This is easily one of our favorite segments of all time! It's a historical look at a crazy chapter in the world of decorating...
To summarize (without giving the whole fun story away), in the 19th Century arsenic was used to create vivid pigments that were then used in dyes and inks, on clothing, in paint, on food, and on wallpaper! Turns out, installing arsenic-laced wallpaper was actually a poor decision when it came to the health of you and your family! (Who would have thought!)
It's an interesting segment and is definitely worth a listen!
Shadows from the Walls of Death!
On the show, we talked about a rare book that you can view in the rare book collection at MSU. There were 100 copies produced in 1874 and now, only a handful remain. One of them is at MSU. Another is at the U of M.
At any rate, the book actually contains actual arsenic-laced samples of the wallpapers that were common in the early to late 19th Century. It is a piece of bizarre decorating history you can hold in your hands! (And the pages are now encapsulated in plastic, so you're safe!)
However, if you're not up for a road trip, here's a link to a beautiful full-color scan of the book! Check it out!