I was back from school (6th grade). I opened the door and almost gagged… Mom came out of the kitchen to greet me
Me: WHAT IS THAT SMELL!
Mom: bone clay
Me: WHAT BONE!? Omg I’m going to die a very slow and painful death
Mom: melted bones blah blah blah blah blah
WTF “melted bones” !? I could not hear anything else past those words because I was screaming so loud in my head. I tried to run to my room, but the smell was everywhere… so rancid and overpowering! A couple of men were in the master bedroom getting ready to paint the walls.
I never really asked my mom what the hell that was and why were we melting bones on our kitchen stove!?
She explained that back then, bone clay (bone glue) was mixed with paint to better keep on the walls. If the paint was used by itself it rubbed off easier from the walls. She said bone glue was also used by artists. They would mix it in with their paint and masterpieces were created!
I did a quick research on the subject and it turns out it is very popular and used as a binding substance. Woodworkers used it all the time and swore that it was much better to glue together wood using bone glue than any other artificial substance. Using bone glue gives the user a heightened feel for the material and a sharpened eye for detail. Many who have switched from white glues to bone glue continued to use it and appreciated its characteristics when used with an organic material.
The first known written procedures of making animal glue were written about 2000 BC. Between 1500–1000 BC, it was used for wood furnishings and mural paintings, found even on the caskets of Egyptian Pharaohs. The evidence is in the form of stone carvings depicting glue preparation and use, primarily utilised for the pharaoh’s tomb’s furniture. Egyptian records tell that animal glue would be made by melting it over a fire and then applied with a brush.
The first commercial glue factory opened in Holland circa 1700, manufacturing animal glue from hides. The United States’ first glue factory opened in 1899, established by the Milwaukee Tanning Industry. The L.D. Davis company thrived producing animal glue during the Great Depression after shifting its focus from stencilling, selling to local box makers and other users; L.D. Davis’ animal glue formula for bookbinding remains in production. During the 18th and 19th centuries, ranchers disposed of old animals – horses in particular – to glue factories. The advent of synthetic adhesives heralded the collapse of the animal glue industry.
Today, animal glues are sparsely industrialised, but still used for making and restoring objects, paintings, illuminated parchment manuscripts, and other artefacts. Gelatin, a form of animal glue, is found in many contemporary products, such as gelatin desserts, marshmallows, and pharmaceutical capsules, and is used to reinforce sinew wrappings, wood, leather, bark, and paper. (wikipedia.com)
Don’t knock it ’til you try it!
PS. I bet you will think twice about those campfire marshmallows 😉 mmmm gelatin smores!
PSS. All these years I thought she was melting dog bones!