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Unnamed Road, Pirates Well Settlement, The Bahamas
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Welcome to the Authentic Pirate Living History Group, a small corner of Facebook for those who would like to "get it right" to hide from Hollywood and pop-culture "sexy" pirate girls. This is a place for discussion of the history and material culture of real, historical, pirates of the "Golden Age" (however you choose to define it, but for now let's say European/American pirates, 1690-1725 ish) and their portrayal at living history and educational events. Feel free to invite other like minded friends.

Anyone posting pictures of themselves in Jack Sparrow outfits or typing in "pyratese" will be mercilessly mocked and jeered. Please leave your bucket boots at the door.

If you have a specific question, it may already have been asked, and it's recommended that you have a quick browse through this document to see links to previous discussions. There is no harm, however in asking a question again, even if it's been answered before, because research here is ever ongoing, and it's likely that something new could be added.

Rick Allen shared Queen Anne's Revenge - Blackbeard's post to the group: Authentic Pirate Living History 1690-1730.
Rick Allen

Tuesday October 17th, 2017 - 8:14 am

Blackbeard Gun Recovery!
October 2014. Archaeologists recover the 23rd of 31 cannon on Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge - Blackbeard shipwreck site. The new cannon is approximately 56" long, weighs over 300 lbs and may be a sister to a Swedish gun that was previously recovered. From the Nautilus Productions LLC stock footage collection. For fans of History In Pictures, Blackbeard Pirate Festival, Beaufort Pirate Invasion, Pirates Among Us, Brethren of the Space Coast and the Alaskan Pirate Brethren of the Cold

#Pirates #NautilusProductions #Blackbeard #Documentary #StockFootage #Shipwreck #Privateer #Archaeology #EdwardThache #QueenAnnesRevenge #FriendsofQAR #NCDNCR #NCFilm #treasure #cannon #artifact #Blackbeard300 #Tricentennial #Blogbeard
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Monday October 16th, 2017 - 11:24 am


Clear warm waters lap the white beaches of a small spit of land off the Southwest coast of Spanish Florida. A 20 gun sixth rate, sails furled and emptied of cargo, sits heeled over on the gently sloping tidal flats. Barrels and crates are scattered up the sand and into the treeline. Just beyond, slung between the pines and palm trees, hammocks swing beneath stretches of old unused canvas.

Their ship careened, a rough looking group sits around a fire, half empty rum bottles scattered about their feet. Atop a simple spit, freshly butchered chickens roast over the flames, the fat and oil dripping from their carcasses, sputtering on the coals below.

If the above sounds appealing to you, you enjoy maritime history, and you've got a sailor or pirate kit that is historically accurate to the first two decades of the 18th century (And can be documented), consider joining the Crew of the Scavenger, and a host of other pirates, at our yearly careening camp. Unfortunately, the 6th rate won't be heeled over off shore, but the rest is spot on.

(This is a private event and does have authenticity guidelines that must be met, so please read them carefully before attending.)
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Donald Ridenbaugh shared The Crew of the Scavenger's album to the group: Authentic Pirate Living History 1690-1730.
Donald Ridenbaugh

Sunday October 15th, 2017 - 12:37 pm

The Crew of the Scavenger - circa 1717

Just posted our most recent photos, so I thought I would share!
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The Crew of the Scavenger - circa 1717

Just posted our most recent photos, so I thought I would share!


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Great pictures! ☠️

John Harlow shared Classical Art Memes's photo to the group: Authentic Pirate Living History 1690-1730.
John Harlow

Thursday October 12th, 2017 - 1:37 pm

As hilarious as this meme is, the actual painting is an insight into how they held their pipes to smoke them but also, in relarion to a previous post where we looked at mixed drinks similar to punch, you can see a large white bowl on the table there where a guy is gerting hinself a drink with a silver spoon. Also heavily featured are the onion bottles we talked about as well. However, I'm feeling this is a 1740's/50's painting but I'm not 100% sure.

Your thoughts?
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As hilarious as this meme is, the actual painting is an insight into how they held their pipes to smoke them but also, in relarion to a previous post where we looked at mixed drinks similar to punch, you can see a large white bowl on the table there where a guy is gerting hinself a drink with a silver spoon. Also heavily featured are the onion bottles we talked about as well. However, Im feeling this is a 1740s/50s painting but Im not 100% sure.
Your thoughts?


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The original is in the Yale Center for British Art: It is part of a trend of mid to late eighteenth century tavern scenes. another example being "The Treat at Stepney," c.1750 in the British Museum:

Is this a Hogarth painting?

I'm sad to realise that Pete Pep Thompson and I are the only members of this group who were at the legendary event at Elizabeth Castle, Jersey, when we got hold of a punch bowl about that size and decreed that nobody was allowed to go to bed until it had been emptied. I'd like to reminisce, but I can't remember a thing. I imagine it looked much like that painting though.

Plenty of shaved heads as well!


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Thursday October 12th, 2017 - 1:25 pm

My boss wants to put up a display of period correct knots, hitches and lashings. What knots are appropriate? I know a figure 8 is a modern knot, but what about a bowline or half hitches? ... See MoreSee Less


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I remember that Ed Fox figured out some that are period correct based on period sources in a previous post.

It is unlikely that any of the simple knots are not very old, as they are the elements on which the more complex are based. You cannot say that the figure 8 is may have lots of modern uses, and be more useful now than it was, but it is so basic that it cannot have been "undiscovered".

Knots are one of the things that I tend to keep an eye open for in period documents. I posted quite a few in this thread on the Pyracy Pub.

For what it's worth, the 'figure of eight' may be a modern thing, but the Savoy knot, an alternative name for the figure of eight, dates back at least to the 13th century.

Rick Allen shared Queen Anne's Revenge - Blackbeard's post to the group: Authentic Pirate Living History 1690-1730.
Rick Allen

Thursday October 12th, 2017 - 7:13 am

Blackbeard Gets Busy!
October 12, 1717: Blackbeard, onboard the 'Revenge' with a crew of 150 men and twelve guns, captures a Captain Codd and his vessel off the Delaware capes. The Revenge later captured and looted the 'Spofford' and 'Sea Nymph,' which were leaving Philadelphia.

#Pirates #NautilusProductions #Blackbeard #Documentary #StockFootage #Shipwreck #Privateer #Archaeology #EdwardThache #QueenAnnesRevenge #FriendsofQAR #NCDNCR #NCFilm #treasure #cannon #artifact #Blackbeard300 #Tricentennial #Blogbeard #Kurohige
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Tuesday October 10th, 2017 - 12:48 am

A few weeks back we talked about the values of money and I found one of the references I archived. This is from 1706 out of the Pennsylvania colony. ... See MoreSee Less

A few weeks back we talked about the values of money and I found one of the references I archived.  This is from 1706 out of the Pennsylvania colony.


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Wonder if it's based in/from Philadelphia or at least the general area. (Philly is close to where I live)

Bloody Hell this is a brilliant piece of info!

The document highlights the problems of 'irregularity' and 'disproportion' in rates, we discussed in the previous thread. This was one of several attempts to create regulation in the value of coin.

I used this one frequently while writing for the Watch Dog project.

I've been reviewing old archived linls and close to half the websites are now dead, so the links above are rhe only active sources. I hate when good sources vanish.

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Monday October 9th, 2017 - 6:15 pm

A topic I've wanted to discuss since I joined this group but have held off until now because it's quite a sensitive issue. And that is the issue of slavery among the pirates and just in the GAoP era in general.

The modern depictation of pirates is that they were heroes and even championed social equality. Jack Sparrow's backstory includes him freeing slaves and being punished for it. Assassin's Creed 4 shows the pirates under Edward Kenway supporting a freed slave as their Quartermaster (although the character Bemjamin Hornigold was somewhat against it). Black Sails is very anti-slavery with most of the characters freeing slaves and seeing black characters as equals. But how much of this is true? Would pirates free slaves when they got the chance? My research gives mixed results a sketch of Henry Every (Avery) depicts him being followed by an African male carrying a parasol (See picture below) but I haven't been able to find anything supporting slaves as equals apart from the story of Black Caeser. The rest is just hear-say that crews were built up of Army/ Navy desserters, escaped slaves and even Native Americans.

Of course, as pirates were individuals, each man would have his own personal convictions and political beliefs. I suppose, if someone was willing to fight beside you and have your back, you wouldn't care less about their skin colour (Something the movie The Patriot, althought set in a later period, showed very well.)

But, on the whole, what was the general view on slavery in this period?
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Here is the picture I was talking about.

There is some information in my article that you might find helpful:

They routinely took and sold slaves. All of them.

You have to look at it on a case-by-case basis; Some pirates freed slaves, while others saw slaves as anything else: plunder to be resold for profit. Bart Roberts had a whole operation attacking slave shipping off the coast of Africa. Avery released captured slaves, Blackbeard's quartermaster was a former slave (Black Caesar). "In general" (a dangerous phrase in history) pirates would only sign on Blacks that were able-bodied enough to do so. Otherwise, they were seen as any other plunder.

John, you seem to base many of your questions on modern media, either TV shoes or movies or video games. The worst movie for any kind of accuracy is The Patriot, which was supposed to be the story of Francis Marion, known as The Swamp Fox. Marion owned slaves. There were no freed slaves working farms in the southern colonies. The movie is a politically-corrected revisionist story...very enjoyable movie, but very little in it historically accurate. I agree with others that you must look at individual pirates, as some would have seen opportunity in welcoming all hands for gain, while others would have seen slaves as yet another opportunity for trade.

Do not forget, Pirates then and now, were and are criminals. They lived outside the law and whatever their whim was at a given time. Capture a Slaver and sell her cargo, why not, if it filled their needs. Free the Slaves and let them join the crew if they needed crew, why not. It depended on their needs and wants at the time.

Here's a link to an article on the subject:

There are many sources that discuss the manifests, and cargo taken by pirates, especially during the Golden Age. One of the most important things to remember is that slaves would have been a very expensive cargo: they take up room, and have to have food and water to be worth anything at the end of the voyage. I've read of pirates freeing them, offering them work on their ships, keeping some as slaves, selling them, and scuttling a ship with them aboard. Its hard to know exactly what happened in many cases, especially if you consider that the crown/ merchant may not have recorded accurate numbers, knowing many would die in transit, and only hoped to show profits once sale was made (if those documents still exist).

My favorite game

Kevin Duffus in his monumental and extensively primary resource documented work on Blackbeard makes it clear that some were picked to be managed as cargo. In fact, to say that they were some of Blackbeard's lost treasure on the North Carolina coast is not without merit. Here is the lecture he gave at the Virginia Historical Society on Blackbeard several years ago. I was in the audience.....

At the start of Henry Every's voyage,he arrived off the usual slave loading port and captured,quite against accepted form,the slavers who came out to take his orders…all in Ed Fox's book about him.

Sailors then had it rough would be pretty hard not to feel sympathy for another soul being treated even worse.

As said above, it needs to be on a case by case basis. Lots of pirate engaged or tried to engage in the slave trade because slaves were a valuable commodity like everything else. On other occasions slaves were freed, and on others still they were just killed to get them out of the way. I strongly suspect that the line was drawn where a slave could be useful. If a slave could speak English a bit, handle a rope, and make himself useful around the ship then he might be taken into the crew, either as a free man or still as a slave. If he couldn't, or if the pirates had no immediate need of extra hands, then the slave was seen for his value as a self-propelling valuable cargo. The idea that pirates were 'colourblind' is a myth, they were just opportunist on the whole.

Jean Lafitte, who operated as a legitimate Privateer under French Marquis throughout his history, was known as the king of Barataria Island AKA golf Coast of Mexico pirate Central headquarters, he was voted into the position unanimously. He was quoted for saying that he absolutely hated the idea of slavery and was disgusted at the idea of profiting off of it. But at the same time though, he was a pirate king and had a reputation to keep;, so he knew that giving away free handouts such as human cargo could make him look somewhat soft. Potentially causing a snowball effect that would leave people feeling like they could take advantage of his hospitality was not an option, so he did something out of the ordinary whenever faced with the Dilemma of possessing the African slaves found chained up at the bottom deck of a Spanish ship that he was commandeering the cargo from. He decided to sell the Lots of them 4 Dirt Cheap, a fraction of what slaves were going for. But his prices came with the terms and agreement to take care of them humanely and never profit from the gesture. He actually had a falling-out with the booty Brothers after he found out that they had gone against his wishes and were selling the slaves second hand 4 a Hefty overturn, not many men were brave enough to disrespect John Bowie but Jean Lafitte's self-respect always meant more to him than his own respect for any other man.. He also made a point to try and reach out to the slaves from Africa by getting to know them personally, he had a habit of keeping his favorite African rescues as personal friends and employing them with jobs that until work that would directly deal with Lafitte. For example he may just click with one of the slaves and root and instead of selling the man he would be hired on as Jean lafitte's personal or something and they were kept So Close by his side that these men are now dead and gone but known as some of the last keepers of Lafitte's biggest and deepest secrets

Is this really the most pressing issue about how to reenact Pirates

My understanding is that it was entirely dependant on the pirates and the slaves. If the slaves spoke a language understandable to the pirates and had the attitude to join a pirate crew they had a much better chance at being freed. But still up to the individual crew. I do think Africans had a better chance with pirates than other Europeans.

"It is estimated that when Jamaica fell into the hands of the English the population of the capital was half Spanish and Portu- guese or their descendants and half slaves ; but it is a curious fact that a, negro is mentioned as holding the position of priest of the Roman Catholic church. "

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Sunday October 8th, 2017 - 5:09 pm

On the topic of missing buttons: if a button went missing on a coat or waistcoat, and one could not find a matching button, would it be replaced by one that came close, or would they just go without that button? One of the buttons on my justacorps broke, and they were molded from an extant button, but I can not get my hands on one that is the same. I'm wondering what to do. Any advice? ... See MoreSee Less


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Make a cloth one.

When I was at sea- I made ones from scrap ships wood.

I was told (when I was fretting on getting enough matched-set buttons) that in the 1600s (and before, and into the 1700s) matching buttons were a luxury, and it was common for buttons not to match. That said, I settled for a backup set of buttons and eventually will get them on the coat (because I still want a matched set...). But the man who told me this used to run Scarborough Fair with a high bar for authenticity, and when it comes to period-correct (generic, not sailor), he is one of my primary sources.

I have read that while out at sea sailor would use their cheese ration, that would have harden to be inedible, to carve into buttons. How accurate this is I don't know. I'm out and about right now and when I get home ill post the reference.

Cheese rinds sounds plausible….we dumped what we considered an inedible cheese over the side once when the chief steward wasn't looking…backfired on us,though as he thought we liked it so much we had scoffed the lot and another of the monsters appeared.Some kind of fancy cheese but I remember it had a very hard skin or crust on it and smelt worse than an engineers socks.

Suffolk "Bang" (or "Thump") cheese was issued by the Admiralty up to 1758. It's only redeeming quality was the fact that it kept well. Popular legend says that sailors carved buttons, and even pulley blocks from it. "Those that made me were uncivil For they made me harder than the devil. Knives won't cut me; fire won't sweat me; Dogs bark at me, but can't eat me." 'The Hampshire Chronicle' - Monday 19 December 1825; "As characteristic of Suffolk cheese, it said that a vessel once laden, one half with grindstones and the other half with the above commodity, on arriving at its destination it was found that the rats had consumed all the grindstones, but left the cheeses untouched."

The nearest modern English cheese to Suffolk Bang for hardness is probably Lyburn Farm's "Old Winchester" (though it's a lot tastier - we use it as a Parmesan substitute).

...or use linen tape to attach metal buttons.

In answer to the question, and sailor's sarcastic comments about their cheese rations aside, I guess that to replace with a mismatch or not to replace depends on the character of the individual, then as now. Clothing was expensive, and as a purchase, was as large a purchase for one of the lower sort as a car would be today. So, lovingly maintained is more likely than holey and missing buttons. Use a near match or take the abovementioned course of using the bottom one or one off a pocket where a mismatched replacement won't show so much.

Keep a couple of spares or near matches with needle/thread etc in whatever you keep your personal bits in? It's what I've done for every period I've portrayed.....

Or live with it, plenty of examples in art of people missing buttons, buckles, holed, worn or torn clothes etc. Here's a close up of one of Laroon's Cries of London.

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Sunday October 8th, 2017 - 3:26 pm

Have a good evening together, I have only recently been a reader in this group. I have been reenactment in the middle age for 4 years, now I would like to build a second representation around 1720, it should be a pirate / sailor. Now to my question, can you give me tips where I get cut patterns, for a Justaucorps, a kneetrousers and a vest. I am still at the beginning and am still reading and collecting information. Many thanks in advance for your help ... See MoreSee Less

Sunday October 8th, 2017 - 2:04 am

could c**t be used as an insult during the GAoP? It's used a lot in a Black Sails and Assassin's Creed 4. Obviously, these are for pure entertainment but it had me wondering?

(Sorry for the extreme language, but there's bo beating around the bush when it comes to this certrain word)
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The Oxford English Dictionary has a large entry on the term. Strange thing is, it appears to have diverse meanings at the time, from a literal reference to women's genitals, to a women of ill repute in general, to anything that might be the cause of the arousal of a male, to being a synonym to the word f*ck (which in itself was used strictly in a verb form for the action of intercourse). As to what extent this vulgar term was used (and it was considered vulgar at the time as well), I suspect you would have to find someone who has conducted a study of such words (which I've never looked up myself, but I suspect there has to be one somewhere). Just remember that entertainment media seldom does the research and often works on what they think works for the product they were intending to make. Also, just a reminder to anyone else commenting on this subject, this is to be a historical discussion.

Unfortunately I don't have the research in front of me but I was told many years ago that the c word at one time was a compliment. My understanding at the time was that it dated back to the 14th century at which time it was a compliment. I don't know the history of how and why that changed, sorry.

Okay, so this doesn't end up like some of the other recent discussions on here, I'll emphasize "historical discussion." If you are going to discuss this, bring your referable sources as well. Subjects like this are way too vulnerable to conjecture and "I heard..." statements that end up coming from web pages of no standards.

There was a whole (late night) radio program about the c-word,at one time it was not considered that offensive and was even incorporated into an old London street name - Three C***s Lane - which was a haunt of prostitutes at the time.It is listed in the 1785 Vulgar Tongue dictionary compiled by Francis Grose as "a nasty name for a nasty thing" and is the same as the Greek konnos and Latin cunnus.The same dictionary lists "c***hooks" as a sailor's slang for fingers,and is a word that was certainly still in use during my own time at sea in the late 1970s through to the end of the 1980s.Another derivation is possibly from the French "con",originally meaning a wet and nasty place. Not a bad lesson for Sunday morning with a slight hangover...

Short answer, yes. Bartholomew Roberts wrote a letter to one of the colonial governors (I forget which) with words to the effect of "Don't treat him like a cunt." I quoted the letter in full on a recent thread about pirates swearing.

Lol sorry.... so childish but a very valid question and thanks for asking it

Interestingly, the term "cuntline" is an old (at least 19th C) nautical term for the groove between strands of rope aboard ship.

The word 'cunt' is very old indeed and only relatively recently really became the taboo word that it is today (which is why I'm quite happy to type it in full). I *think* that Nathaniel Butler mentioned cunt splices (which we now call 'cut splices') in the 1620s.

Its a valid question and one I see was answered above but thought it was hysterical that you added there was no beating around the bush and no one else commented on that. Classic lol

the original meaning of cunt was good friend....

Quim was popular

Indeed, that's the main euphemism used for female genitals in the play Sodom, or The Quintessence of Debauchery written in 1684 by Lord Rochester,_or_The_Quintessence_of_Debauchery

Here we go…in 1785,at least,"quim" - the private parts of a woman,perhaps from the Spanish quemar - to burn.I'll leave you to figure out the connection with that one.Wether or not it predates the use of the word for ladies' naughty bits I do not know,but in some parts of rural England the wet horn within which an agricultural worker kept the stone to sharpen his scythe was also known as a quim.

There is a series called Balderdash and Piffle that explained etymology of some words. One of which was the C word. I dont recal dates but at one time it was in everyday use and not as contraversial as we see it today. I can only guess this series is found on youtube.

Also in the Samuel Pepy's diary I believe the term "Cunny" is used. Can't remember where in the diary its was but it's when his wife walks in on him and the maid... Getting it on.

Here's on of the references where I heard it:

It's modern British Army slang for fellow troopies.

I would say it doesn't belong anywhere given the most common meaning of the word in today's society.

Timeslider slang timeliness. - button condenses timeline +expands so you can get more precise introduction dates.

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Saturday October 7th, 2017 - 1:35 pm

First day of my sale: Kindle copy 99c! ... See MoreSee Less


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Thank you. D/L'ed my copy.


You have about 5 1/2 hours left to get a kindle copy at 99c!

I bought it months ago!

If you enjoyed the book, please leave a review on Amazon (that's how they rank the books!) Much love!

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Saturday October 7th, 2017 - 1:58 am

How did people smoke pipes in this period? When I started (since moved on to rolled cigarettes) smoking my own pipe a few years back I carried with me a tool called a pipe knife. Ironic because it had everything o it except a knife (!) It was called a dolphin as it was shaped (vaguley) like a dolphin. The bottom was a flat surface called a tamp used to tightly pack in the tobacco. You'd put some tobacco in the bottom, press the tamp down hard onto it, add another layer and tamp this softer and then a top layer which you didn't really tamp much, just enough to make sure the tobacco isn't sticking out of the bowl.

So, when I was looking through a museum's online shop a couple days ago I saw a pipe tamp that claimed to be a reproduction of an antique example.

It took me paround 45 minutes to smoke my pipe properly. Was this the same do you think during the GAoP period?
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I imagine smoking was as discouraged aboard a Pirate ship as it was in the Navy.Too much of a fire risk.Tobacco was chewed more than smoked i think? I suppose on land it would be a different kettle of fish.

I suspect. ..'smoker's tools' are a Victorian thing...Another one of those little silver doo-dads for Gentleman........?....Not saying they weren't around, but I think the thumb may have been used more.....I also recall something about smoking on the upper deck in certain hours only....Tho that was probably Naval

The main pipe tools were a rasp and a tamper. Tobacco was sold in twists so you needed a rasp to shred some off for smoking. Here's a mid-century tamper found at Flowerdew Hundred.

Here's an 18th century man lighting a pipe with a coal from the fire. Notice that he has a brass case for the tobacco and a knife that he probably used to shred it.

Here's a 17th-18th century tobacco box and rasp with some discussion about the existence of tobacco rasps.

During the thirty years war smoking was also a big thing! There are skulls found with a hole between the upper and lower teeth. I just have ordered two 18th century dutch pipes. You should know that the most people were not smoking the tobacco we knoe today. Over here in Europe were smoking a mixture of different herbs called Knaster (I think the translation is snout). Because tobacco wasn't always available. You can still buy it today but be carefull. Whenever I smoke a Knaster Pipe the people think I smoke weed! The smell of it is very different. Below a picture of the teeth of a german mercenar of the 30 years war.

This is based on a silver 18thC smoker's tool. The blade for cutting baccy from a plug or pigtail, back of the blade tempered as a striking steel. The fold out bit is a handle for the ember tongs and has a bowl scraper tip.

From the book Firsteels Cacciandra & Cesati(ISBN 8842206873)

Ditto, combo steels and ember tongs and a smoker's set.

Once more, with feewing. Ember tongs and tamper and one with a small engraved knife.

Still got my dad's pipe knife somewhere. I weren't around in the GAOP, but dad (in the 1950s) packed his pipes the same way as John Harlow describes, except that a fingertip was used on the top layer.

i found with smoking, a pipe and rollies and cigs, that real tobacco, usually went out fairly quickly, my pipe only burnt when puffing on it. and same with my rollies, put rollies in my tin they would go out. Packing always used my fingers, and knife to clean. Pipe and rollies i didn't drqag as much more puff. Oh i don't smoke any more, to much money to pay for it.

If you ever get to try some heirloom tobacco, Nicotina Rustica, be careful. That stuff packs a punch. Modern tobacco has had much of the hallucinogens bred out of it, and it is adulterated with other stuff. After smoking the original tobacco, it is easy to see why the natives used it for ceremonial purposes.

I was just doing some research into smoking the other day. I came across this site where a guy was making a reproduction of a smokers companion from the 17th century:

When I worked at Jamestown Settlement years ago, several employees decided to try the tobacco. I've never seen so many shades of green. ONE person was not sick and she was this little svelte person and could totally handle it.

A quick image search for 17thC pipe tamper with throw up a few including some fairly risqué ones 😀

The French Voyagers judged distance in "pipes" refering to takeing reagulated rest stops to smoke a "pipe"

I've seen a few examples of a perforated domed metal lid fitted to a pipe to prevent burning embers from escaping while smoking at sea.

As I recall, cigars, and to a lesser extent cigarilloes (tobacco wrapped in maize paper) were popular among the Spanish & Portuguese. Anybody interested in doing a Costa Garda impression?

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Friday October 6th, 2017 - 5:06 pm

Going on sale tomorrow ... See MoreSee Less

Wednesday October 4th, 2017 - 6:24 pm

Hello everyone, where can I find some reliable sources for shipboard Doctors and Surgeons? Also, was the title of Dr. around in this period? A surgeon features in my story and the characters refer to him as Dr. Cockram. I assume this would be accurate but being as so much changed from this period until now, I thought it best to double check.

Another point for discussion; were ships' carpenters ever doubled-up as surgeons or is this another silly Hollywood troupe? If this is true, how common was it?
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Surgeons are 'Mr', technically Raphael Mission is a frequenter of this group, and has written a plethora of articles on his web site. He is quite literally the most knowledgeable person alive for late 17th/early 18th century medicine and surgery

One of the main characters in Treasure Island is Dr. Livesy. Just tossing that into the ring...

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Monday October 2nd, 2017 - 7:55 pm

How supersticious were pirates? This is a thing thag often is portrayed in the Hollywood movies. David Cordingly even confirmed somethings like they'd bever set sail on a Friday as "Friday was the day when Jesus was executed and so it was always bad luck to sail on that day."

Some points I'd like to discuss;
1. The shooting of an albatross. There was a story that was read to me when Inwas a very young child about a sailor shooting an albatross and then the rest of the voyage was given to rough weather and other calamities
2. Women were bad luck.
3. No whistling on board as you're likely to call up a gale.
4. The black spot as a sign of imminent death.
5. One thing I picked up from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies is a ritual of brushing your chest with your fingers, spinning around 3 times and then spitting on the floor. (I have also heard from my theatre friends that this ritual or a version thereof is used when you mention 'Macbeath' inside a theatre that isn't hosting a production of Macbeath.)
6. The wearing of gold earrings. So, I've heard from thia group that the wearing of earrings was not done dueing the GAoP, so we can possibly leave this out however, it is preceived by some people nowadays that pirates were gold earrings to help their eyesight.

I've probably missed out somw points here and if some of these are true, I don't think it would just apply to pirates, rather, all sailors of the GAoP era.

To me, these seem like myth rather than truth. As, by 1700, people seemed pretty rational. Although, the Salem Witch Trials took place in 1692/93(?) so that put a bit of doubt in my mind.
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Per the director of research at the Vasa Museum in Sweden, women being unwelcome or bad luck aboard ships can be traced to around 1815.

#1, albatross. That's the plot of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (pub. 1798), a very famous poem. Coleridge's inspiration is discussed here and it doesn't necessarily support such a superstition.

The song "Handsome Cabin Boy" mentions that the captain's wife was on board, even though the song is about a woman dressing up as a man to see the world. First publication I've found for it is 1839.

I feel like this is somehow relevant to point 5...

EVERYONE was superstitious during the GAoP. They still believed in witches. The Salem Witch Trials were 1692 and a witch dunking was done in Virginia in 1706 (there's still a road in Virginia Beach named for that event). People were still burying shoes under the floor of a new house for luck. Sailors may have had superstitions specific to sea travel but it would be hard to be more superstitious than the general population.

Sailors remain surprisingly superstitious. I've crewed in vessels where a Friday sailing was to be avoided at all costs.

Dont know if it is still the case, but as a lad fishermen still would not mention rabbits when at sea, and considered certain colours unlucky for boats. Going to sea is a chancy business, and as such is likely to encourage superstition rather than the reverse. Interestingly, I noticed quite a lot of rugby player were as well..

Never found a reason, just "unlucky"...and they didn't really like talking about it 🙂

The only thing I was ever able to come up with is an association of rabbits with tinners, who could be seen as a rival/contrasting group, but that is just guesswork really.

I've often wondered about the "long-eared furry things" superstition. "The Shipwright's Vade-Mecum" says that rabbits are the enemy of the shipwright as they destroy young trees. Another possible link is that a "rabbit" is any piece of timber less than 2' 9" long and may be legally taken out of a shipyard (hence the plethora of 2' 9" wide fitted cupboards in old houses close to shipyards). Whistling, unless specifically for a wind, is another one.

Certainly a few years ago "rabbit" was still a term for dubious acquisitions in/from work, or the use of work time for your own projects in Plymouth, probably spread from the dockyard.

Not having women around isn't superstition, it's just common sense.

The albatross thing was a later superstition,as at one time they were shot for food.I did know from my own time at sea of a chief steward who vanished one night at sea,no note,nobody under suspicion of "helping" him…but he was known to have killed an albatross by shooting it with an air rifle.Fishermen were known to be highly superstitious,always needing something to blame a bad day's catch on,our local ones here have an aversion to the colour green and,for some reason,pigs.

People wore gold and silver for various reasons as talismans or amulets, but nothing limited to GAOP

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Saturday March 26th, 2016 - 2:31 pm

I would like to buy me some onion bottles reproductions, but I would prefer a source from the UK (or other countries in the EU) rather than from the US. I saw Jas. Townsend & Son offers them, but the shipping costs may be as high as a bottle itself 🙁

Maybe someone here could name me a decent trader?
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I would like to buy me some onion bottles reproductions, but I would prefer a source from the UK (or other countries in the EU) rather than from the US. I saw Jas. Townsend & Son offers them, but the shipping costs may be as high as a bottle itself :(

Maybe someone here could name me a decent trader?


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You want UK? Perfect! The one producer I would actually recommend for well made reproductions is in the UK. Georgian Glassmakers, Mark Taylor and David Hill of Andover in Hampshire. Here is their page for the bottles:

Thanks for those links. I'm curious, are those normal prices for historic glassware? I haven't shopped for it much (though I'd love to have some) but I didn't expect it to be so expensive. It's a niche market I suppose.

be careful that is how hellraiser started

They cost a lot to have manufactured. I had a load made in the traditional way by a master glassmaker and they worked out a lot more expensive than the Georgian Glassmakers ones.

I have an original in perfect condition. My guess is it about 300 years old give or take. I found a bunch in various antique stores. They were damaged and wanted upwards of 300$ each. Took me a long time to find one tha wasn't chipped or cracked.

You can go to theatrical suppliers and get these made in a sort of wax. This really looks good when a woman smashes it on some lowlife pirate's head. We got a few of them for a public event once and had a whale of a time....

Despite the Easter weekend I got a quick response from Mr. Taylor from Georgian Glass Makers, they are out of stock by now, but they will produce new bottles in July. So if some of you will order too you now know about their schedule 😉 Thank you again Mr. Fictum for this very helpful advice!

The make them by hand and sell them in James Town and Williamsburg VA.

They still use the glass kill from 1610.

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