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William Pybus book of recipes, remedies, and experiments


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

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Due to the nature of this volume, its creator, William Pybus, was possibly the same William Pybus who authored A Manual of Useful Knowledge, being a collection of valuable miscellaneous receipts and philosophical experiments selected from various authors (Hull, 1810), The Family Useful Companion; containing a variety of domestic receipts, selected from various authors (Hull, 1810), and The Ladies' Receipt Book, containing a collection of valuable miscellaneous receipts, and choice secrets in useful, elegant and ornamental arts (Hull, 1810). He was possibly a clockmaker who worked in Lincolnshire, England and lived from 1786 to 1861.

Throughout the volume, Pybus repeatedly attributes the recipes, remedies, and processes he is copying to various magazines, including the following.

The Annals of Philosophy was a scientific journal founded by Thomas Thompson in 1813. Due to "attractive features such as annual reports on the progress of science, it rapidly overtook its proprietary competitors." (Morrell 2004)

The Monthly Magazine was a London-based periodical founded by Richard Phillips that ran from 1796 to 1843. It is described as being, "the journal of the Dissenters, the Unitarians – radicals in religion and politics alike, believers in the March of Intellect towards the Reign of Mind." (Carnall 1954) It was a politically liberal magazine containing miscellaneous articles on literature, science, and politics.

The New Monthly Magazine and Universal Register was founded in 1814 as a Tory publication opposed to liberal journals such as The Monthly Magazine. In 1821, Thomas Campbell was appointed as the new editor, at which time the magazine became less political and became "the most significant of the metropolitan literary miscellanies." (Higgins 2006)

Nicholson's Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry and the Arts was a scientific journal founded by William Nicholson in London in 1797. The journal offered both original scientific papers and "a wealth of material translated or reprinted from hard-to-find or expensive publications. (Watts 2014)

The Philosophical Magazine was founded by Alexander Tilloch in 1798. Its purpose was to "diffuse Philosophical knowledge among every class of society, and to give the public as early an account as possible of every thing new or curious in the scientific world, both at home and on the continent." (Burnett 2006) It competed with Nicholson's Journal before taking it over in 1813. The magazine's monthly issues covered physics, chemistry, natural history, and the practical arts.


Burnett, John. "Tilloch, Alexander (1759–1825), journalist and inventor." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004,

Carnall, Geoffrey. "The Monthly Magazine." The Review of English Studies, vol. 5, no. 18, 1954, pp. 158–64. JSTOR, Accessed 23 Jan. 2024.

"Collections Online: British Museum." Collections Online | British Museum, Accessed 23 Jan. 2024.

Higgins, David. "The New Monthly Magazine". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 October 2006,, accessed 23 January 2024.

Morrell, Jack (23 September 2004). "Thomson, Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/27325

"Pybus, William, manuscript book of recipes, remedies, and experiments" (Kislak Center administrative file)

Watts, Iain P. "'we want no authors': William Nicholson and the contested role of the scientific journal in Britain, 1797–1813." The British Journal for the History of Science, vol. 47, no. 3, 2014, pp. 397–419,

This volume was written and compiled by William Pybus in England between 1815 and 1816. It contains 382 recipes, remedies, processes, experiments, and inventions, mostly attributed to English scientific and miscellanea journals from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

There is a wide variety of subjects represented in this volume. Pybus compiled information mostly relating to scientific advancements and innovation. Many of the methods, recipes, descriptions, or processes noted are listed as being new, alternative, or from outside of England or Europe.

Examples of the recipes, remedies, processes, experiments, and inventions Pybus compiled include preparation of soap from fish (p. 7), turnip bread (p. 27), description of a boiler for the use of tallow chandlers and other manufacturers of inflammable matters (p. 41), flesh wounds (p. 55), to prepare glue from tanned leather (p. 66), method for preserving persons from drowning when the ice breaks under them (p. 78), cure for chilblains (p. 110), potatoes – new methods of producing them (p. 121), a remedy for the poison of false mushrooms (p. 126), detonating balls (p. 132), iced creams (p. 156), tobacco smoking (p. 182), and easy method of churning butter (p. 188).

Sold by Dean Cooke Rare Books, Ltd. (Bristol, England), 2022.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Kelin Baldridge Smallwood
Finding Aid Date
2024 January 23
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William Pybus book of recipes, remedies, and experiments, 1815-1816.
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