Collections: Why No Roman Industrial Revolution?

This week we are taking a look at the latest winner of the ACOUP Senate poll, which posed the question "Why didn't the Roman Empire have an industrial revolution?" To answer that, we need to get into some detail on what the industrial revolution itself was and the preconditions that produced it, as well as … Continue reading Collections: Why No Roman Industrial Revolution?

Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part III: Things

This is the third and final part (I, II) of our series tackling the complicated and still debated question of 'how bad was the fall of Rome (in the West)?' In our first part, we looked at the question through the prism of 'words' - language, culture, religion and literature. There we found a lot … Continue reading Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part III: Things

Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make it? Part IVb: Cloth Money

This is the second half of the fourth part of our four part (I, II, III, IVa, IVb) look at the production of textiles, particularly wool and linen, in the pre-modern world. Last time, we looked at commercial textile workers and the finishing processes for textiles (fulling, dyeing, etc) which generally took place in a … Continue reading Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make it? Part IVb: Cloth Money

Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part IVa: Dyed in the Wool

This is the first half of the fourth part of our four part (I, II, III, IVa, IVb) look at the production of textiles, particularly wool and linen, in the pre-modern world. Last time, we spun our wool and flax fibers into thread and then wove that thread into fabric. And in doing so, we … Continue reading Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part IVa: Dyed in the Wool

Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part III: Spin Me Right Round…

This is the third part of our four part (I, II, III, IVa, IVb) look at the production of textiles, particularly wool and linen, in the pre-modern world. Last time, we processed our raw fibers, removing extraneous material and getting them ready to be turned into thread. Today we're going to continue with that next … Continue reading Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part III: Spin Me Right Round…

Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part II: Scouring in the Shire

This is the second part of our four part (I, II, III, IVa, IVb) look at the production of textiles (particularly in wool and linen) in the pre-modern world. Last time, we took a look at the production of our two fibers, flax bast from the flax plant and raw wool sheared from sheep. This … Continue reading Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part II: Scouring in the Shire

Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part I: High Fiber

This week we are starting the first of a four (I, II, III, IVa, IVb) part look at pre-modern textile production. As with our series on farming and iron, we are going to follow the sequence of production from the growing of fibers all the way to the finished object, with a focus not merely … Continue reading Collections: Clothing, How Did They Make It? Part I: High Fiber

Collections: That Dothraki Horde, Part II: Subsistence on the Hoof

This series is now available in audio format. You can find the playlist here. This is the second part of a four part (I, II, III, IV) look at the Dothraki, the fictional horse-borne nomads of the A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones series. We're looking at, in particular, the degree … Continue reading Collections: That Dothraki Horde, Part II: Subsistence on the Hoof

Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It, Part IVb: Work Hardening, or Hardly Working?

This week, we close out our four(and a half)-part (I, II, III, IVa, IVb, addendum) look at pre-modern iron and steel production, although I ought to note that there will be at least one addendum discussing pre-modern cast iron and crucible steel (Wootz) production. Last week, we looked at the processes used to create steel … Continue reading Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It, Part IVb: Work Hardening, or Hardly Working?

Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It? Part II, Trees for Blooms

This week we continue our four-part (I, II, III, IVa, IVb, addendum) look at pre-modern iron and steel production. Last week we prospected our iron ore and extracted it from the ground and did some initial mechanical processing (washing, sorting, crushing). This week, we're going to make our way from just rocks to an actual … Continue reading Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It? Part II, Trees for Blooms