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  • Post last modified:March 25, 2023
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How to Make Fortune at Home–One Hundred Ways to Get Gain in Your Own House–How to Get One Hundred Per Cent. Profit–Make Your Own Goods–Cheaper to Make than to Buy–Anybody Can do It–A Woman as Well as a Man–A Chance for Persons With Small Capital–Three Profits in One Sale.

How? On every article sold there is first of all the profit of the manufacturer, then of the wholesale dealer, and finally of the retailer. There is commonly a fourth, that of the freighter. If you keep a retail store, you must pay the man who makes the goods, the man who transports the goods, and the man who keeps the goods in large stock, and all this leaves you only a small margin of profit. In the following plan you avoid all these costs, pay only for the raw material, and make the four profits yourself.

You may begin your sales in your own home. If you have a large room fronting the street and near it, a little alteration will make it a veritable store. An expenditure of $25 should give you a show window and some nice shelves. Have a workroom in connection with your store. If your sales at first are small, you can put in your spare time in the making of your goods, and afterward as your custom increases you can employ help. The following articles are easily made. Many of them are novel, but all are salable if the store is properly managed.

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Section I. Household Ornaments._

A home may be rendered attractive by a few simple ornaments that are very cheap. Vines, grasses, etc., add touches of beauty to a home and cost very little. Few people know how to prepare these little curiosities, and many would esteem it too much trouble to get and arrange the material if they did know. But most of these persons would buy them if the materials were prepared, and the vines, etc., ready to grow. You must have models of each kind in full growth in order to excite their admiration, and then you must have others in the initial stage for sale. Take pains to show the models, and explain the method of treating the plants and vines. The following cost little, and can be sold for from 300 to 500 per cent. profit. Some of your patrons will prefer to buy the models outright, and others to grow them themselves.


Put in water as much alum as can be dissolved. Pour into an earthen jar and boil slowly until evaporated nearly one half. Suspend the grasses in such a manner that their tops will be under the solution. Put the whole in a cool place where not the least draught of air will disturb the formation of crystals. In twenty-four to thirty-six hours take out the grasses, and let them harden in a cool room. For blue crystals, prepare blue vitriol or sulphate of copper in the same manner. Gold crystals can be produced by adding tumeric to the alum solution, and purple crystals by a few drops of extract of logwood. Sell them at twenty-five cents a bunch.


Hold oiled paper in the smoke of a lamp, or of pitch, until it becomes coated with smoke. Then take a perfect leaf, having a pretty outline, and after warming it between the hands, lay the leaf upon the smoked side of the paper, with the under side down, press it evenly upon the paper so that every part may come in contact, go over it lightly with a rolling-pin, then remove the leaf with care to a piece of white paper, and use the rolling-pin again. You will then have a beautiful impression of the delicate veins and outline of the leaf. A sheet containing a dozen such leaves should bring you twenty-five cents; if arranged in a pretty white album, with a different kind of leaf for every page, the selling price should not be less than one dollar.

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Put a sweet potato in a tumbler of water, or any similar glass vessel; let the lower end of the tuber be about two inches from the bottom of the vessel; keep on the mantel shelf, and sun it for an hour or two each day. Soon the “eyes” of the potato will throw up a pretty vine. Now with some small sticks or coarse splints construct a tiny trellis, which, if placed in the window, will soon find a customer.


Suspend an acorn by a piece of thread, within half an inch of the surface of some water contained in a vase, tumbler or saucer, and allow it to remain undisturbed for several weeks. It will soon burst open, and small roots will seek the water; a straight and tapering stem, with beautiful, glossy green leaves, will shoot upward, and present a very pleasing appearance. Supply water of the same warmth once a month, and add bits of charcoal to keep it from souring. If the leaves turn yellow, put a drop of ammonia into the water, and it will renew their luxuriance.


Take a saucer and fill it with fresh green moss. Place in the center a large pine cone, having first wet it thoroughly. Then sprinkle it with grass seed. The moisture will close the cone partially, and in a day or two tiny grass spears will appear in the interstices, and in a week you will have a perfect cone covered with graceful verdure. The advantage of this, as well as of the other pretty things in this section, is that they are fresh and green in the midst of winter, and people are attracted to the slice of spring in your window when the outside world is mantled with snow.

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Take a common tumbler or fruit can and fill it nearly full of soft water. Tie a bit of coarse lace or cheese-sacking over it, and covering it with a layer of peas, press down into the water. In a few days the peas will sprout, the little thread-like roots going down through the lace into the water, while the vines can be trained upon a pretty little frame.


Take a large turnip and scrape out the inside, leaving a thick wall all around. Fill the cavity with earth, and plant in it some clinging vine or morning glory. Suspend the turnip with cords, and in a little time the vines will twine around the strings, and the turnip, sprouting from below, will put forth leaves and stems that will turn upward and gracefully curl around the base.


Mix one drachm chloride of lime with one pint of water, and add sufficient acetic acid to liberate the chlorine. Steep the leaves about ten minutes, or until they are whitened. Remove them on a piece of paper and wash them in clean water. They are now ready for sale, and all you need do is to arrange a dozen of them on a sheet of black paper, or in a dark-colored album, and expose them in your show window.

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Take the glossy silk stuff known as taffeta. Dye the piece the proper green color before cutting. After it is dried, prepare with gum arabic on one side to represent the glossy surface of the leaves, and with starch on the other to give the velvety appearance of the under side. Use a fine goffering tool to make the veins and indentations. Glue the leaves to the stem, and place to advantage in your store window, where, if you have been skillful, they can hardly be distinguished from the leaves of a growing plant.

If you are moderately successful, procure a book about household ornaments and artificial plants, and you will learn to make many more designs. We have selected these because they are the cheapest and most easily made. All the above, except the albums, should sell for twenty-five cents. Remember that a great deal depends upon your taste in arranging, your manner of explaining, and your adroitness in recommending. You must be so in love with your plants as to be enthusiastic. In general, a lady succeeds in this work better than a gentleman.

Section 2. Tea Dishes._

At almost no cost, you find yourself established in the midst of dozens of clinging vines and pretty plants. Now for the next step. Have a few appetizing tea-dishes in your window. Put out a sign, telling people that you will have every night certain fine and fresh table delicacies on sale. The effect of dainty dishes in close proximity to graceful vines is exceedingly tempting to the appetite.

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If very neat, you can sell to many families cold boiled ham for supper or lunch. Put the ham in cold water, and simmer gently five hours. Set the kettle aside, and when nearly cold draw off the skin of the ham and cover with cracker crumbs and about three tablespoonfuls of sugar. Place in the oven in a baking pan for thirty or forty minutes. When cold, slice thin and lay temptingly on large white plates. Cost of a ham weighing ten pounds, $1.20. Sales at thirty cents a pound, $3.00. Deduct for shrinkage in boiling and waste in trimming one and one-half pounds, forty-five cents. Profits, $1.35.


If successful with ham, you can try a little tongue. Soak over night and cook for four or five hours. Throw into cold water and peel off the skin. Cut evenly and arrange attractively on plates, garnishing with sprigs of parsley. Cooked meats should be placed in the show window under transparent gauze. In hot weather a cake of ice beneath will greatly tempt the appetite of the passer-by.


Where honey is high priced, make the following: Five pounds white sugar, two pounds water, gradually bring to a boil, and skim well. When cool, add one pound bees’ honey and four drops of peppermint. There is a large profit in this where the customer is not particular about the quality; but if a better article is desired add less water and more real honey.

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You can add a number of other tea-dishes as you learn what will sell. A thing that is salable in one community is often not so in another. You must be guided by the taste of the locality, and when a dish does not sell well try another.

Section 3. Pastry

Suppose you now try a little pastry. If you can make a superior article, you will have a ready sale, but it is often difficult to introduce the goods. It is sometimes a good plan to donate a cake to a fair, cutting the loaf into very thin slices, and giving them to leading ladies who may be present, superintending the matter yourself, and advertising that you will take orders.


The whites of eleven eggs, one and a half cupfuls of granulated sugar, measured after being sifted four times, one cupful of flour measured after being sifted four times, one teaspoonful of cream tartar, and one of vanilla extract. Beat the whites to a stiff froth and beat the sugar into the eggs. Add the seasoning and flour, stirring quickly and lightly. Beat until ready to put the mixture into the oven. Use a pan that has little legs on the top comers so that when the pan is turned upside down on the table after the baking, a current of air will pass under and over it. Bake for forty minutes in a moderate oven. Do not grease the pan. This cake should sell for $1, or, cut in twenty pieces, at five cents each.

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If you are located near a schoolhouse or on a street where many children pass, you can do a big business in dominos. Bake a sponge cake in a rather thin sheet. Cut into small oblong pieces the shape of a domino. Frost the top and sides. When the frosting is hard, draw the black lines and make the dots with a small brush that has been dipped in melted chocolate. They will sell “like hot cakes.”


All children like this. Here is an excellent kind: Six cupfuls of flour, three of molasses, one of cream, one of lard or butter, two eggs, one teaspoonful of saleratus, and two of ginger. You can sell this, when light and warm, almost as fast as you can make it.


These, too, are tempting to children. Four eggs, one half-pound sugar, two ounces butter, one pound flour, boiled milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a few drops of some essence. Beat the eggs and sugar and melt the butter and stir it in; then add a pound of flour and enough boiled milk to make a rather stiff dough; flavor with nutmeg, cinnamon, and a few drops of some essence; cut into shapes with tumbler or knife, and fry brown in hot lard. When done, sift on fine sugar. Made fresh every day and placed temptingly in the window, they will sell fast.

After you are well established, you should sell at least two dozen doughtnuts at a profit of a penny apiece, two cards of gingerbread at seven cents profit each, and three dozen dominos at a profit of five cents a dozen. Total profit per day on three last articles in this section, fifty-three cents.

Section 4. Sweetmeats and Confectionery._

If you find that children are your best customers, you may cater yet further to their taste. Remember that your success depends upon your keeping choice articles. It is surprising how children find out the best candy stores, and how quick they are to discern between good and bad stock. By making your own goods, you can sell a little cheaper than the dealers who have to buy.


This is something which all children like. Put the meats of the nuts on the bottom of tins previously greased to the depth of half an inch. Boil two pounds of brown sugar, one half pint of water, and one gill of molasses, until a portion of the mass hardens when it cools. Pour the hot candy on the meats and allow it to remain until hard.

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A favorite with girls. Boil a quart of best molasses until it hardens when put in water. Before removing from the fire, add four ounces of fine chocolate. Pour a thin layer into tin trays slightly greased. When it hardens a little cut into squares. You can sell these as low as thirty cents a pound, and still make a good profit.


Take one pound of sugar, seven teaspoonfuls of water, and one teaspoonful of essence of peppermint. Work together into a stiff paste, roll, cut, and stamp with a little wooden stamp such as are bought for individual butter pats.


(White)All children want molasses candy. Two pounds of white sugar, one pint of sugar-house syrup, and one pint of best molasses. Boil together until the mass hardens when dropped in cold water, and work in the usual manner. Sell by the stick, or in broken pieces by the pound, half, and quarter.

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Shell the nuts; pour over them boiling water. Let them stand in the water a minute, and then throw them into cold water. Rub between the hands. The nuts will be white as snow, and, if placed prominently in the window, very tempting. Sell by the ounce.


This always has a good sale. Chop a pound of figs and boil in a pint of water until reduced to a soft pulp. Strain through a fine sieve, add three pounds of sugar, and evaporate over boiling water until the paste becomes quite stiff. Form the paste into a square mass, and divide in small pieces with a thin-bladed knife. Roll the pieces in fine sugar, and pack in little wooden boxes.


One half-pound of drum figs, one pound of finest white sugar, white of one egg, one tablespoonful of cold water. Make sugar, egg, and water into a cream, and mold like bread. After figs are stemmed and chopped, roll a fig to one fourth of an inch in thickness. Place the rolled fig between two layers of cream, pass rolling-pin over lightly, and cut into squares of any desired size. Delicious, if well-made, and always salable.

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It is astonishing what vast sums accumulate from the children’s pennies spent for candy and sweetmeats. Many cases could be given of persons who have kept small stores, and been supported solely by the little streams of coppers and nickels. Get the children’s confidence, learn their names, always have a bright, kind word for them, and bait your hook occasionally with little gifts of sweets. They will flock to you like bees to a flower-garden.

Section 5. Preserves, Pickles, and Jellies._

We put these sweets and sours into one group because they sell best when in proximity. Almost everything depends upon the way they are put up. If the fruit shows artistically through the glass jars, or the pickles are put up attractively in cute little bottles with fresh-painted labels, he must be a stoic indeed who can pass your show-window without a coveting glance. Here are a few of the most popular things in this line:

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Take equal weights of sour oranges and sugar. Grate the yellow rind from one fourth of the oranges. Cut all the fruit in halves, pick out the pulp and free it of seeds. Drain off the juice and put it on to boil with the sugar. When it comes to a boil, skim it, and let it simmer for about fifteen minutes; then put in the pulp and grated rind, and boil fifteen minutes longer. Put away in jelly tumblers. Sell large glasses for twenty-five cents; small, for fifteen.


The Morris whites are the best. Take off the skins with boiling water. To each pound of fruit allow one pound of sugar, and a half-pint of water to three pounds of sugar. When the syrup is boiling hot put in the peaches, and as fast as they cook take them out carefully and spread on platters. When cool put them in jars and fill up these with syrup, using one-half syrup and one-half pale brandy. This is a very choice brand, and will only pay you where you have customers who are not sparing of their fortune.


Of showy fruits, none can excel this. To each pound of cherries, allow one-third of a pound of sugar. Put the sugar in the kettle with half a pint of water to three pounds of sugar. Stir it until it is dissolved. When boiling, add the cherries, and cook three minutes. Put up in jars that can be sold for from twenty-five to fifty cents.

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They hardly weigh a pound a piece, but they look as if they do with their great white bulks pressed up against the sides of the transparent glass. Take the largest kind, Bartlett, Seckel, or any that have a delicious flavor. Pare the fruit, cut in halves, and throw in cold water. Use one pound of sugar for three of fruit, and one quart of water for three pounds of sugar. When the syrup is boiling take the pears from the water and drop into the syrup. Cook until they can be pierced easily with a silver fork. Fill the jars with fruit, and fill up to the brim with syrup, using a small strainer in the funnel, in order that the syrup may look clear. Sell good-sized jars for fifty cents.


Jellies in little tumblers take up small room, and they can be grouped in artistic shapes. Here is a good grape: Mash fruit in a kettle, put over the fire, and cook until thoroughly done. Drain through a sieve, but do not press through. To each pint of juice, allow one pound of sugar. Boil rapidly for five minutes. Add the sugar, and boil rapidly three minutes more.


(Apple, Pear, or Peach). For six pounds of fruit, use three of sugar, five dozen cloves and a pint of vinegar. Into each apple, pear, or peach, stick two cloves. Have the syrup hot, and cook until tender. Put up in attractive little jars with colored labels. Jars should sell for twenty-five cents.

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Here is a very taking kind: Take large red-peppers, remove the contents, and fill them with chopped pickles. The red of the peppers against the white of the glass gives a very pretty appearance. Small bottles that can be sold cheap will be the most popular.


Pick out the nuts as nearly whole as possible, and steep in strong brine for a week, then bottle, add spice, and fill with vinegar boiling hot. Put up in very small jars. Have a jar from which to give samples if the dish is not common in the place.

There are a vast number of other fruits, vegetables, and nuts, which you can use as custom shall demand. If you grow your own fruit and do your own work, the result is nearly all profit. If you have to buy the fruit, the selling-price should be such as to give one third profit. This is the per cent. which all manufacturers expect.

Section 6. Toilet Articles._

These have a perennial sale. They are not confined to any season or age. Most of them, especially the French makes, come high, but they are composed of a few simple ingredients, and can be made by any person of ordinary skill. Here are a few of the best selling:


Heat dried rose-leaves in an earthenware pipkin, the leaves being covered with olive-oil, and keep hot for several hours. The oil will extract both odor and color. Strain, and put in little cut-glass bottles.


Take one pint of alcohol, twelve drops each of bergamot, lemon, neroli, sixty drops of lavender, sixty drops of bergamot, sixty drops of essence of lemon, and sixty drops of orange-water, shake well and cork.

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_Poudre de chipre_ one and one-half pounds, _eau_ (water) of millefleurs one and one-half drachms. Put up in small cut-glass bottles and give it a French name. _Poudre de Millefleurs_ will do.


This is a very delicate and fragrant perfume. Spirit of rose 4 ounces, essence of jasmine 4 ounces, tincture of tonka 2 ounces, tincture of civet 2 ounces, tincture of benzoin 4 ounces. Cost $1.65 per pint. Put up in half-gill bottles at fifty cents each, $4.00. Profit, $2.35.

In selling expensive perfumery, remember that the glass is cheaper than the contents, and you should therefore select thick bottles with small cubical space. Tie pretty colored ribbons around the necks of the bottles, and put them, four or six together, in attractive boxes with the lids removed. You must in every way court the patronage of the ladies, and you can in some cases well afford to give a bottle to the leader of a social set with the understanding that she recommend it to her friends.

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Section 7. Varnishes and Polishes._

With your plants, meats, preserves, candies, and perfumery, you have already got much beyond your show-window. You now have a “department store” on a small scale, and as you make the goods yourself you ought to be making fortune. There are some things you can add for which the demand will not be great, but then the cost of making is small. Besides, the goods, put up in bright tin boxes with colored labels and built up in pyramids on your shelves, will give your store an artistic and attractive appearance. Here are a few things that might profitably occupy your spare moments:


Take half a pound of black lead finely powdered, and mix with the whites of three eggs well-beaten; then dilute it with sour beer or porter till it becomes as thin as shoe-blacking; after stirring it, set it over hot coals to simmer for twenty minutes; then, after it has become cold, box and label.


Mix six parts of fine bone-black, twenty-eight of syrup or four of sugar, three of train-oil, and one of sulphuric acid. Let the mixture stand for eight hours, then add with vigorous and constant stirring four parts of the decoction of tan, eighteen of bone-black, and three of sulphuric acid, and pour the compound into a little tin boxes. Cost, one cent per box; sell for five cents.


Take eight parts of white wax, two of resin, and one pint of true Venice turpentine. Melt at a gentle heat, and pour the warm mass into a stone jar with six parts of rectified oil of turpentine. After twenty-four hours it should have the consistency of soft butter. Sell in small ten-cent boxes.


Beat the yolks of two eggs and the white of one; mix a tablespoonful of gin and a teaspoonful of sugar; thicken it with ivory black, add it to the eggs, and use as common blacking. This will give a fine polish to harnesses and leather cushions, and also may be used as a dressing for ladies’ shoes.

These are the varnishes and polishes that sell the most readily, but you must not think they will sell without advertisement, recommendation, and display. Label them attractively, and tell just what they will do. It is well to have a little hand press so that you can print your own labels, and also some marking-ink for posters. Use ink freely; and, if you can get the recommendation of some townsman who has tried one of your varnishes or polishes, give it a large display.

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Section 8. Soaps and Starches._

Soaps are easily made and very profitable. Several firms have made fortunes in soap during the last few years. You can make just as good an article in your own home and reap all the profits. With starches, take pains to let your customers know that you have different ones for different kinds of goods. Many use the same starch for all kinds of washing. You must show people that your starches are made especially for various kinds of garments, and that the effect will not be so good if the wrong starch is used, or one kind applied indiscriminately to all kinds of goods.


Mix flour and cold water until the mass will pour easily, then stir it into a pot of boiling water, and let it boil five or six minutes, stirring frequently. A little spermaceti will make it smoother. When cold, put in pasteboard boxes and sell cheap.

90. GLUE STARCH(For calicoes.)

Boil a piece of glue, four inches square, in three quarts of water. Put it in a well-corked bottle, and sell for a little more than Poland.

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91. GUM ARABIC STARCH(For lawns and white muslin.)

Pound to a powder two ounces of fine, white gum-arabic; put it into a pitcher, and pour a pint or more of boiling water upon it, and cover it well. Let it stand all night, and in the morning pour it carefully from the dregs into a clean bottle, and cork it tight. Recommend this to your customers, and tell them that a tablespoonful of this stirred into a pint of starch made in the ordinary manner will restore lawns to almost their original freshness.


This is a substance which, when added to starch, gives the cloth not only a high polish, but a dazzling whiteness. To produce this result, a little piece the size of a copper cent is added to half a pound of starch and boiled with it for two or three minutes. Now we will give you the whole secret. The substance is nothing more than stearine, paraffine, or wax, sometimes colored by a slight admixture of ultramarine blue. You can buy it in quantities for a trifle, and sell it in little balls or wafers at a profit of 500 per cent.


Five pails of soft soap, two pounds of salt and one pound of resin. Simmer together and when thoroughly fused turn out in shallow pans so as to be easily cut. This costs little more than the labor and by being able to undersell rivals you should have a monopoly in soap.

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This is a celebrated French toilet soap. The recipe is French suet nine parts, olive oil one part, saponified by caustic soda. Toilet soaps are also made of white tallow, olive, almond and palm-oil, soaps either alone or combined in various proportions and scented. The perfume is melted in a bright copper pan by the heat of a water bath.

Section 9. Soft Drinks._

You may now if you have a counter try a few soft drinks. A soda fountain is expensive and perhaps would not pay at this stage, but you might try it when you have more capital and customers. First try


Get a bottle of the extract, and make it according to the directions. Cost of ten gallons extract and sugar, $1. Put up in pint bottles at five cents a bottle $4. Profit, $3.

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Put into an earthen pot two pounds of loaf sugar, two ounces of cream tartar, two ounces of best ginger bruised, and two lemons cut into slices. Pour over them three gallons of boiling water, when lukewarm, toast a slice of bread, spread it thickly with yeast and put it into the liquor. Mix with it also the whites of two eggs and their crushed shells. Let it stand till next morning. Then strain and bottle. It will be ready for use in three or four days. Profits about the same as the last.


Get juicy fruit, and allow one orange or lemon to a glass. The tumblers for orangeade should be smaller than those for lemonade. Profits about two and one-half cents a glass.

Have your counter for drinks as near the door as you can. Keep your bottles on ice. Make your lemonade to order, and let it be known that all your beer is home-brewed. Ask your patrons if they like it, and take kindly any suggestions they may make. Let them know you want to please them.

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Section 10. Dairy and Other Farm Produce._

If you live in the country, or if your grounds are large enough, you can add immensely to your profits by keeping a cow, a pig, some poultry, and a few hives of bees. You will now need help–a boy to milk your cow, run on errands, and deliver goods; and a girl to help you in the work-room and to assist in the store.

98, GOLDEN BUTTER; 99, FRESH EGGS; 100, SWEET MILK; 101, SPARKLING HONEY; 102, NEW CHEESE; and 103, CLEAN LARD, are among the attractions and the sources of revenue you can add to your already prosperous business. Churn your butter till it is entirely free of the milk, salt it well and put it up in tempting balls, rolls or pats. A little finely-strained carrot-juice will give it a golden color without any disagreeable taste. For poultry, the Wyandottes and Plymouth Rocks are the best year-round layers. Have a sign “Eggs Laid Yesterday,” or “This Morning’s Eggs.” Sell milk by the glass, pint or quart; only be sure it is always fresh. Get a small cheese-press, and if you find a good sale for your cheese, milk, and butter, add to your stock of cows. Find out which of the three dairy products pays the best, and work accordingly. Invite people to taste your good things, and tell them that everything is homemade and fresh. Bees are perhaps the most profitable things in the world, as they entail no expense after the first outfit. Have honey both strained and in the comb as you learn the wants of your patrons. The pig will keep you in meat a large portion of the year, besides supplying to your store a limited quantity of nice white-leaf lard, which should be sold in little bright tin pails.


If you do not care for swine’s flesh, you can sell it for from twelve to twenty cents a pound. People are glad to buy fresh-killed meat and to pay a good price for it when their ordinary purchases have been many days slaughtered, and often freighted a thousand miles.

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Do not keep your hens beyond the second year, as they are not so good layers after that age. Have always a stock of fat fowls ready for market. SPRING CHICKENS. Here is another line in which you can invest. A chick costs in feed about twenty-five cents for the season, and they sell readily for a dollar a pair.

Section 11. Garden Vegetables._

If you have a small garden, you can supply your store with fresh vegetables during the season. It is very important that they should be fresh. Having your own garden, you can guarantee that quality to your customers. Take orders for the following day so that the vegetables may come straight from the garden into the hands of the consumer. Here are the six which grocers say sell for the largest profit.


Asparagus is at least one-half better when newly cut. Choose the white variety, and tie in small bunches. Sell at fifteen cents a bunch.

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Pick them fresh every morning. Put them in the usual boxes, and set them on a stand in front of the store. Have one or two large ones on the top of each box, and lay around them two or three strawberry leaves wet with dew.


If possible, have them so fine and large that five will fill a quart box. Sold even as low as five cents a box they are very profitable. This is at the rate of a penny apiece, and a thrifty tomato plant will bear fifty.


Peas in the pod are not attractive, but very young peas when shelled and put in little bright tin pails are irresistible. The very sight of them tickles the palate. Rise early, and pick and shell a pint of peas. If they do not sell, you can have them for your own dinner. Do not keep them overnight, as the succulent quality is soon lost after shelling.


Nothing easier to raise, nothing easier to sell. You can raise a bushel on a square rod if properly managed. Sell at fifteen cents a half-peck.


Sell at twenty-five cents a dozen ears. Be careful to pick before the kernels become large. Have a notice, “Corn Picked to Order.”

We have found out from the grocers what garden products sell the best. Now, suppose you have only a single rod of ground (about the size of a large room), and want to know how to plant it to the best advantage. Below will be found a comparative table of what, under generous cultivation, may be expected of each of the above in the way of hard cash from a single rod of soil.

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Asparagus (40 bunches at 15 cents a bunch), $6.00; strawberries (33 baskets at 15 cents a basket), $4.95; tomatoes (150 quarts at 5 cents a quart), $7.50; peas (16 pints at 25 cents a pint), $4.00; beans (1 bushel at 15 cents half-peck), $1.20; corn (8 dozen ears at 25 cents a dozen), $2.00.

If you have twenty square rods instead of one, your revenue from your garden may be increased by that multiple, and you will have an opportunity to try all the above sources of profit. Find out what fruits and vegetables sell best in your neighborhood, and plant accordingly. And remember that the key to your success in garden produce is the single word _fresh_.

Section 12. School Supplies._

There are a number of articles in use in our schools which can be made at home. Once let it be known that you can make and sell as good a quality as the imported article, and at a cheaper price, and you will have the patronage of all the schools in your vicinity. Advertise wisely, and in cases where the trustees furnish the things, make a low bid for the entire school supply.

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Save all your paper bags, iron them out smoothly, and make them into book covers. Sell them at three cents apiece, or take the contract to cover all the books in the school at two cents apiece.


Take forty-one parts of sand, four parts of lampblack, four parts of boiled linseed or cottonseed oil. Boil thoroughly, and reduce the mixture by adding spirits of turpentine so that it may be easily applied to a thin piece of pasteboard. Give three coats, drying between each coat. Finish by rubbing smooth with a piece of cotton waste soaked in spirits of turpentine. You have an excellent slate or memorandum book, which may be sold for ten cents. Use a slate pencil. Made in large quantities, these are very profitable.


Boil one and a half pounds of logwood with sufficient residue water to leave a residue of two and a half quarts. When cold, add one and a half drams of yellow bichromate of potash, and stir thoroughly, and the ink is ready for use. The above will fill twenty-five large ink bottles, which, at five cents apiece, come to $1.25. Cost, 25 to 35 cents.

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Take a piece of cheap white linen and make it into a pretty bag, with a strap to go over the shoulder. Have a colored stamp to put on the initials of the purchaser. Sell for twenty-five cents.


Take any cheap material, and cut in three circles of different sizes. Scallop the edges, and stitch together at the center. If the circles are of different color as well as size, it will be attractive to the children, and still more so if the smallest circle has an initial letter. Sell for five cents.


Thousands of parents would rather pay a trifling sum than be put to the trouble of providing and preparing lunch. Make a little repast cheap and neat. One large or two small sandwiches, a small dish of jelly or a tart, a pickle or a piece of cake. Put in a collapsible paper box, and tie with red or blue ribbon. Cost about six or seven cents. Sell for ten cents.

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Section 13. Christmas Presents._

You can do well with these if you are supple with your fingers and nimble with your tongue. Learn what artistic designs are becoming popular, and keep abreast of the latest fads. The fabric called denim is coming more into use every year, and as it is very cheap, and comes in all colors, it is especially suited for making, covering, and adorning all kinds of household handiwork. A ramble through the large metropolitan stores with a request to see the various lines of goods used for trimming and ornamenting will astonish you. The endless varieties of silks, satins, velvets, plushes, linens, laces, feathers, and so forth, should suggest to a lively mind infinite possibilities in the way of made-up articles of market value. Our list below must be taken only as samples of what a fertile mind and ingenious fingers can accomplish.


Take a piece of India silk of different colors, and let them all taper to a common center upon which a monogram is worked. Relieve the bareness of the white by a running vine and morning glories. A pillow of this kind which cost $3 sold for $8. The varieties of the sofa pillow are almost endless. Get a book of designs and learn to make the Organdy, Butterfly, Duck, Clover, Daisy, Cretonne, Yacht, Mull, Poppy, and many others.


Cut a circle of delicate écru linen twenty-two inches in circumference, and sew a piece of bonnet wire around it, notching or looping it so as to give an escaloped edge. Have a pretty little motto in the center, and fill the remaining space with snowdrops worked in ivory white, each tiny petal tipped with pale green, and with a long green stem. When properly worked, this is very pretty, and ought to command a good price.

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Make it five feet in length by three in width, and smaller flags in the same proportion. There should be seven stripes of red bunting, six of white, and a field of blue. On this field stitch forty-five stars of white. Face the inside of the flag with a piece of strong canvas for the admission of the pole. If the stars are of silk, the price should be at least twice that of linen.


Cut a piece of fine white duck in the shape of a square envelope and embroider upon the flap any simple design in wash silk. Close with button and buttonhole. Sell for fifty cents.


Take blue denim with dark and light shades happily combined. Let the tint of pale blue be appliqued on, and then worked in different shades of this color with rope floss in long and short stitch. The back may be of plain denim unadorned.

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You can get a dozen skeleton frames for a few cents, and French crêpe paper which costs little, and your own cultivated taste and deft fingers will do the rest. A cheap kaleidoscope will suggest an infinite number of designs. One lady made an elegant shade at a cost of $2.50, and sold it for $6.00.


Silk, worsted, and two hours of spare time will give you a pretty book-mark which should sell for fifty cents, at a cost of making (time not reckoned) of only fifteen cents.


Take a pasteboard box and line with denim. Include a tiny pin-cushion, scissors-case, thimble-holder, needle-book, flap, and spool wires.

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Always popular, but the form changes every season. Cover with silk or satin, and overlay with strips of fine linen embroidered in festoons of tiny blossoms. Border with ruffle of lace, and put small rosettes of baby ribbon at the corners.


A convenient receptacle for laundry, schoolbooks, shoes, and many other articles. It should be in envelope form, the dimensions eighteen by twelve. The material may be white linen, upon which you should work a gold border. Make an attachment for hanging on the wall.


Cut two circles of celluloid two inches in diameter, and four other circles of thin drawing-paper for inside leaves. In these little pockets place pieces of court-plaster, pink, white and black, cut into strips or squares, and held flat and stationary by having their comers thrust into slits cut in the paper. Punch holes in the left side of the case, and tie with baby-ribbon. Paint or work on outside cover a design of burrs with “I cling to thee,” or a design of beggar-ticks with “I stick to thee.”

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Same as above except that the shape is square.


Take a piece of stout pasteboard and turn down the corners. Cut the inside to the proper size, and stitch a piece of chamois over the pasteboard. Tie bits of colored ribbon on the corners. Sell for twenty-five cents.


Cover a tin box of any shape with one of the lesser inflammable materials such as chamois, and on the front attach a piece of match-paper. Sell for ten or fifteen cents.

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Take bamboo sticks or thin strips of wood, and glue them together in the form of a pocket-frame. The sticks should be about two inches apart and the outer lattice-work a little lower than the inner. Wind colored ribbons around the sticks, and have a circular head-piece for attachment to the wall.


(Easter present). Cover a flat pasteboard box with pale gray linen or delicate blue. Work a spray of passion-flowers on the top, inclosing some suitable motto.

Christmas presents should be in the store at least three weeks before the holidays. As many donors like to attach the initials of the recipient to the present, have prettily worked letters for that purpose, and charge ten cents a letter. Be careful to inform all possible customers of this arrangement, as many will be attracted by that feature. Call attention to this class of goods when your patrons are buying other kinds of your wares, and be always eager to show your latest designs. Remember that taste in this department is as important as the word fresh in Section 10.

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Section 14. Miscellaneous Articles.

Here are a few other things to complete the list of one hundred which you can make in your own home. You will discover many others for yourself as your trade increases, and your friends make suggestions. The secret of success is to find out what people want, and then give them a better and cheaper article than they can get elsewhere. You will find your customers’ wants changing according to the season or the newest fad. Things which you expected to sell will often be left on your hands. You must be prepared to take advantage of this. Drop the price when the demand falls, and always have in your mind some new article of home manufacture to take the place of that whose popularity is waning. Keep eyes and ears strained for the newest thing. As it was said of a certain burglar that he never saw a lock without the thought, “How can I pick it?” so you should never witness the sale of any article without the query, “How can I make it?” The following are easily made, and some of them very profitable:


If you can work up a demand for hot gems, you can make a good profit. Take a pint each of flour and milk, an egg, and half a teaspoonful of salt. Beat the egg until light, add the milk and salt to it, and beat gradually into the flour. Bake twenty minutes in hot gem-pans. The quantities given will make a dozen gems. Notice should be given of the hour of the day when they may be expected to be fresh from the oven. Charge twenty-five cents a dozen.


Nothing so delights the heart of a boy. Cut a large ripe melon into half-slices, rather thick, and lay them on ice in the show window. Cost of melon and ice, fifty cents. Twenty slices at five cents each, $1. Profit, one-half.

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Roll two strips of paste for the upper and lower crusts. Place the latter in position after moistening the plate, and fill with the prepared material already sweetened and seasoned. Lay on the upper crust, and make a little slit in the center. Put in hot oven, close draft after fifteen minutes, and bake from fifty minutes to one hour. Charge twenty-five cents for good deep pies.


You can do well with this in warm weather, if you have a room suitable for serving. One pint of sugar, one of water, and three of cream, the yolks of five eggs and a large tablespoonful of the flavoring extract. Boil the sugar and water twenty-five minutes. Beat the eggs with one fourth of a teaspoonful of salt. Place the basin of boiling syrup in another of boiling water, and, stirring the yolks of the eggs into the syrup, beat rapidly for three minutes. Take the basin from the fire, place it in a pan of ice water, and beat until cold. Add the cream and extract, and, placing the mixture in the freezer, pack around with ice, alternating with thin layers of salt. Turn the crank until the cream is frozen hard.


You can make a large profit on pork and beans in places where there is a demand for them. Both are cheap, and you can make a handsome profit on a dish selling for thirty-five cents, the dish to be returned. It is well if you can to make a bargain to supply families once a week on particular days. This dish takes well in all parts of New England.

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Raising your own tomatoes, you can make it at a trifling cost, and reap a profit at ten cents for small bottles. For twelve ripe, peeled tomatoes, take two large onions, four green peppers, and chop fine. Add two tablespoonfuls of salt, two of brown sugar, two of ginger, one of cinnamon, one of mustard, a nutmeg, grated; and four cupfuls of vinegar. Boil all together for three hours, stirring frequently, and bottle while hot.


Many housekeepers prefer to buy the preparation rather than to be at the trouble of making it. Lean beef, two pounds; beef suet, one pound; apples, five pounds; seeded raisins, two pounds; currants, two pounds; citron, three-fourths of a pound; pounded mace and pounded cinnamon, two tablespoonfuls each; one of grated nutmeg; one each of cloves and allspice; brown sugar two and one-half pounds; sherry wine, one quart; brandy, one pint. Put up in three-pound cans. The compound should make six cans, and you should charge seventy-five cents a can for so choice a product. You can reduce the expense, if your customers wish a cheaper article.


If you have a few apple trees, you will often find it more profitable to dry for future sale than to sell the green fruit. Pare, core, and slice. Lay the slices in shallow pans or on clean boards, and expose to the air until thoroughly dried. Then pack and store for the winter market. You should get at least ten cents a pound.

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No risk of loss on these for they will always sell. Buy from a shipper or wholesale grocer a bag of peanuts and roast them in the oven until they are a fine brown, taking care not to burn. Profits in a bag of peanuts selling at five cents, one-half pint, 100 per cent.


Roll a pinch of tobacco in a piece of white paper and scent with any agreeable perfume. More profit than in cigars.


Still used in the country, and to some extent by poor people in the city. Take beef and mutton suet in the proportion of one to two. Melt, and fill tin molds in which the wick has been previously inserted. The cost is little beyond the work. Charge twenty-five cents per dozen.

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(Rock and Rye). Here is the secret of this popular remedy for coughs, colds and lung troubles. Rye whisky, three gallons; syrup, made of rock candy, one gallon. Cost of whiskey and syrup, $3.50. Put up in pint bottles at fifty cents each, $16. Profits, $12.50, or nearly 300 per cent.


You may not sell much of this, but it is a useful article to have in the house, and will keep indefinitely. Buy a quantity of powder of aristol, and put it in small pepper-boxes, or in any box with a perforated lid, holding a few ounces. Dust the affected part freely with this, and the effect on the poisoned flesh will be magical. Use for any inflammation. Advertise it in placards.


Dissolve gum-arabic in water until the whole is of the consistency of cream, and keep it from contact with the air. Add a few drops of sweet oil to prevent it from souring. The cost is almost nothing. You can sell it at five cents a bottle.

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Use a large popper, and when the corn comes out white and hot, add a little molasses to make it adhere, and flavor with some popular extract. Mold it in balls, rectangles, or in any other fancy shape. A bushel of shelled corn which costs a dollar will make 125 balls. These at five cents apiece come to $6.25.

This completes the list of one hundred articles for your store. Observe that they are all made at home, and for that reason the profits are from 50 to 500 per cent., while in the ordinary way of buying from the wholesaler the storekeeper has to be satisfied with from 10 to 20 per cent. You will discover for yourself many other articles which can be made at home and sold at a profit, and you will not confine yourself to homemade goods, but will handle anything for which there is a demand whether you can make it yourself or not. Of course, if you make all the above goods, you will need much help, the cost of which will diminish somewhat the profits, but the design is that you begin on a modest scale, at first doing all the manufacturing yourself, and call in assistance as your business and capital grow. In writing this chapter the author has contemplated a lady as keeping a store of this kind, but a gentleman can do much of the work as well, and some sections of it better. Perhaps the ideal store would be that kept by husband and wife with growing children to assist. Now let us have the experience of a lady who has tried our plan.

Mrs. J—- G—- says: “By the death of my husband I was left alone with three children, Wilhelm fifteen, Gertrude thirteen, and Egbert ten. I had no means, though, fortunately, my little place in the suburban town of T—- was free of debt. It consisted of a neat house and three acres of land. Having a fondness for plants, I cultivated them in curious ways, while keeping my little family together by taking in sewing. One day a lady who was spending the summer in T—- called and inquired what I would take for a pea vine which was growing in a tumbler of water. I was surprised, as I had not thought of making merchandise of my plant pets. She purchased a number of pretty little odd things of vegetable life with which I had amused myself, and suggested that I might earn something by cultivating rare forms of plants. It was a new idea to me. I had not thought there was any fortune in what had been to me only a pastime, but I increased the number of my plant curiosities, and the lady and her friends bought them all.

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“Then my friend said to me, ‘Why don’t you keep a Home Store? You have so much taste I think you would do nicely?’ ‘And pray what is a Home Store?’ I inquired. ‘Oh, it’s a store where the things are all made at home.’ ‘But I have no capital.’ ‘You need no capital. See, the things are all made at home. Begin with a few tea dishes.’ So I bought a ham, sliced it thin, and laid some sprigs of parsley around it. I also made some artificial honey from a recipe in an old cook book. With the fortune I thus earned, I had my window enlarged into a show-window, and put in a variety of vegetables from my garden, taking care they should be strictly fresh every day. I had such success that, at the suggestion of my lady patron, I began to make a great many other things–pastry, preserves, sweetmeats, and toilet articles. I also purchased one hundred fowls, and served my customers with fresh eggs. My trade grew so that I decided to have a real store, and so, at an expense of about $50, I had my two front rooms made into one and fitted up with shelves and counters. I purchased a cow and a pig on credit, and also two or three hives of bees. The people seemed to appreciate my fresh eggs, milk, butter and honey, and I soon paid all my debts and branched out in several other directions in the way of homemade goods. Hitherto, my three children had afforded me all the help I needed, but now I found it necessary to employ a cheap male laborer to look after my garden, orchard, cow, pig, and poultry, as well as to assist in making some of my goods. I made a great variety of things as new suggestions came to me almost daily, and also, as my customers called for them, I bought what I could not well make myself. Now, after three years’ experience, I think I have the most profitable store of its size that can be found anywhere. Here is my account for last year:


Household plants Seeds $ .90 $15.25 $14.35 Table dishes Meats, etc. 12.59 36.94 24.35 Pastry Materials 53.36 166.05 112.69 Nuts and candy “ 61.66 379.22 317.56 Preserves, etc “ 12.10 49.75 37.65 Toilet articles “ 9.05 19.05 10.00 Varnishes and soaps “ 3.18 15.50 12.32 Soft drinks “ 5.15 31.55 26.40 Vegetables Seeds 2.50 37.27 34.77 School supplies Materials 3.70 13.71 10.01 Christmas presents “ 5.25 48.13 42.88 Eggs, honey and the dairy Keeping stock 75.50 217.00 141.50 Miscellaneous articles Materials 55.05 291.15 236.10 Goods bought Price paid 473.02 551.10 78.08 ——- ——— ——— $773.01 $1,871.67 $1,098.66

“Deduct from the above the wages of laborer at $20 per month, $240, and I have left $858.66 as net profit for my year’s work. The fruit for the preserves and pies was raised on the place, and I was under no expense for tin and paper boxes, these being collected from the houses of my friends. It will be seen that nearly one-third of the sales of my ‘Home Store’ were of purchased goods on which the profit were only 15 per cent., but so large was the profit on the homemade goods that the total sales were at the gratifying advance of 80 per cent. Besides, I have had the living of my family and hired help. The expense for meats not furnished on the place, and for groceries not kept in the store, together with that for clothes, taxes, and sundries, was $316.05. Thus, I have paid all my expenses, and saved $540 for a rainy day. Pretty good, don’t you think, for a woman, and a novice at that? Of course, I have worked hard, sometimes as many as fifteen hours a day, but I have enjoyed it, and think I am on the way to a snug little fortune. Others with more talents, and under more favorable circumstances, I have no doubt could do much better.

“The secrets of my success, if you ask me, are: First, the trading instinct, or the knowing what, where, and when to buy. (I never let myself get out of a stock article). Second, courtesy to all–to the little barefoot colored boy just the same as to the grand madam. Third, economy, both in my family expenses, buying only what I need, and in my store, using in other ways that which will not sell in the original form, throwing nothing away unless it is spoiled and even that giving, as a last resort, to my pig and poultry; and fourth, hard work, making and selling with my own hands everything I can, and carefully superintending everything I cannot.”


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