Sunday 31 August 2014

Notes & Information on 18th Century Blankets.

Winter Trade By Robert Griffing.


Father Pierre Briard relates in the work Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents that in 1611 the Arcadian Indians "often wear our capotes, and in the winter our bed blankets which they improve with trimming and wear double". Also around this time Mother Marie de L'Incarnation recorded that she saw Indians wearing coats made from trade blankets {it should be noted that not all capotes were made in North America, nor were they all made from trade blankets}. While having established that blankets and blanket capotes were indeed used during the early years of the Age of Exploration; we should take the time to examine the quality of the material used and the colors which were prevalent.
During the early years we find that Indians used white, red and blue blankets. "In 1663, ten Normandy "white" blankets are listed among the goods belonging to the trader Jacques Testad dit Loforet. The term "Normandy" refers to the location of textile manufacture. In 1693, during a council held in Montreal involving the French authorities and twelve foreign Indians tribes "no less than 83 white blankets were given as presents." Another important aspect of these blankets were that some bore embellishments such as red or blue stripes at their borders, embroidery, and lace. In fact we see that when the trader Jean Mailhot died in 1687 an inventory of his "la morte" possessions included "seven blankets made of capote cloth trimmed with nonpareille lace". (a very narrow strip of ribbon which was made of false gold, silver or silk) Drawings by Jesuit Missionaries recorded that this trimming in many instances was done in a zig zag pattern and consisted of two pieces of lace.
The actual sizes of trade blankets also differed. During the 1690's the French introduced the "point system". The term "point" then referred to a unit of measurement. In fact the French verb " ‘empointer’ was used to describe that action of making stitches with a thread on a piece of cloth". The historical norms of these blankets ranged from 1 to 5 points, 5 being the largest and 1 being the smallest known as "cradle blankets". {It must be noted that blankets bearing up to 12 points can be found during this same time period HOWEVER these blankets were intended to be used as bedding for the Canadians and not trade items.}
"An analysis of 649 blankets sold to Indians at Fort Niagara between 1719 and 1722 gives an idea of the most popular sizes used in the fur trade; of this number, 64% were 2 point, 22% were cradle blankets, 10% were of 3 points and 2% were 4 points". One surviving example is reported to be a "two point blanket measuring 59x48 inches and weighs 3 lbs. 7oz."
During the early and middle years of the 17th Century attempts to regulate the growing trade of blankets were enforced. Pierre Boucher, then governor of Troi-Rivieres decreed that one blanket was worth at least five or six beaver pelts. Also the governor of New France Alexandre de Prouville de Tracy enacted a regulation that a white "Normandy" blanket could be traded for no less than six beaver pelts and what was known as an "Iroquois blanket" {coverte a L'iroquoise, a rateen blanket made from a lesser grade of material} could be had that the price of three beaver pelts.
The following is as example of some trade items and their worth in both Montreal and Albany in the year 1689:
Item Albany Montreal
8 lbs of gun powder 1 beaver 4 beavers
1 gun 2 beavers 5 beavers
40 lbs of lead 1 beaver 3 beavers
1 blanket of red cloth 1 beaver 2 beavers
1 white blanket 1 beaver 2 beavers
4 shirts 1 beaver 2 beavers
6 pairs of stockings 1 beaver 2 beavers
As trade relations grew competitiveness between the French and English colonies began to intensify. In an attempt to sway the fur trade away from French traders it was made known that in Boston, Massachusetts Colony, Indians could get a white or red blanket for one beaver pelt while in Montreal it would cost much more. Almost 30 years after the enactment of these price regulations Native Americans could still go to New England and get a blanket for one beaver while up in Montreal the price was then a heavy payment of six pelts. In order to subvert this shift in the colonial trade wars "voyageurs loaded with French goods (were sent) directly to the Indian Villages, and thanks to the Kings stores, each tribe yearly received a generous supply of presents". Although this did somewhat stem the tide the great difference in price did encourage a healthy black market trade with the English.
The growing concern with quality sparked the French government to attempt to procure a product as good as their English competitors. At the turn or the century (1701) the government of New France sent a letter to Versailles stating that among the traders there was not a trace of the "certain kind of red or blue cloth whose breadth is 1 ell 1/4" (5 feet.) and is called escarlatine" {Common trade blankets at the time were 1 ell and half or 6 feet long}. The Indians also tended to prize blue colored blankets possessing white stripes, and red coloured blankets with a darker selvage edge. Examples of English blankets were found and sent back to France for examination. These "escarlatine" blankets were divided into the following styles:
Red or blue with black selvedges, red with a white stripe the length of a finger close to the selvedge, red or blue with two white stripes the length of a finger; one close to the selvedge but separated by the length of two fingers.
By 1715, 200 examples of French made cloth were sent to New France with less than desirable results. The Native Americans liked the cloth and while it was much higher in quality it proved far too expensive for French general trading purposes. Other examples later sent proved not to be as strong or woven as tightly as the English products. The intendant of New France, Michel Begon commented that the "Indians are as much refined to judge cloth as the most skillful merchant, they manage to burn hair of a sample with the purpose of examining the quality of its woven structure".
By the 1720's governmental permission was granted to buy English made blankets for trade with the Native tribes. This move was purely political in nature and gave the French manufacturers time to improve on their products. Unfortunately while some French regional manufacturers did produce upwards of 100,000 blankets yearly destined for the Indian trade a lack of financial support hampered efforts.
By the later 1740’s records show a diverse collection of trade blankets. While the naturalist Petr Kalm described Indians wearing white and red blankets, "the white blankets having one or many blue or red stripes".Also found were green blankets bearing 7 to 8 stripes {manufactured in Montpellier}, blue and red blankets with white stripes {manufactured in Limbourg}, along with blankets with red and yellow stripes...made of dogs hair {manufactured in Bordeaux}.

18th Century Neck Ware Knots.

Two basic knots. (1) The simple knot, and (2) the flay knot or reef knot.

Here I have used just a simple knot on my neckerchief just like tying a cravat. The ends are then spread out and arranged so that they fill in the gap in the shirt and cover the upper chest.

Saturday 30 August 2014

Cork stopper making & Sizing.

Cork bottle stoppers in the 18th century were all made by hand.
1712 Bottle Corks.

1880 Bottle Corks.

Quercus suber (Cork Oak) bark, Portugal.

Cork Cutters.
Cork Cutter.
Cork Cutter.
A Cooper's Cork Bung Punch.

Fig. one. & 2 Workers busy making jams.
3 Merchant that matches the caps.
4 The way to round off the cap.
5 Manner of cutting the tip of the cap.
Established 6. A, A, A, A, the edges of the bench on which the support for the plug cut by the ends, as seen Fig. 5.
7 Bannette to receive indiscriminately all kinds of plugs coming out of the hand of the worker.
8 Bannette to match.
9 Pierre sharpen knives.
10 Knives.

Cork Presses for the sizing of corks.

However, we need to fast-forward to around 1660, when a French Benedictine monk by the name of Dom PĂ©rignon first used cork for the purpose for which its name has become indelibly linked – as a stopper for wine bottles. According to legend, this monk was responsible for making sparkling wine at the Abbey of Sainte-Vannes in the Champagne region of northern France, and was having trouble keeping in the wooden plugs soaked in olive oil that were the stopper of choice at the time. He noticed that compressed cork returns to its original shape when pressure is released, making it ideal for wine bottles.

The practice boomed among the winemakers of Europe, and there’s evidence of cork stoppers being widely used in Portugal during the mid-18th century, when cylindrical bottles with
a uniform neck were first used for port wine in Oporto. Strict laws governing cork production have been in place in Portugal for more than 200 years. Cultivation is banned uphill from water courses, for instance. But more importantly, bark must only be harvested from mature, healthy trees and a gap of at least nine years must separate harvests from an individual tree.  http://www.geographical.co.uk/Magazine/Staying_power_-_Apr_13.html
 The first references to cork date back to 3000 BC in China, where it was used in fishing tackle. The Egyptians, Babylonians, Phoenicians and Persians were also familiar with the properties of cork, but it was not until man started to produce wine that it appeared as the most suitable material for closing the containers used to preserve it.
“You should put it into round bottles with narrow mouths, and then stopping them close with corks, set them in a cold cellar up to the waist in sand, and be sure that the corks be fast tied in with strong pack thread, for fear of rising out and taking vent, which is the utter spoil of the ale.”
The main products were stoppers for jars and bottles. There seems to have been a high level of diversity in the size and quality available. The household accounts of Petworth House (a stately home in Sussex) over a period of fifty years from 1755 show payment for quart, pint, best long, best long pint, best white, short long and fruit corks. These were all acquired from a firm of London corkcutters. They were supplied in canvas bags and paid for by the gross (or the dozen in the case of fruit corks.) A writer in the Gentleman’s Magazine for 1736 complained that on trying to buy a gross of best corks, he was offered some that were “indifferent such as I would not have bottled up water gruel with.” On being challenged, the corkcutter returned “you didst not ask for good corks before” and brought out some fit for use. “Beyond these he had his very good corks, his fine corks, his superfine… seven degrees in all.”

Thursday 28 August 2014

Portugal. Cork harvesting, processing and use 60 years ago.

This would have been the way it was done in the 18th century. Note the axes used, these are  still still being made and used today.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

18th Century Bottles and Cork Stoppers.

From the research I have done to date, bottle corks appear to have been straight sided or possibly had a slight taper. Bottle corks were manufactured from the bark of the Cork Oak tree.

Original 1712 bottle corks.

By Chardin.

By Chardin.

Unknown French artist 18th century.

Cork Making By Diderot.

Detail of cork making By Diderot.

Corkscrew Ring with Cover c. 1700 - 1730.

English or American Corkscrew & Pick c. 1725 - 1800(Winterthur)

Folding Flat Bow corkscrew.

English Silver & Iron Corkscrew and Caseby John Harvey of London c. 1750.

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Weaving on an Inkle Loom.

PDF on inkle loom weaving: https://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/monographs/amm_inkl.pdf

" Young as I was, I was possessed of an art which was of great use. It was that of weaving shot-pouch straps, belts and garters. I could make my loom and weave a belt in less than one day. Having a piece of board about four feet long, an inch auger, spike gimlet, and a drawing knife, I needed no other tools or materials for making my loom. It frequently happened that my weaving proved serviceable to the family, as I often sold a belt for a day's work, or making a hundred rails. So that although a boy, I could exchange my labour for that of a full grown person for an equal length of time".

Doddridge. 18th century.

Saturday 23 August 2014

Load Carrying Methods For Women.

Any pack or bag method used by men can also be used by women, but here are some images specifically of women carrying baggage.
Cordage and knots. 16th century.

Daniel Chodowieki 1764
French, 18th century.
Woman with large market wallet.
Author's medium sized market wallet made from linen cloth.
Oyster Seller using a pack basket, 18th century.
16th century camp follower.
Jacobites by Paul Sandby 1760.
A wood carrier using a pack frame.
Woman with pack basket. Attr. Basilius Grundmann 1726-1798.

Sunday 17 August 2014

Mazamet Woolen Cloth.

A place in France.
Mazamet in France is where it is said that fellmongering originated.
Sheepskin Fellmongering: The use of wool fleece from dead sheep where the fleece literally falls off the sheepskin or is pulled off.the skin after the skin has been removed from the dead sheep . Woolen cloth known as Mazamet was produced in Mazamet, France.

22 ells of mazamet and 4 ounces of Rennes thread in 4 capotes

The word "Fellmongery" applies to an industrial plant whose purpose is to remove the wool from sheepskins. The method is as follows:
§  1. Sheepskins are scraped free of fat on the flesh side.
§  2. Skins are soaked in water for a certain time. This time depends on weather and temperature.
§  3. Skins are hung on wooden racks between 12 and 24 hours.
§  4. After the skin follicles have started to open, the skins are removed from the racks and place on wooden racks. Today, the skins are classed or sorted by registered woolclassers, but originally the only sorting would have been the separation of white and coloured skins.
§  5. A wooden comb, shaped to the horse, is forced along the sheepskin, removing the wool in one or two passes.
§  6. The resultant wool, in it's wet state, is laid out to dry in netting.
§  7. Sheepskins, now clean of wool, are also dried on racks. The follicles will close up again and the skins are used for uppers of shoes in the boot trade.
§  8. The wool is referred to as "lave a dos" or part scoured (part washed).
§  9. Wool scourers now scour (or wash) the wool fully in preparation for spinning into yarn. This would have been done by hand, but now is carded, combed and spun mechanically.
The above system of fellmongery was in vogue in the late 18th century and possibly earlier. This process continued to be the wool removal method until the 1980's when chemical processes were used to separate the wool from the skins. (source: David Wischer 2006) 

Sheepskin centre in southern France. Famous for its Mazamet Slats, which were sheepskins with the wool removed by sweating, which maximizes the value of the wool, but does not do a lot of good for the skins. http://www.mikeredwood.com/places
A Worker in a Fellmonger's Yard by W H Pyne, 1805

Indian Trade Goods 1759.

Fifteen hundred ells of limbourg, half blue and half red
Six hundred ells of sempitemc
Fifty plumes of different colors
Fifty pairs of copper shoe-buckles
Twenty three-point blankets
Six hundred two-and-a-half-point blankets
Two hundred two-and-a-half-point Bazas blankets
Eight hundred trade shirts for men, as long in front as in the back
Three hundred fifty thirty-caliber trade guns·
Six thousand five hundred pounds of powder
Two hundred fifty ells of St. Jean cloth
Ten thousand gun flints
[fol. 328v] One thousand woodcutters’ knives
Twelve hundred clasp or Flatin knives with antler handles and dogs’ heads
Five hundred trade belts
Two thousand strike-a-lights
Five hundred seventy-six wooden combs
Four thousand pounds of flat iron for hatchets. pickaxes, and tomahawks
Four hundred pairs of ordinary scissors
Eighty pounds of iron wire of different thicknesses
Eighty pounds of brass wire which has not been annealed and in small rolls
Twenty-five dozen pewter,buttons
One hundred hats decorated with three-inch imitation silver braid
One hundred ordinary plain hats
Two thousand worms
Fifty lengths of scarlet woolen ribbon
Three thousand ells of gold and imitation silver lribbon}, half of it in braid
Fifty dozen buttons, gold and imitation silver, for suits. likewise half and half
Eighty pounds of vermilion, in pure powder. in small bags of one pound
Eighty pounds of red lead
Three hundred number 6 mirrors framed in leather
[fol. 329] One hundred fifty brass cauldrons, large and medium, no small, larger at the top than at the bottom
Fifty ells of scarlet cloth’
One hundred ells of well-chosen scarlet woolen cloth; that which has been sent previously being only a double linen serge
Fifty ells of red camelot
Five complete sets of fine gold buttons
Five of the same in silver
Two hundred ells of St. Jean cloth for lining suits and coats
Extraordinary Presents
Eight hundred ells of blue and red limbourg, half and half
Forty plumes of different colors
Two hundred two-and-a-half-point blankets
Six men’s trade shirts
One hundred fifty trade guns
Four thousand five hundred pounds of powder
Ten gross of woodcutters’ knives
Ten gross of wooden combs
Ten thousand gun flints
Twenty-four hats decorated with imitation silver braid
Twenty-four of the same, plain ‘
[fol. 329v] Three thousand worms
Fifty lengths of scarlet woolen ribbon
Three thousand strike-a-lights
Fifty trade belts
Four hundred number 6 mirrors framed in leather
Six hundred cocks for trade guns 10 •
Six hundred hammers for the same
Six hundred tumblers
Six hundred sear-springs, forged in one piece
Six hundred sears
Eight hundred large screws
Eight hundred cock screws
Twenty-four packets of assorted German files
Thirty-six half-round bastard files
Twenty-four of the same, bastard, flat
Twenty-four of the same, assorted fine
Twenty-four of the same, rat-tailed
Twenty-four of the same, rasps
Forty hundredweight of flat iron for hatchets, pickaxes, and tomahawks
For the Trade with the Choctaw Indians
Five thousand ells of limbourg, blue and red, half and half
[fol. 330] Fifteen hundred blankets of two and a half points
Six hundred three-point blankets
Twelve hundred two-and-a-half-point Bazas blankets
Two thousand six hundred men’s trade shirts, as long in the front as in the back
Four hundred women’s shirts
Five hundred cravats
Two hundred trade guns, thirty caliber
Six thousand pounds of powder
Three hundred lengths of scarlet woolen ribbon
One hundred fifty pounds of pure vermilion
Three hundred fifty pounds of red lead
Three hundred pounds of assorted round beads, particularly sky blue
Thirty gross of woodcutters’ knives
Ten thousand gun flints
Ten gross of trade scissors
Twenty gross of worms
Twenty gross of awls
Twenty gross of strike-a-lights
Six hundred number 6 mirrors {?mounted] in leather
Twenty-five gross of combs
Four hundred ells of blue and red Mazamet 12
{fol. 33ov] Eight hundred ells of sempiterne, blue, red, and plum
Six thousand sewing needles
Eight. thousand pounds of flat iron for hatchets, pickaxes, and tomahawks
Fifty pounds of assorted Rennes thread
One hundred fifty assorted brass cauldrons, large and medium, no small
For the Trade with the Alabama, Attacapa, Kickapoo, Mascouten, and Shawnee Indians
Two thousand ells of red and blue limbourg
Fifteen hundred two-and-a~half-point blankets
Four hundred three-point blankets
Six hundred two-and-a-half-point Bazas blankets
Two thousand five hundred men’s trade shirts
Five hundred women’s shirts
Four hundred trade guns, thirty caliber
Ten thousand pounds of powder
Four hundred lengths of scarlet woolen ribbon
One hundred fifty pounds of vermilion in small bags of one pound
One hundred fifty pounds of red lead
Thirty gross of woodcutters’ knives
[fo1. 33 x 1 Thirty gross of awls
Forty gross of worms
Six gross of wooden combs
Six thousand pounds of flat iron for hatchets, pickaxes, and tomahawks
Two hundred ells of blue and red Mazamet
Ten thousand gun flints
Four thousand sewing needles
Fifty pounds of assorted Rennes thread
Six gross of trade scissors
Fifteen hundred gross of clasp or Flatin knives with antler handles and dogs' heads
Four hundred trade belts
Three hundred cravats
Three hundred sixty number 6 mirrors {?mounted) in leather
Fifty brass cauldrons, large and medium, no s,mall
For the Projected Trade with the Cherokee Indians

Ten thousand ells of limbourg, half red and half blue
Three thousand two-and-a-half-point blankets
Twelve hundred three-point blankets
Ten thousand four hundred Bazas blankets
[fo1. 33 1 v] Five thousand two hundred men’s trade shirts, as long in back as in front
Eight hundred women’s shirts
A thousand cravats
Four hundred trade guns, thirty caliber
Twelve thousand pounds of powder for war
Six hundred lengths of scarlet woolen ribbon
Three hundred pounds of pure vermilion
Three hundred pounds of red lead
Six hundred pounds of assorted round beads
Sixty gross of woodcutters’ knives
Twenty thousand gun flints
Twenty gross of trade guns
Forty gross of worms
Forty gross of awls
Forty gross of strike-a-lights
Two hundred number 6 mirrors {?mounted} in leather
Fifty gross of combs
Eight hundred ells ofbiue and red Mazamet
Eight thousand pounds of fiat iron for hatchets. pickaxes, and tomahawks
Eight thousand pounds ditto for the same
Twelve thousand sewing needles
[fol. 332] One hundred pounds of assorted Rennes thread
Three hundred brass cauldrons, large and medium, no small
Statement of arms, munition, food supplies and merchandise to be sent from France to Louisiana for the needs of the colony on the funds for the year 1759.”
Source: Rowland, Dunbar, A G. Sanders, and Patricia K. Galloway. Mississippi Provincial Archives: French Dominion. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984. Print. DOCUMENT 57, pp.228-232