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The webmaster, Pat Cryer, as a child

Waterglass for preserving eggs

What waterglass is

Water glass* is a sodium silicate solution that supposedly sealed the pores in the egg shells to stop them going bad.

Water glass is not to be confused with isinglass which is made from fish swim bladders. In the old days it was used clarify cloudy wine. I used isinglass when making home-made wines many years ago.

Norman Groocock

*Three spellings seem accepted: 'water glass', 'water-glass' and 'waterglass'. It is still available on line or from specialist shops.

Tin of Water glass, also known as waterglass, for preserving eggs

Tin of water glass for preserving eggs. Photographed at Llanerchaeron House.

The following method of how to preserve eggs with waterglass comes from people who actual saw it done on a regular basis during the rationing and shortages of the Second World War. During this time, it was common to keep chickens, as it had been for generations in rural areas, so there was frequently a surplus of eggs which had to be preserved.

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How my mother preserved eggs using waterglass

My mother used waterglass for preserving our eggs.

We bought the waterglass as a powder in a packet similar to that of a 2lb cardboard castor sugar packet. We poured the powder into a bucket and mixed in water until it reached the right consistency. It then looked rather like a cloudy grey and very liquid polycell wallpaper paste.

My mother had a large stoneware container with a lid. When she had any eggs to preserve, she simply poured the waterglass into it and lowered the eggs in one by one. Then she put the lid back on again.

When we needed an egg, it was simply lifted from the liquid, washed, and used in the normal way. I don't remember that the eggs tasted any different from fresh ones.

I don't really know how long they could be kept, but at least a couple of months I think.

Dick Hibberd


My mother used to use to preserve eggs with water glass in the war. We didn't leave them in the liquid but just painted each egg and left it to dry before storing. Sometime it was some months before we ate any. There were a few failures I remember, but most tasted OK!

Chris Phillips

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What eggs preserved in waterglass were like

The eggs came out of water glass feeling slimy but as far as I can remember they were OK boiled. I preferred the dried egg for omelettes.

We had a stoneware jar of waterglass in the pantry. We didn't use it much, though, because one really had to have a good source of eggs to make it worthwhile, and that meant keeping hens.

Norman Groocock


If you can add anything to this page, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Pat Cryer


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This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times.