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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Old-timey glue

 Freshly broken egg shell

My mother taught me things her mother did during The Great Depression. When I was a child, stamps did not come ready-to-stick-on like they do today. There was glue on the stamp, but the stamp had to be licked or wet with a finger or sponge.

Imagine, if you can, a stamp with a surface that comes to life with moisture. Well, these stamps had to be licked or wet somehow in order for them to adhere to the envelope being mailed.

Overly-ambitious licking might remove part of the "sticky" part. Damp hands, putting a stamp down in the wrong place, licking and changing your mind about putting it on an envelope, a damp environment over time--all thwart the glue on the back.  The same is true of stamps that need moisture to bring glue to life. I am sure you all have stamp and glue issues even today.

What to do? Grab a pot of paste (kind with little stick on inside of lid) or find the mucilage. Those were our two choices. But, sometimes there was none in the house or not in sight. Maybe it had run out. We children always had mucilage and glue at school, but maybe there was none at home or none within reach.

At any rate, Mama would use the inside of a freshly-broken eggshell to stick stamps onto envelopes. It takes a long time for the inside of an egg to dry to an unusable state. So, she always had an egg shell handy. I do remember she sometimes cracked an egg in a cup and stored it in the refrigerator so she could have the "glue" inside the empty shell.

Once the egg was in the refrigerator, she had an eggshell full of "glue." Take your finger and rub some of the liquid onto the stamp and affix it to the envelope. Sometimes, then as now, envelopes, for whatever reason, lost their stickiness. So, the stamp can be glued onto the envelope. And, the envelope can be sealed for mailing--all by using what most people throw out.

I have used this method in the near past for resealing envelopes and for stamps that have lost their "sticky" attribute. As a matter of fact, I last used egg glue on an envelope and a stamp within the last three months.

Yes, I know there are glue recipes, but what can be easier than sticking a finger into a fresh egg shell and using the "glue" in the shell?

Your turn
Have you ever used the inside of an egg for "glue?" Are you willing to try it?


  1. As you know, I need some glue so I am going to try this first and it just so happens I need to crack some eggs for tonights meal.


  2. Barb,
    LOL...yes, I know. Responding to your post gave me the idea for this post.

  3. i have never used an egg for glue on a stamp or envelope - how ingenious, eh?!?!?! - but i have used egg whites to glue wontons, potstickers and pastries. if an egg white works as glue in cooking - it just makes sense that it would work on other things - my big duh! moment!

    thanks for sharing. i will be using this trick from now on!

    your friend,

  4. Never thought of it but am very willing to try. Very neat.

  5. Kymber,
    Thanks for pointing out the connection.

    Some people have said it might "let go" and their stamp would fall off or the envelope come unglued. Not so!

  6. I'll have to remember that. first thing I do after cracking eggs is wash my hands. oh, the waste! ;)

  7. Dmarie,
    It is only about 7 months late for responding. That's funny. Now, just keep a paste or glue chore handy and wipe your fingers there first.


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