In the 17th and 18th century, and quite possibly earlier, people used what was called a saveall in order to use all of the candle. The saveall could be a three pronged device for holding a candle stub, or as seen in the sketch below of the girl selling spunks and savealls, they can be square with a spike in the center. These savealls fitted in the top of a normal candle holder.
Sketches by author.
This later 18th or 19th century image shows a different type of saveall, looking more like a gunsmith's hand vise! Perhaps it is?
My thanks to Lesley Ward for the links on this article that also led to the video. My thanks to Paul Wingfield for this video. Keith.
in the surrey Hillside, near St Martha's church is the old gunpowder works.
Chilworth Gunpowder works was established in 1625 by the East India Company and
finally closed in 1920. It was worked by a number of private companies and
became an important supplier of gunpowder to the Government. A significant
number of buildings from the gunpowder factory can still be found. The
buildings and area are now looked after by Guildford Borough Council and
Image courtesy of the late Dr R.A.F. Gilbert of Falkirk Scotland.
The Australian government is so inadequate in its appraisal of gun legislation that it requires permit to purchase, registration, and licensing for flintlocks, wheel-locks and matchlock muzzle-loading guns, rifles and pistols.
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"From the Heart of the Settlements we are now got into the Cow-pens; the Keepers of these are very extraordinary Kind of Fellows, they drive up their Herds on Horseback, and they had need do so, for their Cattle are near as wild as Deer; a Cow-pen generally consists of a very large Cottage or House in the Woods, with about four-score or one hundred Acres, inclosed with high Rails and divided; a small Inclosure they keep for Corn, for the family, the rest is the Pasture in which they keep their calves; but the Manner is far different from any Thing you ever saw; they may perhaps have a Stock of four or five hundred to a thousand Head of Cattle belonging to a Cow-pen, these run as they please in the Great Woods, where there are no Inclosures to stop them. In the Month of March the Cows begin to drop their Calves, then the Cow-pen Master, with all his Men, rides out to see and drive up the Cows with all their new fallen Calves; they being weak cannot run away so as to escape, therefore are easily drove up, and the Bulls and other Cattle follow them; and they put these Calves into the Pasture, and every Morning and Evening suffer the Cows to come and suckle them, which done they let the Cows out into the great Woods to shift for their Food as well as they can; whilst the Calf is sucking one Tit of the Cow, the Woman of the Cow-Pen is milking one of the other Tits, so that she steals some Milk from the Cow, who thinks she is giving it to the Calf; soon as the Cow begins to go dry, and the Calf grows Strong, they mark them, if they are Males they cut them, and let them go into the Wood. Every Year in September and October they drive up the Market Steers, that are fat and of a proper Age, and kill them; they say they are fat in October, but I am sure they are not so in May, June and July; they reckon that out of 100 Head of Cattle they can kill about 10 or 12 steers, and four or five Cows a Year; so they reckon that a Cow-Pen for every 100 Head of Cattle brings about 40 pounds Sterling per Year. The Keepers live chiefly upon Milk, for out of their Vast Herds, they do condescend to tame Cows enough to keep their Family in Milk, Whey, Curds, Cheese and Butter; they also have Flesh in Abundance such as it is, for they eat the old Cows and lean Calves that are like to die. The Cow-Pen Men are hardy People, are almost continually on Horseback, being obliged to know the Haunts of their Cattle". "You see, Sir, what a wild set of Creatures Our English Men grow into, when they lose Society, and it is surprising to think how many Advantages they throw away, which our industrious Country-Men would be glad of: Out of many hundred Cows they will not give themselves the trouble of milking more than will maintain their Family." "Extracts of Letters from an Officer" (London, 1755). http://www.history1700s.com/index.php/18th-century-history-the-basics/18th-century-e-text-archive/192-18th-century-history-e-text-archive/classic-historical-works/paths-of-inland-commerce/909-chapter-ii-the-red-man-s-trail.html
Way back when I first
got into 18th century living history, there was a belief among many
that if an object was made out of authentic natural materials, then it must be
right. This was called being “primitive”. But later on I learnt that this was
not how it should be done, a lot of research has to be done to make sure that
(a) a particular item did in fact exist, (b) what materials that item was
commonly made from, and (c) the item would have been available to your persona
in your particular chosen period.
We, those of us who are serious living historians, do not wish to invent
something new because it makes life easier; we are only concerned with what
actually was. It is simply not good enough to say “well the material was
available, and someone may have thought to do this”, yes they may have, but did
they? Where is your proof? Where is your documentation?
I have seen items like
tricky cap holders made from horn and wood, I have seen holes drilled in the
base of knife handles to be used as a powder measure, knives that are also fire
steels, and shelters that there is to my knowledge no record of ever existing.
Take the diamond shelter for instance, just like the 20th century “Baker
Tent” the Diamond shelter seems to have become accepted at Rendezvous because
it is made from canvas.
But no where is period
writings have I read that this type of shelter was ever used, the most common
shelter used seems to have been the lean-to, whether made using a blanket or an
oilcloth. So if you want to use a diamond shelter or a Baker Tent, fine, but
don’t kid yourself that you are camping in 18th century style.
"The hunting and target rifles by their various
makers, intended for the use their title denotes, had the octagon barrel turned
cylindrically at the muzzle for about one inch to fit the guide bullet starter
which was used in loading the rifle when used for target work... weighed from
about 9 to 14 pounds, and had a longer accuracy range than the hunting rifles
as well as being more accurate. These were also provided with a 'straight
starter,' much lighter than the other, for use when hunting with these rifles
and had various combinations of sights"
Ned Roberts, THE
MUZZLE-LOADING CAPLOCK RIFLE, 1944
"Some earlier percussion rifles are 'turned for a
starter' i.e., have their octagon barrels turned cylindrical for an inch or a
little less at the muzzle in order to accept a plunger-like arrangement for
driving the bullet the first few inches into the barrel."
A follower of my video channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHEOMSZJETfj3GnoyONuvCQ) asked me what books did I recommend on 18th century woodslore. I told him that I learnt myself from being in the woods since a small child, and learnt nothing of woodslore from books, so I was unable to make any recommendations. Woodslore covers a wide variety of wilderness living skills, for those of us who learnt from actually being in the woods it was a matter of trial and error, or the sudden realisation that what you just did was dangerous and you make a mental note not to do it again. I am not sure that I can remember everything that I now do in the woods just naturally, but I will try and list a few things that could be useful and perhaps save you injury or death. These are not listed in any priority.
Woodslore I have learnt over the years:
want to learn what nature has to teach, you must first understand that you are
just another animal and have a natural place in this environment.
rush through the woods unless you have to, you can miss a lot along the trail
by rushing. Take the time to stop frequently and to look and listen.
remember to look up when in the woods & look out for “widow makers”. Widow
Makers are branches which have broken off and are just hanging there waiting
for the wind to bring them down.
check the safety of the trees around you when choosing a camp site. Especially
look out for widow makers.
step onto a log which may not hold your weight. You never know what may be
step over a log without knowing what is on the other side.
windy days, it is best not to wander in the woods. Even a small stick from high
in a tree can be driven into the ground.
your axe for cutting firewood if there is no real need. Plenty of firewood can
be collected from the forest floor, and wood can be broken over a rock or on
another piece of wood.
attention to the sounds around you, any and all sounds should be watched for. A
falling branch, a falling tree, animal noises, breaking sticks, rolling rocks
etc. Always trust your instincts even though it may seem not to have come to
anything. If it does not feel right, pay attention.
clear a debris free area around your camp fire area and your shelter so that
fire can not spread in the night.
make a fire in very hot weather.
·If you do
not want to attract attention, do not make a fire.
carry enough food supplies in case game is scarce.
carry some foods that do not require cooking.
carry your gun loaded when there may be potential danger.
use a hammer boot/cap on your flintlock as a safety precaution.
shot can be heard for miles in the woods.
very little edible plants available in winter time.
will save ammunition and they will be working for you while you sleep or are
busy with other chores.
eye out for natural shelters on your travels, you never know when you may pass
that way again and be in need of a quick shelter.
look after your equipment and keep it in good order and your blades sharp. Your
tools have a specific functions, don’t use them for any other purpose if you
don’t have to.
are going to make a shelter, do it before you make fire. If it starts to rain
or snow, you can make fire under shelter.
store spare kindling at the back of your shelter in case your fire goes out in
firewood close so you can stoke the fire without leaving your blanket.
at the back of your fire to reflect some warmth into your shelter. Never use
rocks from a creek or river.
dig a fire pit, use the earth to surround the pit to stop rain water flowing in
and extinguishing your fire.
bed on a pile of sticks to keep you up off the cold ground and to let water
flow under you should it run through your shelter.
water for you water bottle at every opportunity. You never know where the next
water source may be.
a source of food, always follow a water course if you can.
animals can teach you much, pay attention to them. Animals do not naturally
rush through the woods without reason, pay attention. Other animals may have
better hearing and scent than you do, and this can save your life. Pay
carry spare tinder in your pack.
tinders along the trail if you are getting low.
to top up your tinderbox at every fire making if it needs it.
have your fire steel securely tied to your person so that it can not be lost.
making fire, remove your powder horn and place it at the back of your shelter
and cover it with your blanket.
try and set up camp in daylight, and check the camp site for ant and spider
your clothing on a trek so you can remove or add to suit the temperature. Don’t
push too hard and perspire, if your clothes do get wet in winter, take them off
in front of the fire and dry them out before bedding down, or you will get cold
in the night.
carry a candle with you in your fire bag, it will help to make fire if the
kindling is damp.
gunpowder wallet is empty, it is a good place to store spare tinder.
looking for dry kindling in wet weather, look under rocks and fallen trees,
look in hollow trees, cut wood from dead trees; under the surface it will be
several sizes of kindling before making fire.
will usually fall down hill, but not always!
will come off a living tree easier in the summer than in the winter.
animal is dangerous if wounded.
be slow to move and aggressive in spring, take care where you tread.
drying your moccasins in front of the fire, do it slowly! Do not overheat the
plug the vent hole before making fire with the lock of your gun.
make sure your gun can’t fall when not in your hands!
should lose the trail when tracking wounded game, mark the last sign with your
handkerchief or neckerchief or patch cloth and move in ever increasing circles
around your marker until you pick up the sign again. Always take care the game
is not waiting in ambush!
to clearly sight your game before you shoot.
of the area beyond your target.
·A ball or
bullet can ricochet off water.
using an axe or hatchet/tomahawk, make sure you are clear should the tool
glance off the wood.
carry a bandage for injury or snake bite.
people have survived 3 weeks without food, but depending on exertion and
weather conditions you will need water within 3 days. Always carry water with
treks, carry a ball mould and a lead ladle. You can remould the spent lead you
retrieve from game.
use dried grass or bark as wadding if there is a danger of starting a fire!
tinder in the fire and extinguish it by placing it in your tinderbox and
closing the lid.
uncharred tinder in your tinderbox.
your fireworks in a greased leather fire bag to keep them dry.
wrap the head of your hatchet or use a sheath when carrying.
closure on the flap of your shot pouch will keep all inside safe if you should
take a fall.
powder horn toward your back when hunting so as to stop sparks landing on the
inside your lock mortise and barrel channel with beeswax.
smokeless fire is made with small dry kindling.
·To keep a
straight line in the woods without a compass in daylight, place your back to a
tree and focus on another two successive trees in front of you. When you reach
the first tree, put your back to that tree and repeat.
trees to mark a trail is a good idea to maintain direction, and to aid you
should you wish to return. But remember, other people can follow your trail.
you warmer at night with only one blanket, carry extra clothing in your blanket
packing for the trail, there must be a compromise between two principles:
maximum self-reliance, and minimum weight.
This is not a conclusive list, there may be some I have missed. But there is always more to learn, we never stop learning and nature never ceases to amaze and surprise me. Take care wherever you roam. Keith.