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Label for 'Concentrated Disinfecting Solution of Chloride of Soda', London, England, 1822-1829

This solution was sold as a disinfectant with a wide range of applications, such as preventing meat and fish from rotting, purifying water, and disinfecting sick rooms, clothing, toilets and hospitals – even slaughter houses, dissecting rooms and “lunatic asylums”. It promises to “render the propagation of infection IMPOSSIBLE”. Prominence is also given to its positive effects on the “most deadly sewers and dangerous cess-pools”. At a time when many thought the source of disease was foul smelling air – so-called ‘miasmas’ – this would have been marketed as a valued protector of health. The label notes that the solution is made “according to the Formula of the Philanthropic Discoverer M. Labarraque of Paris”. Antoine-Germain Labarraque (1777-1850) was a French chemist and pharmacist who introduced a solution of sodium chloride and chlorine gas around 1820. This disinfectant remained popular until the turn of the 1900s and the label represents an early example of his product.

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Glossary: print

Pictorial works produced by transferring images by means of a matrix such as a plate, block, or screen, using any of various printing processes. When emphasizing the individual printed image, use "impressions." Avoid the controversial expression "original prints," except in reference to discussions of the expression's use. If prints are neither "reproductive prints" nor "popular prints," use just "prints."

Glossary: label

Pieces of paper, leather, fabric, or small tablets inscribed and affixed to something for identification or description. In the context of bookbinding, refers specifically to paper or other material separate from that used to cover a book, on which the author's name and the title are printed or engraved and glued to the spine or front board.

Glossary: engraving

A technique to obtain prints from an engraved surface. Engraving is the practice of cutting into a hard, usually flat surface.

Glossary: disinfectant

Material used for killing germs, bacteria, or spores.