Thursday, 8 December 2011

In Praise of Wool.

    I am here today to give you information that will change your life. In these modern, sophisticated, technical times, here's a four letter word that for once you will like.    
    I tend to have some real old books on my shelves. It must be my age! I sat reading one yesterday. One that I found no mention of on the the internet whatsoever and that's quite unusual.
'Health Culture' by G Jaeger M.D, Professor of Zoology and Physiology, published in 1894. Evidently, according to a label on the inside of the cover, presented with the compliments of Dr Jaeger's Sanitary Woollen System Co., Ltd., 23, Commercial Street, Leeds.
    Fascinating, in its own way, it is a book extolling the virtues/benefits of WOOL, both as clothing and bedding. Evidently at one stage in his life Dr Jaeger was a poor speciman but was restored to good health by the wearing of wool. (He had at one time. varicose veins, he was 'fat and scant of breath', had 'disturbed digestion,' hemorrhoids and a 'tendency to chill diseases'. (He tells us wool wearers become 'fever proof'.) All cured by his love of wool. (Fetish might be too strong a word.) He calls wool 'the survival of the fittest material'.
    He advocates that all clothes, pants, socks, coats, shirts, even ladies corsets, the lot should be made exclusively from wool whilst shoes should be wool lined. (Even hats, his call for pure wool indoor hats for bald people is terrific.)
How about woollen hankerchiefs! 'Woollen hankerchiefs are far superior to linen ones' he emphatically tells us.
    He uses the word 'sanitary' frequently and makes the point that linen and cotton dresses are 'washing dresses' whereas wool dresses are 'brushing dresses'. He is adament that wool is best, whatever the climate, hot or cold, winter or summer; no change of style necessary.
'Amongst hairy animals, otters, beavers and others which are amphibious, make no such change, neither do the genuine inhabitants of the desert.'
    And wool is an excellent choice for military uniforms. 'Cool blood and hot bullets' is one of many quaint phrases he uses. (I loved his use of the phrase 'girded loins' when talking of the 'Sanitary Woollen Corset'.)
    Dr Jaeger mentions on occasion materials other than pure wool, such as  linen or material mixtures; none impress him.
Its wool, wool, wool for Doctor Jaeger. The only other material he rates highly is camel hair, though not for underwear as it's apparently difficult to weave. But particularly good for bedding, coverlets and rugs. He is adament that 'all covering other than wool should be discarded.' (The good doctor talks of the 'hardening' effect on the body, evidently 'hardening' is important to good health.)
Testimonials in the book include two famous people of the time. Henry M Stanley, 19th century explorer and utterer of those immortal words 'Dr Livingstone, I presume?' Less immortal, his opinion that 'I have pleasure in testifying to the excellence of the Jaeger Clothing which, during my late journey, I found very good.'
Plus Kate Marsden, traveller who, on behalf of the Empress of Russia,  investigated the condition of lepers in Siberia.
'I wish to thank you for having persuaded me to wear Jaeger Clothing. Humanly speaking I owe my life to that and not taking stimulants.'
     So there you have it. No more talk of feeling poorly. Out with the synthetics (not invented surely in the good doctors day), the vegetable fibres and in with the wool. If you don't and the winter gets to you, you have only yourself to blame. (I can only in part do justice to Dr Jaeger's philosophy concerning good health. his book in fact is almost two hundred pages long.) Any comments very welcome. I wonder what happened to the learned doctor and his company. I am sure there are some equally learned people amongst my readers, that is, of course, presuming there are people still out there! To finish, a story that must have been in my brain for many years and recalled as I wrote this piece. (I honestly believe EVERYTHING you ever experience is still in there somewhere, waiting to be recalled.)

Two old men, Fred and Albert are on the way to a Derby County football match one wintery day. It starts to rain. Fred takes his cap off and puts it in his pocket.
'What have you done that for? says Albert?
'Don't be daft,' says Fred, 'You don't think I'm going to sit in the house all night with a wet cap on!'                                                                                  

15 comments:

the fly in the web said...

Goodness gracious..Jaegar clothing!
My maternal grandmother was a follower of Dr.Jaegar..woolly underclothes-the lot!
She would not believe the smart store in Regent Street.

Materialmom said...

Apparently a pioneer in advertising was the good doctor - celebrity endorsements, dubious claims, catchy slogan (cool blood & hot bullets), female model - the works!

SueAnn said...

Wool huh? Well I am doomed then...I am very allergic to wool!! Ha!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Brian Miller said...

i got hung up on how a brushed cloth would make a good handkerchief...eww...and wool underwear just does not even sound comfortable...lol

Ruth said...

Look what I found!
http://www.scribd.com/doc/33873413/1892-Dr-Jaeger-s-Sanitary-Woolen-System-Company-Catalogue

Nota Bene said...

Off to the Jaegar store right now.....

Gill - That British Woman said...

I saw on someone's blog today, that they are using sheeps wool for insulation in their house in Scotland....

Gill in Canada

Grumpy Old Ken said...

fly in the web
I often think our grandparents knew best.

Materialmom
Yet I'd never heard of him. We never stop learning!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

fly in the web
I often think our grandparents knew best.

Materialmom
Yet I'd never heard of him. We never stop learning!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

SueAnn
Allergies are strange things. I wonder how many there are!


Brian Miller
Very true. Mind you, only fresh underwear appeals, after a week, oh dear!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Ruth, where the heck did you find that!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Nota Bene
Where's the nearest?

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Gill
Now that sounds an excellent idea

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Gill
Now that sounds an excellent idea

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