28 Mar

Pinterest is not entirely clothes, food, and crafts

Part of Pamela Saunders' Black Death pinboard on Pinterest.

Part of Pamela Saunders’ Black Death pinboard on Pinterest.

During my long blog hiatus, Pinterest came along to provide the ability to “pin” cool images from the Web to save for later perusal. It combines an appeal to the visual with an appeal to the inner collector and hoarder that sits within far too many of us, which makes it more than a little addictive. I have spent way too much time on Pinterest lately, adding and organizing pins, creating new pinboards, and searching for new topics to curate.

At least among my contacts, Pinterest seems to feature a lot of DIY projects, clothes, and recipes. But it’s used to collect other things as well. The other day I stumbled on an interesting pinboard curated by Pamela Saunders on the topic of the Black Death, the medieval pandemic that may have killed one-third of the population of Europe in the late 1340s, and then returned at regular intervals for the next several hundred years.

A mass grave containing probable Black Death victims’ skeletons was found earlier this month in London during excavations for the Crossrail project, which brought this medieval pandemic into the daily news. Pamela’s pinboard links to that story, as well as to artwork inspired by the plague, mourning jewelry, fourteenth-century plague graffiti, and more. It’s an interesting assortment of links if you have any interest in this aspect of medieval history.

23 Mar

Before and after: the office project

21 Mar

CITRON DATES ORANGE

Long time no blog. I’m finally biting the bullet and using one of the standard WordPress themes for this site — I just don’t have time to customize a whole theme anymore. I’m planning to post some more about a few of the things I’ve been doing lately, including interesting history trivia, crafts, design, and more.

Here’s something interesting I found tonight in the R. Williamson and Co. Catalogue No. 15, Illustrating Electric and Combination Fixtures/Art Glass Domes (undated, but by internal evidence it is no earlier than late 1908. Catalogue 14 was from 1906 and Catalogue 17 was from 1911, so I think that this one is from 1908-1909).

In the days of the telegraph, the cost of the telegram was based on the number of letters in the text. For this reason, it was common for people to use a “code” to send their message so they could send as few letters as possible while still getting their message across.

R. Williamson and Co. had a code in their catalogue, spread over two pages to include many necessary phrases. For example: PAPA 2378 FIR CELERY LENTILS RICE SISTER HOME was a much shorter and cheaper way to say “Can you ship fixture 2378 at once on receipt of order? Three light bracket, wired as explained in catalogue, assembled ready to hang, regular length as in catalogue, in the rich gilt and satin finish. Send by American Express, C.O.D.”

Here’s the full code.

telegraph code 1

telegraph code 2

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