Thursday, 21 September 2017

Chemical Formulations: Solid Liquids

Chemical formulations.
‘Solid liquids’.

Mr. Reginald Lockwood, a budding British Inventor, has created an item that will be of Great Utility to All Travellers from mere walkers to Exploratory Expeditions.

The first ‘Solid Liquid’ to be produced commercially will be Solid or Condensed Beer.  In Lockwood’s process, the best of beers has its alcohol content removed by gentle distillation in a vacuum column. The remaining liquid is then concentrated into a solid using a vacuum pan. At this point, the alcoholic portion is returned to the beer and acts as a preservative. The finished product is then packaged in hermetically sealed jars, much like those used for potted meats. To reconstitute the solid liquid, you just add the listed quantity of water. If effervescence is required, carbonated water can be added instead to provide a foaming tankard of beer.

Mr. Lockwood plans to manufacture a range of such drinks including beer, coffee, hot chocolate, lemonade, wine and even champagne!  We are sure that these lightweight essentials will add to tinned Australian mutton and bottled peas to give a Fine Repast to any Far-flung Traveller!

Host’s Notes:                                                                                                                                  This item was inspired by a short article in the 1875 edition of Cassell’s Magazine. This is, more or less, the way that instant coffee and soups are made today by vacuum freeze-drying.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Lady Archers in Castle Falkenstein

Lady Archers in Castle Falkenstein.


The Fair Toxophilites by William Powell Frith (1872).

Whilst Upper Class Ladies can claim the combat skills developed by their involvement in the Hunting, Shooting & Fishing circles and lower class women may be Most Proficient with the aggressive use of the rolling, broom or even kitchen knife, you might think that politely brought up Middle Class Ladies may have been bereft of a useful combat skill.

But you would be Wrong!

The fair archeress.  George du Maurier, 1878.
Archery was considered a suitably Graceful and skilled hobby for Genteel Ladies in many countries. In Great Britain, Queen Victoria was a great supporter of this hobby, making it socially acceptable for rising middle class that aped the fashions of higher society. 

It was one of the few sports where men and women could compete side by side and national contests became a feature of the annual season. Prizes for Women frequently included silk scarves and gilded leather archer’s bracers. The biggest match in Britain was “The National” and up to 130’ Archeresses’ competed against the Men for a prize fund of £400! 

At this time Men were using bows of around 60 pounds pull, in competitions, and Ladies’ bows generally had around 40 pounds pull. 

Small quivers could be worn with ordinary day wear, either slung on shoulder straps or attached to belts to hang just below the waist. As with all women’s pastimes, a specialised chatelaine (a set of tools hung from the belt or waistband) was developed for Archery.

This one has a supply of beeswax (or possibly rosin), in the acorn, for the glove of the pulling hand, a bone disc with a small paper target for recording your score and a small ivory pencil to record your score with. Other variations which might be added could include a large silk tassel, probably for brushing mud off arrows or a small pouch containing spare bowstrings.

Toxophilatic clubs were extremely popular in Britain from the 1830s through to the 1880s but as other sporting pursuits became socially acceptable for women, such as Croquet and Tennis, there was a slow decline later in the century.

By the 1870s, archery clubs for well-heeled Ladies in America could be found from New York to Florida and even in the Bear Flag Empire. In the Germanies, the “German Shooting Sport and Archery Federation” was founded in 1861 as local clubs across most of the German Kingdoms and Principalities banded together to coordinate their activities.

 Host’s Notes: For more information on “The National” including the champions of the early 1870s click here.   The two photographs of the quiver and the chatelaine are from this blog

In the Great Game, Archery is covered by the Marksmanship Ability but if you are using the excellent Ability Variation supplement, Bow is a Speciality under Marksmanship. Victorian Men's bows  do Type D Damage whereas the lighter Women's bows do Type C Damage if using "Fearful Harm & Great Danger" ffrom Comme Il Faut.