Buff and Blue: Whigs and Tories

When George Washington choose his uniform, he could have literally chosen any color scheme, so why buff (tan) and blue. The choice was not arbitrary.  The Whig party in England (not to be confused with Andrew Jacksons divisive party in the 1830’s) had been standing against the abuses of the crown since 1688.  Their rallying …

Beer Recipe: Nightingale on a Stone Wall

The British army punished its soldiers mercilessly. The purpose was to inspire terror by setting an example. Soldiers were frequently whipped leading to the derisive moniker “bloody backs” by which Redcoat soldiers were frequently known. The most common offence was drunkenness, which could merit 100 lashes. The sentence was carried out in front of the …

Historical Tidbits

When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few. August 6, 1777                   Battle of Oriskany and St. Leger The Battle of Oriskany occurred on August 6, 1777, when the local Tryon County Militia attempted to come to the …

Joseph Priestly and Carbon Dioxide

In Leeds Joseph Priestley’s home was situated near a brewery. Whenever he walked by the brewery, Priestley observed an unusual phenomenon. He noticed that “fixed air” (carbon dioxide) was released in the process of fermentation and that this new “air” would extinguish burning pieces of wood and then drift to the ground. At home Priestley …

Historical Tidbits

When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few. August 2, 1776 – Fifty-five members of the second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to formally sign the Declaration of Independence.  Benjamin Franklin is oft quoted as having said …

Phlogiston and Fire — The Isolation of Oxygen

In the mid-18th century, the most pressing issue in chemistry and physics was to determine what exactly happens when something burns. The prevailing theory was that flammable materials contained a substance called “phlogiston” (from the Greek word for burn) that was released during combustion.  The theory held that when a candle burned, for example, phlogiston …

The Yeast Ring

This year, I am adding a somewhat archaic bit of brewing equipment to the gear brought out by the Regimental Brewmiester.  The yeast ring or gjarkrans is a piece of traditional brewing gear from medieval Sweden and Denmark.  This tool resembles a complicated wreath of small pieces of whittled wood.  Yeast harvested from one batch …

Historical Tidbits

When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few. July 30, 1742       Faneuil Hall erected Built as a gift to the city by Peter Faneuil, Boston’s wealthiest merchant,  Faneuil Hall is a meeting hall and marketplace. Boston was in …

Historical Tidbits

When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few. July 28, 1779                       Americans defeated at Penobscot The British sent about 700 men aboard three small warships to land in Penobscot Bay. They intended to establish the province of …

Congress establishes the State Department, July 27, 1789

The Constitution of the United States, drafted in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 and ratified by the states the following year, gave the President responsibility for the conduct of the nation’s foreign relations. It soon became clear, however, that additional resources and formal structures were necessary to support President Washington in the conduct of …