Things I Love Thursday: Featuring the Most Cheerfully Menacing Photo I Have Ever Seen
The Crazy Costumes of Maurice Grunbaum ~ I Want You To Lick My Ice Cream ~ 38 THOUSAND Historical Maps Digitized and Free ~ So, Knutepunkt 2013 Happened ~ It Came With Instructions ~ Punny Cattle Branding for Fun and Profit
Consider the Cup Game (Princess Bride) ~ Throne of the Crescent Moon Chapter 1 ~ Group Sex in the Animal Kingdom (NSFW) ~ Scientists Test Hypothesis, Learn New Things (Specifically, Americans are Weird) ~ Speaking of Which, Do Nouns or Verbs Come First? ~ The Ballad of Robert Charles, or How Anti-Heroes Are Born ~ Japanese Celtic Steampunk ~ An Old Brothel Menu (NSFW, unless you work in a brothel, I suppose) ~ Dense & Difficult
Beautiful and Free Fonts ~ Technocculte 1 & 2 ~ Glitter & Madness: The Speculative Nightclub Anthology ~ Steampunk Vespas ~ Fiction Into Reality: Why We Borrow From What We Love ~ Oh, You Can Listen To Steven Colbert and Leonard Nemoy Read You A Story
There’s a slight chill to the air, in many northern parts of the world; in the south, the first blush of summer is turning to true warmth. And in both places, you’ll find people using scarves to protect themselves from the elements.
Scarves are a funny thing. Loosely defined, they consist of any square, triangular or rectangular piece of fabric. Usually, they are not attached permanently to other types of clothing. In cold places, scarves of heavy material are used to keep warmth in, especially about the head and neck. In warm places, scarves of light material are used to keep the sun off, especially about the head and neck. And they date back to as far as 1350 BC, in Egypt, and even further up north.
All of which means it is plausible for any culture you dream up to have scarf-like accessories. It’s possible a future of controlled environments might render them obsolete, but considering how much the fashion world loves selling us bits of cheap-to-produce fabric, I doubt very much that obsolescence would push them out of style. (Besides which, hobby knitters will continue to learn on scarfs until the end of time. Or the end of the knitting.)
Considering all this, I’d strongly suggest using scarves as a method of showing group allegiance in games. Tabards are popular in medieval and high fantasy settings, but scarves have the advantage of being period and technologically appropriate in a much wider range of settings- meaning, when the game ends, you can use them again.
The true and faithful knights in her highness’s service can wear the silk (or rayon) mark of her favor. The roughnecks working the steam-ranch of that crazy old scientist can cover their mouths with the bandanas he issues, specially treated to keep them from inhaling certain… ah… local hazards. The highland clans can wrap themselves in the tartan patterns of their fathers. The settlers on the Sublight Colony Ship Drifter can show their political allegiance by the color of their synthetic neck-warmer-cum-airbag.
So, yeah. You can do damn near anything with them; if you’re looking for an accessory you can use again and again, try a scarf.
Shown Above: Paul Gustave Dore by Felix Nadar, via Wikimedia Commons. Photo is in the Public Domain.
When it comes to sheer dandyism, it’s hard to beat a top hat.
Top hats are one of those trends that came suddenly upon the Western world; and as such, there isn’t an agreed-upon source for the design. Their entrance into fashion still made a splash- one man was arrested for causing a public disturbance, so shocked were the good people of London by the absurdity on his brow.
It eventually settled down into respectability- it still forms a part of white-tie dress, after all, which is pretty good result for something initially adopted by English dandies and French incroyables. It helps, I suspect, that at its worst it was a fashion of the wealthy and tolerated; the powerful set fashion in much of history, even if it’s a silly fashion.
If you’re interested in period, its height of popularity was from the middle of the 1800s through the early 1900s. Unlike many clothing items, the construction of a top hat is complicated enough that you would need both a certain level of technology and a certain amount of trade to create them- they’re made from silk and shellac, carefully shaped. Thus, you need access to at least those two materials, the method of weaving and napping silk, and the technological know-how to apply shellac to fabric. It’s a far cry from a straw hat.
Fun fact: this hat was often worn so large that cloak rooms at the opera couldn’t store them all, leading to the development of the collapsible top hat.
A matryoshka doll is a hollow wooden doll that contains within itself a smaller but otherwise identically shaped doll, which contains another doll, until you get to last and smallest figure made from a single piece of turned wood.
They were first manufactured in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin (a carpenter and wood-carver), from a design by Sergey Malyutin (a folk crafts painter). Despite their relatively modern (and/or steampunk) origins, the dolls don’t require any technology more complicated than wood-carving, for simple versions, or a wood lathe, for the smooth kind. Mechanical wood lathes have existed since at least 200 BC, which gives quite a range of settings in which crafting the dolls would be possible.
The youth of the design in our history means they are firmly treated as toys rather than something important or symbolic, but there is huge symbolic potential there. I would love to see matryoshka dolls used as phys reps of the extra lives so common in boffer larps- or as a retroactive representation of the characters portrayed by a single player.
Etsy has a plentiful supply of relatively inexpensive blanks, if you wanted to paint your own; it also has very inexpensive matryoshka doll charms if all you want is a simple way to keep track of the number of deaths left before you run out.
Matryoshka - Beautiful doll Russian style brass charm - 10 ITEMS via Meikkonen. Brass. Ships worldwide. $3 USD
Shown Above: Set of Three DIY Nesting Russian Matryoshka Dolls, Five Pieces Each by Swell Goods. Linden wood. Ships worldwide. $29 USD
Mad About The Boy Post-Post-Apocalyptic Debrief ~ Eddy Webb’s Larp Theory Stuff ~ STEAMPUNK MUSEUM ~ Summer Costume Storage Tips ~ The Eerily Inexplicable: True Stories ~ Black-a-moors in the Medieval European Imagination ~ LibraryThing is Hiring!
Glasses themselves are quite old; glass filled with water was being used for magnification as far back as 4 BCE, and while I was unable to find the earliest known date for their use, Inuit snow goggles are simple enough to make that it only requires a mind to invent them, and the ability to carve and tie string to manufacture them. However, what we think of as modern eye protection began in 1880 CE, with the invention of “Eye Protectors” by Powell Johnson. You can see his patent here (or here, if you don’t have a .tiff reader).
Goggles of all types are thoroughly associated with Steampunk, but don’t forget that eye protection is hugely important in research even today- to the point where I feel like it should count like a form of head armor, rather than as a costume accessory. If you need convincing, check out this history of safety in chemistry. Like every other kind of armor, safety glasses dramatically reduce your chances of getting injured.
Normally I only post a handful of links to get shoppers started, but safety glasses honestly come in such awesome variety that I couldn’t narrow it down today. All of the following links come from various Etsy sellers. Enjoy!
Safety Glasses. Ships to the US, Canada, Australia, and France. $4 USD
Steampunk Goggles Safety Glasses. Teal. Ships to the US. $14 USD
Vintage Safety Glasses, Industrial Goggles. Originally from the USSR. Ships worldwide. $17 USD
Hive Steampunk Goggles Air Pirate. Ships world wide. $26 USD
Fendall Safety Glasses. Ships to the US. $30 USD
Shown above: VESUVIUS Studded Rock Safety Glasses. Ships world wide. $35 USD
Deerskin Tie-On Goggles. Ships world wide. $45 USD
Vintage Metal Industrial Safety Glasses. Ships world wide. $170 USD
New Steampunk Goggles; 5 Lens Design. Ships world wide. $200 USD
* Beloved = lovingly hated by all scientists everywhere. Especially when you can’t find tinted safety goggles and you’re doing a land survey in the middle of July and the sun is glaring down on you and your face hurts from all the squinting and you’re trying to figure out if it’s worth it to buy bigger goggles just so you can wear sunglasses underneath. And for the record, no, you can’t just wear a ball cap for shade because you have a safety helmet on.