“It is fifteen years since guano was first used in Europe. Since then its consumption has increased up to nearly 100,000 tons per annum. In our own country the demands for it were so numerous last year that they could not be supplied. From the great and insatiable demand for this manure, it has been subject to the most glaring adulterations by mixing it with loam of the same color as the guano itself. Farmers should therefore purchase it of respectable and well known dealers. The best quality of this fertilizer is the Peruvian.”

Scientific American, April 1855

More gems from Scientific American’s first 175 years can be found on our shiny anniversary page.