Saturday, 26 July 2014

History in my Wardrobe: Slippers, or the start of something new...

History in my Wardrobe: Slippers, or the start of something new...: Today I attended a leather workshop and started learning to make shoes. Table of tools used by our instructors.  I have been reading al...

Friday, 25 July 2014

Snapsack or Havresac? More Research.

Snapsack or Havresac? More Research.
I thought I had it all worked out, I thought I knew the difference between a haversack & a snapsack, but take a close look at the image below, & you will se the word havresac written on what we have come to know as a snapsack or sausage bag.

Another name for a Haversack is scrip, but now I have to wonder if the term “scrip” was originally used for the sausage bag. It also seems that there is more than one type of snapsack, the other being a bag which attaches at the waist on a person’s side but is much larger than a pouch. See the image below.

The term “Havresac Double” also appears on this back pack from Diderot. See below.

So could the bag below also be a Double Havresac?

This pack below also appears to have the same strap attachment at the top, but, the lower strap seems to simply go round the pack & is not attached. If this is the case then this should probably be correctly termed as a "Pack".

This image below is my Haversack, but I am now thinking that this version is a later version. If the terms "snapsack" and "haversack" are interchangeable, then this would make more sense.

The term haversac or habersac or haversack go way back before the 16th century, and refer to a bag that carried horse feed. Later it was to carry food for people. But I had always assumed that this term applied to the bag shown above. But if in fact it refered to the sausage bag, or what we now call a snapsack, then it would lend more credence to what someone recently called "a double snapsack". Could this also refer to information stating that haversacks were sometimes altered to be used as a knapsack?

This could get or has now got slightly confusing, because some historians think that the term knapsack developed from the term snapsack. Clearly the knapsack as we know it, is different from the sausage bag, but then when you look at Diderot's sketch of a double haversack (below) compared with my knapsack (below), you can see the similarities.

So in conclusion, perhaps we should stop using the term snapsack, & start using the term haversack for both single & double strap types, making sure to call the double strap version a double. It may be difficult to determine when the actual change in shape took place, because clearly the rectangle and square types of haversack were in use earlier than the mid 18th century, and were perhaps at that time referred to as a "scrip". Time, place and language obviously play their part in the history of these bags, so perhaps we should not concern ourselves too much with which is which, rather than accept the fact that all were used in the early to mid 18th century.
Ferdinand Kobell, travellers with a knapsack 18th century.
Fran├žois Boucher  1753.
Jacques Callot, Beggar  1648.
1672-1708 BEAR LEADER
Beggar-on-his-crutches-from-behind-Jacques Callot 17thc

Further Reading: The 17th Century Snapsack By Al Saguto. PDF.


Monday, 21 July 2014

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Yeoman's Leather: Summer Projects

Yeoman's Leather: Summer Projects: It's been a busy summer but I have still found time to work on several projects over the last few weeks. The first I have to show you is...

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Jakes Or Tinder?

(Deborah Frazier, from The Porcelain God by Julie Horan 1996); 

The Jakes Or Tinder?
One thing leads to another, directly or indirectly, this is usually the way it is in research. Until now, I believed the popular opinion that scrap cloth went to cleaning the house and items in the house and then was used as tinder. But my research into what was used in the 18th century to cleanse or wipe one’s self after defecating has thrown new light on tow rag used as tinder. Now undoubtedly tow rag was used as tinder, it was charred in the house fire and then extinguished in the tinderbox. But now I see that not all the rag went to tinder use, because some of it had to be used in the Jakes.
Not just strips of cloth were used. Out in the wilderness anything that could be used was used. Sticks, rocks, moss, leaves of trees and plants, and even sea shells. From early times apparently the Romans used either sponge or cloth on the end of a stick. But this of course was in their toilets, not in the woods. Common sense will dictate what to use when away from home, the more comfortable items would of course be first choice, such as the soft large leaves of plants. If these were not available, then the woodsrunner would have looked for the next best thing.
Poorer families reportedly used fresh corn cobs. Some they say were hung on a piece of cordage for repeated use (!). Others more fortunate kept a box of corn cobs in the outhouse.

For my use in historical trekking, I carry some rolls of cloth in a cloth bag, but to be practicle, there is no reason why we can’t also carry modern toilet roll in a cloth bag.
I would like to wish you all happy and safe….ah…trekking.
Take care!

18th Century Travel Commode.

18th century toilet.
 Sir William Cornwallis kept “pamphlets and lying-stories and two-penny poets” in his privy to be read and then used (Spufford, 1981, p. 48-49).

We know from archaeological evidence that in some areas during the Age of Insufficient Light (qv) that mosses were used. (The best known of these is the Coppergate dig in York which was later commercialised into the Yorvik Viking Centre) We can assume that leaves and other plant material were commonly used everywhere.
A poster to one of the threads on this subject had apparently read of scraps of cloth having been found by archaeologists. It is not known whether these were used only once, or whether they were washed and re-used. Nor is it known how common this practice was, or even if the cloths were definitely used for that purpose on a regular basis.
The third possibility is washing. It is known that Romans had used a sponge on a stick for their ablutions in that region, and it does not seem too far fetched to assume that this custom was also practiced in the Middle Ages. It may be that this is what the cloths referred to above were for.
---- CG Luxford (hicgl@bris.ac.uk)
Cacata carta (Catullus 36.1).]

The rich used wool or hemp for ablution while the poor used grass, stone or sand or water depending upon the country and weather conditions or social customs.

. Strips of torn fabric were used as toilet paper. (c.590– c.1500)http://lib.oup.com.au/secondary/history/Big_Ideas_History/8/03_SAL_BAH8_SB_71097_SPREADS_RGB.pdf

MASON86 lists “1 Toilet Cloth;”

"I know a gentleman who was such a good manager of his time that he would not even lose the small portion of it which the calls of nature obliged him to pass in the necessary house; but gradually went through all the Latin poets in those moments. He bought, for example, a common edition of Horace, off which he tore gradually a couple of pages, carried them with him to that necessary place, read them first, and then sent them down as a sacrifice to Cloacina: this was so much time fairly gained and I recommend you to follow his example . . . ."
—Lord Chesterfield to his son in the 18th century
Elm Cottage outhouse in Wychwood Forest.

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Old Foodie: Compressed Bread for Travel.

The Old Foodie: Compressed Bread for Travel.: On two previous occasions whilst travelling I have posted on the topic of ‘travellers bread’ ( here , and here ) and it might be thought th...

Monday, 7 July 2014

A Woodsrunner's Camp. A Video.

Introduction to Endeavour.

Jack of All Trades, Master of None: Stable Jacket or Underwaistcoat? A look at the le...

Jack of All Trades, Master of None: Stable Jacket or Underwaistcoat? A look at the le...: The jacket, worn by the lowest of the low: Sailors and Stablehands, objects of scorn and derision. [1]             The sleeved wais...

A Brief History of Sailcloth During the Age of Sail. A Link.


Sunday, 6 July 2014

More Info On Making Powder Horns.

Many of you will remember the post and video that I made on gunpowder horn safety http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/a-powder-horn-safety-test-in-belgium.html . That post prompted a powder horn maker to contact me and tell me that he and many of his powder horn maker friends were not at all pleased with me. They you see seal the butt plug on their horns they make for sale with modern epoxy glues!!!  They do not want to admit that they are wrong, because (a) they have been using epoxy for years, and (b) I suspect they are concerned that if they admit they are wrong, then they leave themselves open to liability if one of their horns blows up and injures or kills someone.
Now by not using glue, I am not saying that the horn will not split on the sides, but what I am saying is that if the butt plug is not glued, and it blows out if the horn explodes, then this will release a lot of the pressure and you are more likely to survive with minor injuries or no injuries at all. Anyway, I have been doing some research and contacting some professional horners, and below are their comments on this issue.
You decide, which you think is safer, to glue the butt plug in, or just to make sure it seals well without using glue. To me this is just plain common sense, also they did not have epoxy glues back in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Two original powder horns with the butt plug not present in the horn. There appears to be no sign of anything having been used to secure the butt plug except pegs or nails. Many it seems were just a very close fit and nothing was used to seal around the butt plug. Others have reportedly had beeswax, beeswax and tallow, tallow and even hemp was used to cork the seam if it leaked.