Respect the Chemicals

When working with my technical dyes, I try to treat them with respect.  I like the the consistency of the results, but I am well aware that they contain potentially dangerous chemicals and certain procedures need to be followed.  I wear eye-protection and a mask when working with the dye powders, and wear gloves when working with the powders and the mixed liquid dyes.  These are the protections recommended by the manufacturer on the material safety data sheets. 

The use of potentially hazardous chemicals is nothing new to the home dyer.  In my grandmother's papers I found this newspaper clipping from 1905 with recipes for dyes for carpet rags.  The poisonous chemicals involved include copperas, Prussian blue, sugar of lead and bichromate of potash. 

I don't know what I find more disturbing: the knowledge that the early 20th century home dyer did not have access to basic protections such as safety goggles, filter masks and nitrile gloves, or the fact that these chemicals were readily available at the local "chemists."

So with the caveat to "don't try this at home," here's a copy of the clipping.