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The Most Important Survival Skills of the 1800s

Copyright March 1, 2017 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.

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ISBN: 978-0-9850358-5-3
Type of Book: Paperback
Book Size: 8.5 inches by 11 inches
Number of Pages: 188
Number of Full Color Pictures: 273
Number of Sketches and Illustrations: 32
Normal Price: $29.95

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Book Description on Amazon.com

Learn the basic survival skills your ancestors used in the 1800s to improve the quality of their daily lives. The author is an old man who invested more than 40 years of his life testing, modifying, and perfecting these skills to make them more reliable and easier to learn. The skills discussed in this book could be successfully used by almost anyone who can follow simple instructions.

This book contains detailed instructions and full color pictures on how to do many things, such as how to start a friction fire using a bow drill, how to make homemade soap, and how to skin and butcher wild game animals.

However, this book does not include detailed instructions on some topics, such as how to breed, train, and care for horses. Entire reference manuals have been written on the topic of horses and if you wish to know the specific details on how to raise horses then you need to purchase a reference manual written just on horses. On the other hand, if you would just like to know some general information about horses and why they were important in the 1800s then this book will provide that information.

Preface to
The Most Important Survival Skills of the 1800s

In the 21st century we are bombarded with information overload from a wide variety of different sources, such as television, youtube, books, the internet, radio, facebook, and magazines. We can easily find an overwhelming amount of information about any topic we are interested in. The major problem today is that the information from different sources can frequently contain conflicting claims that lead to totally different conclusions. And there is no easy way to determine what is correct and what is not. For example, how long should meat be smoked to significantly extend its shelf life but still retain as much of the original flavor in the meat as possible? If you look this up on the internet today then you will find many different answers to this one simple basic question.

Another problem that I have noticed is that some of the people who write about "primitive skills" are simply repeating what they read on the internet, or learned from a book, or they are repeating what they learned from someone who learned that skill from a book. Although they can provide detailed instructions and pictures on how to do a specific skill they may not know if the method they are describing is actually the best possible way to do that specific skill.

This book on primitive survival skills is different because the chapters in this book were not simply copied from another source. Although some of the information in this book can be found elsewhere, most of the information in each of the chapters is from my own personal files and it is based on my own personal life experiences.

My life experiences include approximately six months living deep in the backwoods of Maine with my wife and our three small preschool age children from June to November of 1975 while I was building a rustic log cabin using pine trees that grew on the 12 acres of land we had purchased. I wore a pistol every day while I was building our cabin in that primitive wilderness environment. I hunted with a bolt-action rifle and I used steel traps to capture wild game animals. We cooked our meals over a campfire every day. After returning to "civilization" in late November of 1975 I continued to study about pioneer life and the primitive survival skills that were widely used in the 1800s. Since 1975 I have actually used a wide variety of "primitive skills" and I have accumulated a tremendous amount of practical hands-on knowledge and experience on each of these skills. And it has all been tempered by my actual experience of living a primitive existence in the backwoods of Maine during the summer and fall of 1975.

This book is the result of my life experiences. This book contains easy to follow instructions on a wide variety of skills that were of critical importance to a family's survival in the 1800s. This book is unique because it frequently explains the reasons why the various steps should be followed and it describes the most likely consequences of not following the recommended procedures. For example, when making meat jerky the salt should be added to the sliced meat strips before drying the meat and the salt will help to protect the exterior surface of the dried jerky. However, when making pemmican the salt should not be added to the meat before drying. Instead the strips of unsalted dried meat should be ground into small pieces, mixed with some ground dried fruit, and then the salt should be added and stirred throughout the dry mixture. Then some melted animal fat should be added to the mixture and stirred to hold everything together. By adding salt after drying and grinding the meat, the salt helps to protect the entire surface of the tiny ground meat particles (and not just the outside of the meat strips), and the dried fruit, and the melted fat. This explanation is included in the meat jerky chapter and in the pemmican chapter so that my readers will understand why salt should be added when recommended in each of those two chapters. This is just one example of how this book takes the time to clearly explain why the recommended sequence of steps should be followed in each chapter.

March 1, 2017

Table of Contents

Chapter Page
Section One: Tools and Weapons
1 Knives 1
2 Hatchets and Tomahawks 3
3 Bow and Arrows 4
4 Spears and Clubs 7
5 Leather Slings 8
6 Ropes and Whips 9
7 Hand Tools 11
8 How to Sharpen Tools and Weapons 12
Section Two: Primitive Skills
9 How to Render Animal Fat 13
10 Soap 15
11 Candles 25
12 Clay Pottery 29
13 Sundials 33
14 Navigation 35
Section Three: Fire
15 The Importance of Fire 38
16 Types of Fire and Fire Safety 39
17 Tinder 40
18 Matches and Lighters 41
19 Flint, Friction, and Solar 44
20 Bow Drill 45
21 Fire from a Bullet 53
Section Four: Fuel
22 Wood 54
23 Natural Gas and Propane Gas 56
24 Coal, Coal Oil, and Kerosene 58
Section Five: Cooking Options
25 Campfires 59
26 Fireplaces 61
27 Cast Iron Stoves 64
28 Cast Iron Cookware 65
29 Dutch Ovens 70
30 Camp Ovens 71
31 Reflector Ovens 72
32 Solar Ovens 75
Section Six: Water
33 Water Importance 77
34 Water Sources 78
35 Water Purification 81
36 Water Storage 86
Section Seven: Fish and Meat
37 Primitive Fishing Techniques 89
38 Gill Nets 90
39 Traps and Snares 97
40 Skinning and Butchering 100
41 Other Edible Creatures 103
Section Eight: Edible Wild Plants
42 Edible Wild Plants 104
43 Acorns 109
44 Hickory Nuts 117
Section Nine: Gardens and Orchards
45 Criteria for Selecting Vegetable Seeds 119
46 How to Grow Vegetables 121
47 Crop Rotation and Mulch 125
48 How to Grow Your Own Seeds 127
49 Seed Harvesting and Storage 135
50 Fruits, Nuts, Grapes, and Berries 137
51 Fruit Trees From Seed 146
Section Ten: Food Preservation
52 Food Safety 149
53 Smokehouses 150
54 Root Cellars 155
55 Drying Food 156
56 Parched Corn and Rockahominy 158
57 Meat Jerky 160
58 Pemmican 162
Section Eleven: Farm Animals
59 Chickens and Rabbits 165
60 Cows and Goats 166
61 Horses, Ponies, and Mules 167
Section Twelve: Health and Hygiene
62 Honey 168
63 Apple Cider Vinegar 169
64 Herbal Home Remedies 171
65 Insect Bites and Skunk Deodorizer 173
66 Head Lice 174
67 Aspirin 178
68 How to Wipe Without Toilet Tissue 181
Index 182
About the Author 184

Click here and you will be taken to the Amazon web page that features this book.