Wednesday, August 23, 2017

1896 Mean Temperatures for the United States

I've divided the chart below for better readability. This information comes from The standard American Encyclopedia Vol. 8 ©1897 The reason I've included this tidbit is because of the discussions regarding Global Warming. These records help us to see what the average temp for the year was in 1896.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Single Shot Pistols 1888

Below is a chapter from The Modern American Pistol and Revolver ©1888. I thought this information might be handy to several of you who are adding a touch of suspense to your novels. I love the fact that this book included great graphics. Of course, I'm a visual learner.

SINGLE-SHOT PISTOLS.
A Number of years ago, when gentlemen sought to vindicate their honor by duels with pistols, it was the custom to provide themselves with a pair of duelling-pistols. These were generally of large calibre, often .50 or y2 inch, generally of smooth bore and flint-lock. These and even larger calibres were made for cavalrymen in the service. Then came the percussion pistol, various styles of duelling-pistols, both smooth bore and rifled, and to-day many Southern gentlemen have in their possession a pair of these ancient arms handed down to them by their ancestors. They are used chiefly, at the present time, for decorative purposes, as their days of usefulness are past; the modern revolver has superseded them as an arm of defence, and the single-shot breech-loading pistol, possessing much greater accuracy, far more convenient to load, and more economical to use, has taken the place of the duelling-pistol for target work, stage-shooting, and exhibition work. The single-shot pistol is used almost wholly for short-range target practice, generally in-doors, at a distance of from five to fifty yards, or for small-game shooting. Therefore, it is unusual to find at the present time these pistols larger in bore than .32 calibre ; they are generally of .22 calibre. The .22 calibre is very accurate up to fifty yards. Our experiments, compared with others, lead us to believe the small calibre is fully as accurate as the larger, and beyond a doubt, with good weather conditions, the larger bore possesses no advantages over the small bore up to fifty yards in point of accuracy. The fact that the cost of the .22-calibre ammunition is so much less, is more compact, allowing a large number of cartridges to be carried about, and the knowledge that the tiny bore can be shot so many times without cleaning, makes it the favorite calibre, in single-shot pistols, for target and smallgame shooting within the distance named.

Any shooting at a distance beyond fifty yards with a pistol is almost unheard of in America; but it is believed that before long the experts who become so proficient with the pistol at this range will shoot at much longer distances, and we shall not be surprised to see matches shot up to 200 yards, and perhaps at a longer distance, as the officers in the European armies practice up to 400 paces and secure good results. When the shooting is done at long distances with a pistol, it will probably be with a single-shot arm of calibre from .32 to .40; but until then the calibres will probably be the .22 and .32.

The Stevens single-shot pistols are deservedly very popular; they are manufactured by the J. Stevens Arms and Tool Co., at Chicopee Falls, Mass. They are made in various styles, as follows:

Conlin model, 10-inch barrel, .22-cal., weight, 2^ pounds. Lord model, 10-inch barrel, .22 cal., weight, 3 pounds. Diamond model, 10-inch barrel, .22-cal., weight, 11 ounces. Also, the new 6-inch barrel, .22-cal., Target pistol.
The barrels are carefully bored and rifled and fitted into a steel frame in the Lord model, and composition of gun-metal in the Conlin and Diamond models. A spring is so arranged under the barrel that when a projecting stud on the side is pressed it releases a catch on the opposite side and the spring forces the rear part of the barrel up and the forward part down, this action acting on the shell-ejector, forcing out the shell of the exploded cartridge; the pistol is then reloaded and barrel closed. The frame permits of barrels of different calibres being fitted into one action, in the Lord or Conlin model. There are several varieties of sights for these pistols to suit the different demands. The triggers are the side-covered trigger in the smaller models, and the guard-covered trigger in the Lord model.

The Lord and Conlin models are very popular among professional and expert pistol-shots. They have been tested and found very reliable, and possess a degree of accuracy unsurpassed by any arm of its kind in the world, if properly used.

The Lord model is preferred by persons of THE STEVENS SINGLE-SHOT PISTOL (New Model.) herculean frame or possessing great strength in their arms, it weighing 3 pounds. The Conlin model is generally selected by those possessing less physical strength; both pistols have handles of sufficient length to permit of their being grasped properly.

The trigger on the Lord model is preferred by a majority of pistol-shots, and, to suit those desiring this style of a trigger in the Conlin model, the manufacturers have commenced making them in that manner, and can now supply either style of triggers.

The weight of the Lord model is in its favor, for those who can hold it secure an advantage in less liability to pull the pistol to one side or upwards when pressing the trigger, — an error one who uses a light pistol is quite liable to make. Such experts as Chevalier Ira Paine and Frank Lord, and even some of the gentler sex, who have astonished the shooting world by their seemingly impossible feats of marksmanship with the pistol, unhesitatingly select this heavy pistol, and declare it more reliable, for the reasons mentioned, than the lighter ones, and as some of the professional shooters perform hazardous feats when inaccuracies with the arm would peril the lives of those who assist them in their performances, it is likely that they have given the matter the fullest investigation. But the person desiring to select a Stevens pistol for fine work should examine both models.
and be governed by his own judgment is the matter.
The other pistols made by this company are intended for pocket-pistols; they are accurate and reliable, but being more compact, with shorter barrels and lighter, they are more difficult to shoot accurately than those fashioned after the shape of
the duelling-pistol. One quickly becomes accustomed to their use, and, if fond of pistol-shooting, they are a source of great pleasure when carried on a fishing trip or on a tramp when small-game can be shot.
A gentleman who makes an annual trip into the woods informed the writer that he never went without his Stevens pistol, and always killed considerable small-game for the table with it.
The Remington single-action pistol is a much less elegant piece of workmanship than the Stevens pistol, but there are excellent points about the arm which will be apparent to the inspector as he examines it. It possesses great strength and wearing qualities, is accurate, and, although not particularly symmetrical, it is so well-balanced and has such an excellent handle, that, when grasped, there is a feeling of firmness and steadiness which is verified when the shooter attempts to sight it on a small object. The pistol is made in .22 and .32 calibres; it has a barrel 8 inches long. The action is similar to the old-model Remington rifle. The hammer is brought to a full-cock, a breech block rolled back, which permits of the barrel, which is screwed into a solid frame, being inspected from the rear, and easy to be cleaned. All attempts to procure discharges from this arm with action improperly closed have been unsuccessful, and we can see no reason why it is not as safe as it is accurate. Its unusual strength would make it a desirable arm for long-range pistol-practice, as it would doubtless stand a much heavier charge than would ever be required for shooting at any range.

The Wesson single-shot pistol is manufactured by Frank Wesson, at Worcester, Mass. It is operated as follows: the hammer is slightly raised and held by a pin pressed in from the side; a projecting stud is pressed at the bottom of the receiver, and the barrel turned over to one side,— the shell of the exploded cartridge thrown out by the extractor. The arm is well-balanced, fitted with good sights of different styles, and accurate.

The Colt's Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Co. manufactures three styles of single-shot Deringers, one of which is illustrated. To operate this arm set the hammer at half-cock, grasp the stock in the right hand and drawing back the steel button with the forefinger, rotate the barrel toward you with the left hand. Holding the barrel thus turned aside, introduce the cartridge and then rotate it to its original position. After firing, the empty shell may be ejected by rotating the barrel as directed for loading.
The weight of the No. 2 is 10 oz., calibre .41. It is a powerful pistol, intended for a weapon of defence at short range.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Winter Gardening

Okay I know it is August and it's still in the 90's here in Florida but...winter is coming. I stumped upon this article from Harper's Bazar, Nov. 1867 and thought I'd share a little bit with all of you.

WINTER GARDENING
"And who can sing the songs of spring
In dull and drear December?"

We purpose to give a few easy directions to those who desire to possess at light cost and little trouble a blooming winter garden in their homes, that can be attended to in the worst weather without soiling the hands or wetting the feet.

The hyacinth must rank first in our list as being almost the easiest flower to cultivate.

Hyacinths may be grown in water, in pots, in moss, and in prepared cocoa-fibre and charcoal. The last is the best for hyacinths indoors, in the numerous choices which are used for this purpose. In order to cultivate the hyacinth in the sitting-room in prepared cocoa-fibre and charcoal, place at the bottom or the jardinet, etc., a handful or so of rough charcoal, and fill up with the preparation; plant the hyacinths thickly, associating with them snow-drops, scilla sibirica, early flowering crocus, and, if the space will admit, a few pompon hyacinths; cover the bulbs with the preparation, and neatly cover the surface with nice green carpet moss; the freshness of the moss will be prolonged by occasionally damping it with a wet sponge. Sprinkle the plants overhead with tepid water two or three times a week.

This preparation is free from impurities and possesses a gentle stimulus; the bulbs root freely into it and produce fine spikes of bloom. Another important recommendation the prepared cocoa=fibre and charcoal possesses is its retention of moisture for a long time. Unless in a very hot room two or three good waterings will be sufficient from the time of planting till the bulbs are in bloom, so that the amateur is relieved from the daily anxiety lest his favorite group of forthcoming flowers should suffer from want of water.

. . .

The article continues to point out how to grow hyacinth in water, moss and pots. If you would like to finish the article it can be found here.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Chair & Chaise Carriages

Do you know the difference between a Chair and a Chaise? I'm not talking furniture, I'm talking about carriages & wagons. Well, the truth is I'm still working on the differences between the two but I have come up with a few distinctions, although the terms were often used interchangeably. Chaise is the French word for chair and some speculate that the first chair wagons were simple a chair placed on a platform with an axle and a couple of wagon wheels.

Chairs tend to be lower to the ground than a chaise. A chaise tends to have a top. A Chair is ofte for only one person. A Chaise is often made for two.

There are a variety of Chairs and Chaises throughout the 19th century. The Windsor Chair is still in my researching mode. I've run across the term but excluding all the furniture pieces has made the search for a carriage known as a Windsor Chair very difficult. I found a post from the Sun Inn in Bethlehem, PA speaking of the arrival of "August 12—A gentleman in a Windsor chair."

Of course we can add to this mix Gigs, Shays and Sulkies but that will be for another day's discussion.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

1857 Fabric Advertisement

Below is an ad from the New York Daily Tribune Nov. 30, 1857. What is curious for me is the India camel hair shawls. They sound scratchy to me but apparently they were the rage in 1857 in NYC, along with Chantilly Lace Flounces. On the other hand with the reduction of cost perhaps they were no longer the rage.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Different Buggy Topper

Below is a advertisement I found in the Hub magazine ©1895. I found it very different from other hoods for buggies. It basically looks like an umbrella. This is not the normal hood for a buggy, in all my research of Carriages & Wagons for the 19th century, I believe this is the first time I've run across such a design. I don't know how much they sold for, nor do I know how popular they became, if at all. But they would make quite the conversation piece if one strolled into town, I would have a lot of fun with this in a novel setting.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

1842 Bankruptcy

The Panic of 1837 caused financial hardships for many. By 1842 the country was beginning to rebound. For some unknown reason (to me at this time) Vermont however had many filings for bankruptcy. However, there are a few things I learned. In 1841 Congress enacted a 2nd Bankruptcy Law (formerly an 1803 bankruptcy repealed) in the wake of the panics of 1837 & 1839. In 1843 the second Bankruptcy law was repealed amid many complaints of corruption and expenses.

Ask yourself how did your characters fair during the Panics and the Bankruptcy Laws. If not your characters perhaps their parents or grandparents. Was there bitterness in the hearts of others who were unable to file for bankruptcy and lost their farms and homes? Was your character bitter? Was your character honorable? Or was your character less than honorable and did that have a cause and effect on someone else that profoundly changed your character's life.

These are some of the questions I look at when addressing issues surrounding the dates in which my characters were living. Perhaps these tidbits you will find helpful in learning more about your characters.

1842 Fall Clothing Line

Below is an Advertisement with the list of items for the Fall season. This comes from the Nov. 4, 1842 Burlington Free Press. Note the various items listed. It might help you as a writer put in an article of clothing that is perhaps a bit different than your normal description given by authors.

Monday, August 14, 2017

1842 Fall Clothing Line

Below is an Advertisement with the list of items for the Fall season. This comes from the Nov. 4, 1842 Burlington Free Press. Note the various items listed. It might help you as a writer put in an article of clothing that is perhaps a bit different than your normal description given by authors.

Friday, August 11, 2017

1842 Hat Prices

Below is a copy of an ad from the New York Daily Tribune May 3, 1842. The advertisement is listing the price of various hats. I'll type them out because they are difficult to read:
Silk Hats @ $2.25, $2.50 & $3.00 (says it is a reduction of .50 cents from the former prices)
Fur Hat $4.00 compares other hat prices in the city at $4.50 & $5.00

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mourning Clothing

This is a repost from an original post in Aug. 2011

Having loss my son a few weeks back this topic has come up a fair amount in my mind. So, I thought I'd share some mourning customs and clothing as presented as social etiquette during the 19th century. Today's tidbit comes from Collier's cyclopedia of commercial and social information ©1882

The mourning for parents ranks next to that of widows; for children by then parents, and for parents by their children, these being ol course identical in degree. It lasts in either case twelve months—six months in crape trimmings, three in plain black, and three in half-mourning. It is, however better taste to continue the plain black to the end of the year and wear half-mourning for three months longer. Materials for first six months, either Paramatta, Barathea, or any of the black corded stuffs such as Janus cord, about thirty-eight inches wide; Henrietta cord about same price and width. Such dresses would be trimmed with two deep tucks of crape, either Albert or rainproof, would be made plainly the body trimmed with .rape, and sleeves with deep crape cuffs Col lars and cuffs, to be worn during the first mourning would be made of muslin or lawn, with three or foui tiny lucks m distinction to widows' with the wide, deep hem. Pocket hand kerchiefs would be bordered with black. Black hose, silk or Balbriggan, would be worn, and black kid gloves. For out. door wear either a dolman mantle would be wom or a paletdt, either of silk or Paramatta, but in either case trimmed with crape. Crape bonnets or hats , if lor young children, all crape for bonnets, hats, silk and crape; feathers (black; could be wom, and a jet ciasp or arrow in the bonnet, but no othei kind of jewelry is admissible but jet—that is, as long as crape is worn. Black furs, such as astrachan, may be worn, or very dark sealskin or black sealskin cloth, now so fashionable, but no light furs of any sort. Silk dresses can be worn, crape trimmed aftei the first three months if preferred, and if expense be no obiect the lawn-tucked collars and cuffs would be worn with them. At the end of the six months crape can be put aside, and plain black, such as cashmere, worn, trimmed with silk if liked, but not satin, for that is not a mourning material, and is therefore never worn by those who strictly attend to mourning etiquette. With plain black, black gloves and hose would of course be worn, and jet, no gold or silver jewelry for at least nine months after the com mencement of mourning , then, if the time expires in the twelve months, gray gloves might be worn, and gray ribbons, lace or plain linen collar and cuffs take the place of ihe lawn or muslin, and gray feathers might lighten the hat or bonnet or reversible black and gray strings.

Many persons think it is in better taste not to commence half-mourning until after the expiration of a year, extent in the case of young children, who are rarely kept in mourning beyond the twelve months.

A wife would wear just the same mourning for her husband'9 relations as for her own ; thus, if her husband's mother died, the would wear mourning as deep as if for her own mother.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Silly Goose and Other Expressions

The term "you silly goose" has been around for a long time. Recently one of my historical writer buds was asked to verify the use of this expression to a copy editor. The copy editor thought it was too modern of an expression. To the copy editor's credit, it would have been my first thought too because it is an expression we still use. However, it turns out that the use of this expression was used before 1826 and all the way through the 19th century. Below is a list I sent my friend with the proof of the expression based on the copyrights of the works.
1826 The london literary gazette and journal of belles letters, arts... pg.70 (And another publication same year, same story)
1846 A Dictionary of the English & German, and the German and English... Vol. 2 pg 407
1866 Saturday Reader Vol 2 pg 53
1869 Once a Week pg 131

I'm sharing this with all of you to point out that when researching and writing historicals we might use an expression that is historically correct but might not be thought of as historical. To check on expression type the expression in quotes and search libraries like google books. Narrow the search by selecting free books and 19th century (If that is the time period you are writing in.) and see if the expression you wish to use was used then.

Another point to remember: Editor's still might ask you to change the expression because they feel it might jar the reader out of the story even though you know you are historically accurate. In which case, you change the expression. I try to write expressions that are unique to the character, their surroundings and their personality. Sometimes I've come up with more powerful expressions for my characters. Other times, a common expression is the way to go because the reader zooms right past and doesn't require additional musing over your word choice. In the end work it out with your editor and be true to your story and characters.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

1869 Advertising

Below is an Lord & Taylor ad from the New York Tribue, Apr. 21, 1869. What I find useful from this is the pricing of the various clothing items in this newspaper ad. It starts with the Black silk dress for $2.50 worth $3.50. A point to remember is that 1869 is one of the recovery years from the Civil War.

Here's the Ad:

Monday, August 7, 2017

1855 Portable Oven

Yup that's what the advertisement in the Oct. 12, 1855 Burlington Free Press says. It was made by Blodgett & Sweets and advertised to be useful for hotels, steamers and private families. It was made with galvanized steel and was to cook with less fuel.

Below is the ad with a picture of the item:

Friday, August 4, 2017

House Movers

Here's a different occupation that folks don't often think about, a house mover. They literally moved a house from it's foundation, moved it to another location and set it on it's new foundation.

Below is an advertisement from the Omaha Daily Bee, Feb. 12, 1886 advertising a house moving company.


Below are some illustrations of various types of buildings being moved from the Salt Lake Herald June 13, 1897