Kentucky Derby Festival begins!

Kentucky Derby Festival begins!

Saturday was the official kick off of “Derby Season” here in Kentucky, so it seemed appropriate to devote myself to what is, without argument, the biggest yearly event to Kentuckians (and to horse enthusiasts everywhere in the USA). Today happened to be my scheduled blogging date on Austen Authors, and with thoroughbred horse racing indisputably an English invention,… Continue Reading

Vocabulary Rocks! C is for…

Vocabulary Rocks! C is for…

California The Golden State’s name comes from a Spanish romance written in 1510. Las sergas de Esplandian (The Exploits of Esplandian), by Garcia Ordóñez de Montalvo, contains a reference to a fictional island called California. “…on the right hand of the Indies, there is an island called California, very near to the Terrestrial Paradise…” Since… Continue Reading

A Close Shave

A Close Shave

The advertisement to the right appeared in the General Advertiser in May 1752. Daniel Cudworth was one of the many London business owners to take advantage of increased advertising opportunities to push his ‘flat razor strap,’ or ‘strop.’ On the surface, there seems little unusual here; a product, some notes about its quality and durability… Continue Reading

History of the Barber’s Pole

History of the Barber’s Pole

Barber-surgeons were medical practitioners who provided a wide-range of services during the medieval and early modern periods of history. Traditionally, they were trained through apprenticeships, which could last as long as 7 years. Many had no formal education, and some were even illiterate. Barber-surgeons provided a variety of medical services for their communities. Moreover, because of… Continue Reading

Beware the Draisine!

Beware the Draisine!

Essentially the forerunner of a modern bicycle, the draisine rapidly became all the rage in Regency England. The earliest usable and much copied vehicle was created by the German Karl Drais. He called it a Laufmaschine (German for “running machine”), which he first rode on June 12, 1817. He obtained a patent in January 1818. Drais’ purpose… Continue Reading

Vocabulary Rocks! B is for…

Vocabulary Rocks! B is for…

Barbecue This American contribution to international cuisine actually originated in the Caribbean, and the word comes to us via Spanish from its Indian roots. The original sense of barbecue is that of a raised, wooden (later metal) framework used for either sleeping upon or curing meats. The Indians of Guiana called it a babracot and the… Continue Reading