Long before the Consumer Product Safety Commission, people were on their own to make decisions about items they choose to bring into their homes and left to their own devices on how to operate them properly. Some did, some didn’t. Just as we do today, we read the instructions, maybe even the warnings, but we don’t always follow them as well as we should.

Such was the case in October of 1933 at the DAVIS home in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Writing to her daughter Inez at college, Inez Catherine CONNELLY DAVIS related a story of a modern convenience the family had purchased.

“We bought one of those dry-cleaning machines from Macy’s
and the chemicals to go with it. They are like a little washer only
you turn it by hand. The directions told us plainly to raise the
windows if used in the house and to be careful not to inhale the fumes.”
dry cleaning machine

So we know the directions warned about the noxious nature of the dry-cleaning solvent. Do you see where this is going?

   “We tried it in the house the first night  we got it and didn’t open the windows. The odor was quite heavy, like ether, but it didn’t bother us a whole lot. When we went to uncover the bird in the morning, he was dead in the bottom of the cage. So that was the end of Billy.”

RIP Billy the Bird