What is a "sundry"?

We use the term "sundry" as a collective term for all of those usually small items that aren't particularly glamorous but certainly help make life easier or more efficient. The dictionary definition for the time period has "sundry" as meaning "several" or "more than one or two."


ItemShort DescriptionQuantityPrice
BeeswaxBeeswax was used for a variety of purposes during the mid-nineteenth century. Although the first thought might be for candles, tallow probably was the primary candle material due to its availability and price, even though beeswax was a superior material and had a higher melting point. Beeswax was used to seal containers in food preservation, to treat thread before sewing, to waterproof containers, and as a light-weight contact adhesive.

The beeswax we carry we obtain directly from an apiary. It has been cleaned and has a golden-brown color. A sniff of the wax leaves no doubt about its origin.

1 ounce

4 ounces
8 ounces
1 pound
$ 1.10

$ 3.00
$ 5.00
$ 9.50
BluingDuring the laundry process, soap residues and boiling caused whites to develop a yellow or pale tan shade with repeated washings. The addition of a bluing agent to the final rinse of the whites imparted a very light blue tint to the whites and made them look whiter. The same principal is used today in the pale blue tint of many modern detergents.

Liquid bluing was unknown at the time of the civil war so solid bluing should be used. Depending upon the maker, it could be one of three different materials. For a full discussion of bluing, consult The Laundry Handbook in the 20th century books section. The way the bluing is used is to make three separate bags, one inside the other and not sharing a common seam, to make a bluing bag. (The reason for the three bags is to make it more difficult for any tiny particles of bluing to get in the rinse water. If they contacted the fabric, they could make a blue stain.) Put the solid bluing inside the bag and slosh around in the rinse water until the water becomes "sky blue." The bag with the remaining bluing can be hung up to dry and reused until the bluing is exhausted.

1 ounce

4 ounces

8 ounces
$ 1.50

$ 4.00

$ 7.00
Candles, Stearin Candles made of 100% stearin. Also known as adamantine, they are far superior to tallow and more correct than paraffin. We are the only sutler we know of carrying these candles. $ .80
Drop Spindle From the lack of mention of drop spindles in the United States during the civil war period, we have concluded that they probably were not used much as a means to spin thread and yarn. However, if you want to demonstrate spinning and cannot afford a spinning wheel, a drop spindle is an easily affordable and highly portable alternative. It is incumbent upon the demonstrator, then, to explain the substitution of this tool to demonstrate spinning. Comes complete with spindle and carded fleece. $ 11.45
Fragrant Waters The fragrant waters are sold in modern amber 4 oz bottles. They should be stored in a dark place when not in use.
Fragrances available:

Carmelite Water - A combination of orange flower water, lemon balm, lemon zest, angelica, and aromatic spices.

Florida Water - Florida water is a light citrus-scented fragrant water.

Lavender Water - This has the fresh fragrance of its namesake.

Orange Flower Water - A fragrance originally made in the Middle East.

Rosewater - Probably one of the oldest fragrant waters.

Violet Water - A light violet-scented water.

$ 8.50
Sugar Cones One of the ways to buy certain kinds of sugar during the civil war period was to purchase it molded into a cone shape. These cones are a little less than nine ounces in weight and about 6 inches tall and about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Because the are prepared by a modern processor, they are wrapped in cellophane. $ 4.95