Dragon's blood

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Elaine Barnes

Former Member
At first I thought it was just because it was late at night when I was looking at the cargo list of Titanic's maiden voyage, then I checked it three times to be sure. Brown Brothers &Co. was transporting dragon's blood? Does anyone know what this product was and it's uses(above and beyond Harry Potter's uses at Hogwarts)?

Pat Cook

Dear Elaine,

I can well understand your surprise and confusion on the matter as it was late at night, years ago, when I also ran across the notorious cases of Dragon's blood myself. My best research (at that time) revealed this was a type of varnish or stain, if I remember correctly. This was derived (again this is from memory here) from a type of berry so Mr. Potter's use of same for Hogwarts could also emanate from this same source.

Hope this is of some help. And that I haven't mis-remembered it all.

Best regards,
'Dragon's blood', (the real name is 'Sangre De Drago'), is a medicinal mixture from South America. It's still being used there. When I was in Equator, I bought some. It is a dark mixture that helps the wounds to heal. Doctors often use it, even in the USA. Hope this helps,


Stephen Stanger

Former Member
I also think that the Dragon's Blood was one of those multipurpose type things that could also have been used for dying fabrics and for make up (lipsticks, blushes etc).
It was probably a nice alternative for the ladies as it was still the era when women were known to use their own blood for lipstick.

Timothy Trower

Former Member
Taken from my post on www.titanic-titanic.com:

Although Dragon's Blood has several different sources and several different uses, this consignment was to be used in photoengraving. Photoengraving is the act of taking a flat copper, zinc or magnesium plate, burning an image on it, and then etching the plate with chemicals to eat away the unwanted portions of the plate material. This would leave a raised area on the plate that would be inked and printed from.

Dragon's Blood is acid resistant, and is used to reinforce the coating that the engraving plates have on them. This photo sensitive coating is exposed to a bright light, and any imperfections in the plate are touched up with Dragon's Blood before they are etched.

In the 1921 Ostrander Seymour Company catalogue, Dragon's Blood is sold with this description: The use of dragon's blood as an acid resist in the burning-in of plates is universal, and the brands we carry are in general use in the most progressive photo-engraving plants in the country.

No. A, dark red, 1 pound can, $2.00
No C. pink top powder, 1 pound can, $.75
Special red, our leader, 1 pound can, $1.50

(From the prices, I am assuming that the dark red was fairly pure, the special red a kind of house blend, and the pink top powder was the economy version.)

Brown Brothers & Company was the consignee for this shipment of Dragon's Blood. They were -- as far as I have been able to find out -- distributors of printing equipment and supplies on the east coast of the United States. (Not to be confused with the banking interest of the same name.) I have precious little on this firm, but am personally very active in the trade that once used Dragon's Blood quite extensively.
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