653: Common Scents

In January of 1776 Thomasina Pain, a housewife from Pennsylvania, published a treatise that would shake the world to its foundation, and cause individuals all over to question the very foundations upon which society was based. Rather than deal with the outgrowth of societal imbalance, Thomasina chose to go to the very source, and identify the sensory inputs which were shared by almost all individuals, and were therefore impossible to ignore. Dubbed Common Scents, Thomasina’s book would go on to become one of the best-selling books in American history.

It is reprinted here in its entirety.


Common Scents

By Thomasina Pain

  • Flowers
  • Steak
  • Manure
  • Skunk
  • Algae
  • Smoke
  • Glue
  • Urine
  • Pine
  • Horse
  • Grass
  • Whiskey
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tobacco
  • Blood
  • Fish

While some have argued that Thomasina’s work is cursory, and lacks the all encompassing nature that one would expect when engaging in a study of common scents, it remains one of the most effective pieces of media in exposing the scents that are commonplace in every day life.


Photo by Hiago Italo on Pexels.com

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