What Language is that written in? Understanding 18th Century Handwriting

Several years ago, I was giving tours at Independence Hall when one of the guests approached me outside Congress Hall to ask questions about the Articles of Confederations (BTW, volunteers love to be asked questions, that’s why we do this so don’t hold back.  If you ask us a question that we don’t know the …

Blowing Smoke Up Someone’s Arse‡

Maybe I’m just having a bad day but after several government meetings, the term “Blowing smoke up someone’s ass” has been used way too much.  Just to set the record straight, this was not always a simple figure of speech indicating someone was being an insincere flatterer. Tobacco smoke enemas became a mainstream medical practice …

“And the Rockets’ Red Glare” – Rockets were originally used AGAINST the British in the 18th Century!

Missiles and missile rocket technology is a mainstay in the modern military.  In fact, most modern fighter aircraft have dispensed entirely with guns and typically are armed with various offensive and defensive rocket powered munitions.  While we are all familiar with the Chinese invention of fireworks, it was actually the INDIANS who turned these interesting …

Basic Colonial Brewing #17 — Make an 18th Century Toast

 “To drink at a table without drinking to the health of someone special, should be considered drinking on the sly, and as an act of incivility.” Throughout history, toasting began after a meal and could last for hours.  Toasts would solidify the bonds of groups, not only through the competitive element of drinking, but by …