While digging thru some papers from the 1880s in my mothers storage I came across this little goodie, a cheaply printed and obviously poorly cut booklet from the Diamond Dye company! This was the early days of aniline (coal tar) dyes, synthasized from chemicals instead of extracted from plants. The dyes were much more reliable and light fast than natural dyes, but were (and to some extent still are!) extremely toxic.
This booklet told the tale of a black cat whose kittens were all pure white - totally unfashionable in the Victorian era. So she buys some dye and plunges them all into a boiling toxic dye bath... and they are magically brilliant black for the rest of their lives!
The booklet suggested using dyes to keep up with the latest fashions by recoloring clothing, to dye rags for carpets, to color ostrich feather tips (sure, I have a closet full of those..) and to keep children's clothing looking new(er). While the glowing reviews seem a little forced, the idea that one could keep altering ones clothing instead of getting new things all the time is refreshing. Would you change the colors of your clothes to keep up with the styles?