Thursday, July 26, 2007

Regency Work Part II

It is hard to imagine a world without computers and planes and automobiles. What were some of the jobs that the ordinary people did? I talked about tin smelting in my last post, but one of the largest employers, even at this early stage of the industrial revolution was the land. And land requires laborers. These laborers, or workers, provide a backdrop to our stories. We can't ignore that they needed people to provide their food or clothing. (Remember that feast I described a while ago?).

Here are a few pictures of happy land workers. Or at least land workers.


It is not exactly clear to me what they are picking. Mushrooms? The grass is very short, and it clearly not full summer, because of the coats. I must admit that the main reason for having this picture was to show that even the poorest of women wore stays. If you look closely you can see them on the outside of the woman's clothes standing in the background. Apparently this was not uncommon, but hearkens back to an earlier era. Also note the various kinds of head gear, and the split rail fence in the distance. All small useful details that might someday bring a scene to life.


These folks are threshing corn (The English called all forms of grain: wheat, barley, oats, by the generic name of corn). The kind that looks like sweet corn, they call maize and it was not sweet and was used for cattle feed, along with mangel wurzels. Always loved the sound of that particular vegetable (It is a variety of beet and definitely used in our time for cattle feed). I can remember visiting a friend and helping wind the handle to chop up the mangel wurzels for her dad's cows. Ooops, off topic. Anyway to my unversed eye, this looks like barley or perhaps wheat, but the long hairy ends look like barley to me.

You can check what those grains look like on google and tell me what you think. Your turn to do some research. What is most interesting to me about this picture is that here we have men, women and children all working together. We don't feel so bad about those children outdoors doing this kind of thing do we? But it was still hard work and the hours long. I like the demonstration of the threshing sticks, see how they are hinged? And look how they carried the corn to the threshers in big blankets. It looks really heavy. Lots and lots to take away from this picture should I ever need a threshing scene.



Now here is something you don't see every day, at least not today. These women and not gathering teasels, they did that already, they are pushing them onto long sticks for easy transportation. What? Are you asking me why? Or, as I suspect, am I just telling you a whole bunch of stuff you know about. Teasel~~used in textile processing, providing a natural comb for cleaning, aligning and raising the nap on fabrics, particularly wool. It differs from the wild type in having stouter, somewhat recurved spines on the seed heads. The dried flower heads were attached to spindles, wheels, or cylinders, sometimes called teasel frames, to raise the nap on fabrics (that is, to tease the fibers).

What a great place to end, because next time I talk about jobs, I am going to talk about cloth making. Until next time, Happy Rambles.