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28

Snow removal takes a lot of effort. It was easier to switch out wheeled carriages for sleighs. Sleighs work better with more snow, so that according to this article: in the 18th and 19th centuries, "snow was never a threat" to road travel, "but rather it was an asset." The more densely packed snow became, the better. Some municipalities even had ...


27

Here is one noting: The European medieval diet was largely determined by social class. For the majority of the of the people, peasants, a large portion of their daily diet was made up of grains such as wheat, rye, oats or barley(carbohydrates). The grains were boiled whole in a soup or stew, ground into flour and made into bread, or malted and brewed ...


20

It certainly meshes up with my memory of the way things were in the early 70's. But my memory may be exaggerated too. (I was anti-smoking way before it was cool.) It wasn't true that everyone smoked all the time, but it was certainly true that there were no real restrictions on locations smoking was allowed (short of near propane tanks). The first local ...


16

England in 400BC was a broadly Celtic culture with Pictish remnants in the North; 1600 years later it had gained a lot of influence from Roman, German, French, and Norse invasions. Language, food, architecture, laws, and so on were much different. These are the obvious changes. Your middle age Englander transported to Iron Age England would perhaps guess ...


13

According to historian A. Roger Ekirch's At Day's Close, peoples in pre-industrial societies actually went to bed as soon at it was too dark to work, and slept (and still do sleep in such areas today) in two fourish-hour phases, interrupted by a short period of activity. He found numerous references to this in literature, from Medieval literature to Homer. ...


13

By the 1970s, smoking in the USA was starting to come down from its peak in the early 1960s. (Note that this is slightly deceptive in the early years of the 20th century, when cigarettes were relatively rare but cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco, and pipes were relatively common.) I don't watch Mad Men, so I'm not certain of the characters' ages, but I ...


12

The largest city in Europe was Knossos in Minoan Crete, which according to Wikipedia reached as much as 100,000 people by 1600 BCE (Pendlebury & Evans 2003, p. 35). In comparison, the cities of Ur in Mesopotamia and Memphis in Egypt attained 60,000 people by 2000 BCE. The Mycenaean culture of Greece is well known to us via Greek legends. A warlike ...


11

It is a widely used epitaph of the time for beloved wives (see here and here), and seems to refer to Luke 10:38-42: (New International Version (NIV)) At the Home of Martha and Mary 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat ...


10

I passed the question to Cathy Raymond. Although she does not earn her living in either history or in textiles (due, I suspect, to her preference for a non-gruel based diet), I've read her research for a couple of years, and I've come to trust her opinion. One of the reasons I place faith in her opinion is that after answering the question, she offered the ...


10

First, Jesus did not live in Judea, but in the more rural and distant province of Galilee. The major population center was Sepphoris, Herod Antipas' seat of power. Historians generally agree that Jesus would have plied his trade in that city: Sepphoris... was moneyed. It was the center of trade for the area. And if Jesus were growing up in Nazareth, ...


10

Be careful using movies as research for the commonality of smoking in the early 20th century. Film stars were paid by various elements of the tobacco industry to be seen smoking and paid to smoke in films. Here's a link to a reasonable summary of the scale of this advertising: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7632963.stm


9

Be it known that I, WILLIAM STEBBINS BARNARD, of Canton, county of Fulton and State of Illinois, have invented a Book-Support, of which the following is a specification [of] this invention [that] relates to a support or holder for books, engravings, photographs, cards, and other things, which it is desired to stand on edge, and retain upright on ...


9

It certainly was condemned in the late Middle Ages. The Oxford English Dictionary has this delightful quotation, dated to circa 1450: "Pike not þi nose; & moost in especial..to-fore þi souereyn cratche ne picke þee nouȝt." In other words, "Don't pick your nose, and especially, don't scratch or pick in the presence of your sovereign."


9

Tyler Durden's comment does a great job with the first two parts of your question. This answer addresses when playgrounds began to look like the things we have today. Short Answer: The modern American playground was championed by progressives in the 1880s-1890s; the most common playground equipment was all invented by the 1920s; and New Deal money made ...


9

Yes, most men smoked For men born in USA between 1900 and 1930, about 80+% of them had been smoking at some point; and during 1920-1950 ~70% of them were current smokers.[1] This matches other countries - at ww1, for example, all soldiers generally received also a tobacco ration with the expectation that most of them will need it. For UK statistics, see ...


8

After some digging I found this: "AKHIBTE has taken the house of Mashqu from Mashqu, the owner, on a lease for one year. He will pay one shekel of silver, the rent of one year. On the fifth of Tammuz he takes possession. (Then follow the names of four witnesses.) Dated the fifth of Tammuz, the year of the wall of Kar-Shamash." That's a Babylonian rental ...


7

When the chimney became popular, 12C for castles and high status buildings, 15-16century for regular houses. Without a chimney you have a central hearth and the smoke rises to vents in the eaves, so everybody who wants to be warm has to be in the large single room. Once chmineys are invented you need somewhere to build them. If you have a castle you can put ...


7

For our purposes, there are two kinds of Vikings; western, or Norwegian Vikings that settled Greenland, Iceland, and Normandy, and eastern, or Swedish Vikings who settled Russia and the Baltic region. There is a fair amount of literature on the first group of Vikings, who were called "Norsemen" (later Normans). One example is from Encyclopedia Britannica: ...


7

Pottery (amphora), barrels, and wineskins mostly - which is why archaeologists know so much about pottery, as it is the only one of the three relatively imperishable. Paper was relatively expensive by todays standards until the early 20th century (and glass more so as only hand-blown glass was known) thus would have been used only to store relatively pricey ...


7

First of all, I want to remark that people in the first half of 20-s century knew about health risks of smoking. I don't think any new discoveries were made in this area in the second half of the century. Second, all answers above address the situation in the US, so let me add some first hand experience from other countries (I grew up in former Soviet Union ...


6

A New York bar's website is one of a few sites which provide the following (seemingly) credible explanation for this practice: No one is exactly sure of the reasons why larger format bottles were given biblical names. But, according to the Champagne expert Francois Bonal, winemakers in Bordeaux had been using the name Jeroboam for the four-bottle size ...


6

Harry Gordon Selfridge does appear to be the man responsible. From Wikipedia's page on Selfridges: Selfridge's innovative marketing led to his success. He tried to make shopping a fun adventure instead of a chore. He put merchandise on display so customers could examine it, put the highly profitable perfume counter front-and-centre on the ground floor, ...


6

To add another datum, from a later period but probably relevant nevertheless, Henry IV justly prided himself very much on the fact that under his administration every peasant family could afford a chicken meal every Sunday. This represented a very high living standard for peasants.


6

Your guess is correct. Bathing in Rome was one of common daily activities. While nowdays bathing is seen as strictly private activity, bathing in Rome was public activity. Rich Romans could afford themselves bathing facilities in their villas, while other classes bathed in thermaes, public facilities for bathing, similar to nowdays spas. They were owned by ...


5

Obviously this varies considerably by location as well as occupation and social standing - I'm afraid 'peasant' covers a wide array of people. I'm more familiar with the English diet than anything on the continent, but by far the bulk of their sustenance came in the form of pottage. Basically throw whatever green things you are currently getting from the ...


5

Monestary account records and feudal charter dues including land deeds. You might want to start with Bloch on feudalism or the encyclopaedia article on English economics in the Middle Ages. Also that previous answer of mine on urbanity in medieval periods and the lack of a market economy. How did cities operate in medieval times?


4

To answer only part of the question: The wealth of first century carpenters is impossible to compare to highly paid workers in late capitalism. Wealth has a fundamentally different meaning in our society to that of Antiquity; and, as such, a valid comparison is impossible. It is however possible to explain wealth and poverty from the first century in ways ...


4

Check Harvard Business Review. I've bought their "IKEA and Ingvar Kamprad" and "IKEA Invades America" articles (each are about $5) which both include information regarding some of their earlier approaches to design.


4

The wiki article on Mayan Trade has a good overview of Mayan social structure. In essence: The Maya relied on a strong middle class of skilled and semi-skilled workers and artisans which produced both commodities and specialized goods. They also had a large base of slaves and serfs - agricultural specialists. Members of the nobility had specialized ...


4

The process of wrapping purchases in paper and twine is called packaging, and the resultant wrapped item is called a package. (You will hear purchases sometimes referred to as packages in old books, TV shows and movies.) It was replaced by self-service shops and sturdy paper bags beginning in the '30s. To begin with, paper was used as flexible packaging as ...



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