Here are some images from hide tanning workshops from Diderot’s Encyclopedia, 1769 that I found interesting as a leather worker and occasional hide tanner.
Tools for the tanner, the beam, currier knife, slick, tub, and the heater. From the Encyclopedia of Sciences, Arts and Trades, Diderot and D’Alembert.
Chamoiseur, From the Encyclopedia of Sciences, Arts and Trades, Diderot and D’Alembert.
If you have done any hide tanning you’ll recognize the tools of the trade. Not much changes for the small-time home tanner.
From the Encyclopedia of Sciences, Arts and Trades, Diderot and D’Alembert.
I suspect this is some hot and smelly work and judging by the way they’re dressed it is a hot room. The only large traditional tannery I have visited was in Morocco and it had an odor on a hot summer day that hit you like a brick wall. I’m not sure what they’re doing with the fire at this stage but maybe adding some amount of smoke rather than heat.
“I believe I was fitted by nature to become a woodworker, and had my father been a wagonmaker or millwright, a carpenter or cooper, I would have been taught by my father the trade that he knew. He saw that I would whittle something, for when I was even smaller and lived in the woods I would ask for his knife whenever he came home. He always demurred, saying, “You will cut your fingers,” for a woodworker’s knife is always sharp.
I would tease until he would hand it out with the remark, “Now you will cut yourself.” I invariably did, and it was generally the fore finger of my left hand. That finger is just covered with small scars of every possible shape. I was bound to whittle something. Father knew it, so he calculated to give me a trade where I could whittle away and bring in a little money thereby.”
Wood Craft – December 1905
I took kindly to woodworking. In fact, I was brought up in the woods until I was seven years of age. During these first seven years of my life I saw my father only occasionally, for he was a cabinetmaker by trade and worked in a smart little town about sixty miles distant from our forest farm and came home after intervals of about six weeks to remain with us but a day or two. When I was about seven years old my mother died and the remainder of the family father took with him to the town where he worked.
I went to school, but had a chance to run in and out of the shop as I pleased, and just about as the child learns to speak his mother’s language by sights and sounds long before it is sent to school, so I learned a great deal about…
A chuck wagon in camp in southeast New Mexico around A.D. 1900. Photograph from the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center. It’s a great image of a working camp. Plains-Dwellers and Desert Rats take their shade seriously.
Image: from the Texas Coritani Iron Age Living History Group.
“Nearly all the Gauls (Celts) are of a lofty stature, fair and ruddy complexion: terrible from the sternness of their eyes, very quarrelsome, and of great pride and insolence. A whole troupe of foreigners would not be able to withstand a single Gaul if he called his wife to his assistance who is usually very strong, and have blue eyes; in rage her neck veins swell, she gnashes her teeth, and brandishes her snow-white robust arms. She begins to strike blows mingled with kicks, as if they were so many missiles sent from the string of a catapult. The voices of these women are formidable, even when they are not angry but being friendly.”
— Ammianus Marcellinus, 4th century Roman (of Greek origin) soldier and historian.
An open-minded scholar for his day with famous observations about both pagan and christian fanatics. From the Res Gestae that “no wild beasts are so deadly to humans as most Christians are to each other.” Too true today even.
“Marcellinus writes of Christianity as being a pure and simple religion that demands only what is just and mild, and when he condemns the actions of Christians, he does not do so on the basis of their Christianity as such.”
Imagine how different heritage preservation would be in America if our feeling of kinship and stewardship were more like those in Europe. If, instead of viewing the prehistoric heritage of the New World as something to exploit and profit from in a very short-sighted manner, we, as landowners were to view ourselves as caretakers of these treasures for future generations. Heritage management can be a very different model in other parts of the world.
A colleague, on a recent visit to a wedge tomb in west Cork, was shocked to find it being used as an out-house, containing trash bins, old rubbish and strewn with litter. I find this totally unacceptable, to see such callous disregard for a national monument and deeply concerned about what we really think about our national heritage. Is it that, unless it is given national attention via the state & independent media networks, we actually don’t care! Or are we saying that certain monuments deserve protection and others are perhaps not worthy of such protection.
All recorded archaeological monuments are protected under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2004 and this applies to every single one of them and not just the high profile monuments such as Newgrange, Poulnabrone, the Hill of…
From WANDERING WOOD BUTCHER, Alexandria, La. In looking over the issue for December last, I noticed a plan of a tool chest furnished by “R. S. M.” of Dover, Mass., which is only one of many plans that have appeared in the paper during the past 20 years. These have greatly interested me, but I observe that in nearly all cases one thing, which in my opinion leaves the chest incomplete, has been omitted, and that is an ample shoulder box or tray for carrying the tools to and from the place of work – a box 10 inches deep by 12 inches wide, which can be dropped into a chest as a tray or till when the day’s work is over, the key turned and the carpenter can go away at peace with himself and his fellow men. I dislike to see a carpenter come on a job in…
Appendix to the great western story Roughing It by Mark Twain, Published in 1872 and worth a read in these topsy-turvy times. Maybe not 100% accurate but it is a commentary by a man who actually knew Brigham Young.
Appendix. A. Brief Sketch of Mormon History.
Mormonism is only about forty years old, but its career has been full of stir and adventure from the beginning, and is likely to remain so to the end. Its adherents have been hunted and hounded from one end of the country to the other, and the result is that for years they have hated all “Gentiles” indiscriminately and with all their might. Joseph Smith, the finder of the Book of Mormon and founder of the religion, was driven from State to State with his mysterious copperplates and the miraculous stones he read their inscriptions with. Finally he instituted his “church” in Ohio and Brigham Young joined it. The neighbors began to persecute, and apostasy commenced. Brigham held to the faith and worked hard. He arrested desertion. He did more–he added converts in the midst of the trouble. He rose in favor and importance with the brethren. He was made one of the Twelve Apostles of the Church. He shortly fought his way to a higher post and a more powerful–President of the Twelve. The neighbors rose up and drove the Mormons out of Ohio, and they settled in Missouri. Brigham went with them. The Missourians drove them out and they retreated to Nauvoo, Illinois. They prospered there, and built a temple which made some pretensions ….