It was Granny in the dream but I remember my mother using it too. If there are people still doing it I'll have to track some down for her and her mates.

By the way, I'm not that old, my Aunt was still using her boiler and mangle in the late 70s/early 80s

Annie C
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Post by Annie C »

oy ! I'm not that old either...

but

....when an impoverished Art student in 1980 we were the envy of many other housefulls when we bought a washing machine with a mangle on the top...no more washing jeans in the bath for us! It was soon realised that it was also the ideal container to heat up many gallons of homebrew.... :D

KSBIII
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Post by KSBIII »

Annie C, I was actually refering to this
m300572 wrote:I have had discussions about 'Dolly Blue' with people in this part of the country (Lancashire) who remember their grannies using it (or with the older discussants their mothers).
No offence meant.

I think said Aunty may still have a usable version of your student machine. The one I remember was the big cast iron(?) finger trapper with the back killing handle. Seem to remember she had a wooden "Dolly" as well. Must remeber to get permission to investigate her garage next time I'm "home"

m300572
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Post by m300572 »

when an impoverished Art student in 1980 we were the envy of many other housefulls when we bought a washing machine with a mangle on the top
You bought one? You weren't that impoverished then!!! :D We got ours from the people in the flat downstairs when they were chucking it out - it had a hole in the thing that swishes the washing round in the tub so it ate buttons, and the brushes in the electric motor wore out so often that we bought a dozen sets from the hardware shop round the corner!

Annie C
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Post by Annie C »

KSBIII wrote:No offence meant.
None taken :D

Try here...have fun...sweet dreams... :D

http://www.carbolicsoap.com/reckitts-blue-p-864.html
m300572 wrote:You bought one? You weren't that impoverished then!!! We got ours from the people in the flat downstairs when they were chucking it out - it had a hole in the thing that swishes the washing round in the tub so it ate buttons, and the brushes in the electric motor wore out so often that we bought a dozen sets from the hardware shop round the corner!
Gosh you lived in a posh student area then where people could afford to throw stuff away???!!! :lol:

KSBIII
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Post by KSBIII »

Annie C, Thanks.

Green Carbolic too... Childhood revisited.

m300572
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Post by m300572 »

Gosh you lived in a posh student area then where people could afford to throw stuff away???!!!
Have you never heard the Billy Connoly sketch about people living on spam and throwing good stuff out so that the neighbours thought they were well off!!

polthepot
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Post by polthepot »

I remember my mum using an old dolly tub, like a galvanised barrel and 'ponced' the the clothes in it with the wooden dolly after dropping in the old dolly blue bag, yep the original blue whitener.
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Marcus Woodhouse
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Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

No idea what you're talking about. In my house the faires do the washing, at least that is what the wife has told me.
OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

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Alice the Huswyf
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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

Blue bags ..... a dozen years ago my father-in-law would put a little crumbled blue bag in the christmas cake icing to make it look 'nice and white'.

But then again , this is a man who, when he ran out of old linctus for his small son in the '70's, terrified the local chemist with a request for more 'lead and opium mixture'.

Nothing was ever thrown out - not even the broken thing, which would be kept for spares in case the replacement broke down.

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gregory23b
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Post by gregory23b »

"synthectic ultramarine "

and it is absolutely everywhere, plastics for bottles, packaging, furniture.

From being rare and precious to being commonplace.
middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

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Nigonwyrtas
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Post by Nigonwyrtas »

My mum used it in the 1960s... and I remember she put it on either wasp or bee stings - one's acid, one alkaline. I forget which. Anyone remember which?

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Attilla the Bun
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Post by Attilla the Bun »

Blue bag for bees, vinegar for wasps
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