marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

Double-entry bookkeeping was invented by a medieval Francisican.

The American Revolution produced more refugees than the French one.

For Pyrex advertising, in the early 20th century, Corning polled to find the five most common dishes cooked. Then it ensured that only those dishes were used in its advertisements.

Napoleon cut down mulberry trees in Germany to keep the Germans dependent on French silk. National Socialism replanted them, to reverse this.

The legend of the Peach Blossom Valley continues in modern China. Instead of thinking that they were living under a dynasty that had been replaced (and often its replacement replaced), the inhabitants of this gentle, pastoral, and virtuous place ask who sits on the Dragon Throne and have no pictures of Chairman Mao.

Medieval Russian brides wore their veils to bed. It was considered best that the bridegroom did not see her face until the second day, and did not hear her speak until the third day; she would win deep respect by doing this.

Legend attributed the discovery of pruning to St. Martin of Tours's donkey. Tethered in a vineyard, it ate everything in sight, to the despair of the monks, until they found that the vines thus pruned gave the best wine they had ever had.

One theory that helped lead to the Great Leap Forward famine was that since seeds of the same type were not class enemies, they could be planted much more densely than had been, since they would not compete with each other.

A woman met, alone, in medieval Japan (especially at dawn or dusk) was, it was feared, likely to be a shapeshifting fox.

An advertising firm surveyed an American city in 1931 and concluded that about 5% were their top class, the business and profession elite. Why, 83% of those households owned one car!

During World War II, Queen Elizabeth rejected black for her visits to the bombed-out sections of London, selecting lilac, a color suitable for half-mourning, instead.

Maoists, to seize the silver ornaments of the Chwang people, promised them new ornaments in a recently discovered and immensely valuable metal. They gave them ones of aluminum or pot metal, of course.

The eighteenth century practice whereby English farmers no longer ate with their laborers was much lamented in England.

The best ad headline for selling new dishwashing liquids were ones that alerted the women that they didn't need have hands that showed they had no maids.

When one woman was appointed maid-of-honor to Queen Victoria, her mother wrote her a letter of advice, including that she must spend many hours sitting or standing with no resources except her own thoughts.

Maids in early twentieth century ads were occasionally black, but usually white -- and the sort of white that looked just like the mistress of the house -- a French maid. The copy might allude to the reality of her coming from Ireland, Scandanvia, or Russia, but the picture never showed it.

In medieval Russia, the normal practice was for the bride's father to pick out an appropriate bridegroom and ask him to marry her. (The appropriate response was to consult with one's friends, which is where the negiotiations begin.)

Post-Liberation, inflation meant that American soldiers could look at French haut couture and realize they had no chance of bringing home such a dress to a sweetheart -- until they realized they could barter. One got a dress for a two-pound bag of coffee. (Others raised funds on the black market.)

Narrow, high windows in China (against burglars) are known as "cat windows."
Tags: historical tidbits

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