In fact, they were the first to sell seeds in small packets rather than in bulk. They developed the first flat (rather than cylindrical) brooms, tilting tips for chair legs, an apple peeler, a revolving oven, an industrial washing machine, and the circular saw. Their expertise in herbal medicine, state of the art at the time, was led by Dr. Thomas Corbett in Canterbury, NH, Dr. Eliab Harlow in New Lebanon, NY, and Elisha Myrick in Harvard, MA. Many communities devoted facilities to the harvesting, drying, and pulverizing of medicinal herbs and to the distillation of syrups. Their home remedies includied highly efficacious cough drops and Corbett's Shakers' Compound Concentrated Syrup of Sarsaparilla; Shaker Hair Restorer; Shaker Vegetable Family Pills; The Shaker Asthma Cure, which may have contained plant-derived atropine, stramonium, or henbane; and Pain King (“Orders pain out of doors and sees that the command is obeyed!”).
Top Ten Shaker Lessons for Anesthesiologists
1. “If you are obliged to sneeze or cough, don’t bespatter the victuals.”
(from a plaque enumerating "Shaker Table Manners.")
Photo credit: Sorensen ether-suction anesthesia machine (c. 1925) found among medical artifacts at Canterbury Shaker Village, uploaded here.
"Shaker Herbs," an online article by Rita Buchanan
a mouth-watering spinach salad with candied pecans, blueberries, red onions, and honey-poppyseed vinaigrette