Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Sample Chapter - A Short History of Traditional Crafts - Gunsmiths

Sample Chapter
 A Short History of Traditional Crafts
The gunsmith performs a number of different tasks that involve many different skills, including woodworking, machinist, engineering and finishing. The first gunsmiths arose in Europe after the introduction of firearms in the Fourteenth Century. The Chinese, who had first invented gunpowder in the Ninth Century AD, were naturally the first ones to invent the firearm.
Gunpowder History
Invented by the Chinese in the Ninth Century, gunpowder at first was not explosive, but it was flammable. One of the first recorded uses as a weapon is a drawing of a flamethrower. The Chinese refined the mix, and soon they made rockets and fireworks. They used fireworks at first to scare away evil spirits. The technology spread to the Mongols, to India and then the Arabs. The technology reached Europe by the Thirteenth Century. Historians are not sure if the Mongol invaders brought the technology or if the knowledge came in through the Silk Road, but by the 1300's the Europeans had gunpowder. 
Classed as a "low explosive" substance, gunpowder produces a large amount of pressure and gas after a rapid burn. This explosion of gas and pressure is ideal for propelling a projectile down the barrel of a firearm or cannon, as it is not intense enough to destroy the device. Gunpowder is composed of three ingredients, potassium nitrate, carbon and sulfur. Sulfur comprises the smallest component at about ten percent. The colonies imported it from Sicily, which has huge deposits. Carbon, the next biggest component at about fifteen percent, they could manufacture from charcoal, an abundant resource made by burning wood. Potassium nitrate is the most important at seventy-five percent and is the most difficult to obtain.
Potassium Nitrate
Potassium nitrate, or salt peter, accumulates in caves as the composted remains of bat manure, or guano. The early colonists knew of no natural sources of salt peter in the New World. Sources were found later on, but the need for this critical material during the Revolutionary War forced the colonists to find foreign sources. There is another way to produce salt peter, but it is a long process. Any organic matter that contains nitrogen is a potential source for potassium nitrate. Manure, blood from slaughterhouses, and plant material of all kinds they would gather and put in a huge pile. They would water this pile from time to time with animal and human urine. This huge pile of organic matter would decompose, leaving compost behind. They would then leach the salt peter out of this compost with water. They could then re-crystallize the salt peter by evaporating the resulting liquid in the sun. This process typically took a year to produce the salt peter needed for gunpowder.
Brief History of the Firearm
The Chinese developed the fire lance sometime in the 10th Century. This was simply a tube they filled with gunpowder. They lit the gunpowder which ignited and shot a fiery bolt of sparks at an adversary. Sometimes they would put shrapnel of some kind in the tube to inflict greater damage. By the 12th Century the Chinese had evolved their craft to create the first hand cannons which shot cannonballs. The firearm was probably carried to the Middle East by Mongol invaders in the 14th Century. One of the earliest forms of firearms was a gun called an arquebus. This was a defensive weapon whose name derives from the German word Hakenb├╝chse, or "hook gun." The gun was mounted on hook like projection that steadied the weapon when the shooter fired the gun. Historians think that the arquebus first appeared in the Ottoman Empire sometime around 1465 and in Europe sometime around 1475. These early guns had to be fired by holding a lit match to a fire pan filled with gunpowder. This operation required a great deal of preparation at a time when the soldier was probably under attack. The development of the matchlock, possibly by the Japanese probably developed the matchlock and introduced it to the Portuguese sometime around 1543. The smooth bore muzzle loading musket appeared sometime around 1465, first as a heavier arquebus designed to penetrate armor. This led to the downfall of armor as protection and the musket evolved into a lighter firearm. The introduction of the matchlock made the musket more mobile.
The increasing complexity of firearms led to the appearance of gunsmiths that could make and repair the guns. The first gunsmiths were Italian craftsmen that assembled gun barrels. The early gunsmiths during the Middle Ages needed to join a guild in order to practice. Since there were no gunsmith guilds, these artisans joined blacksmithing guilds. As the various national governments soon began to employ gunsmiths their numbers and importance grew, leading to the appearance of specialized gunsmith guilds in the 14th Century. Britain lagged behind the other nations in gunsmiths leading King Henry VIII to invite gunsmiths in other European countries to work in London sometime before 1545. Because of the restrictive guilds in Continental Europe, many gunsmiths happily moved to England to practice their craft. Many gunsmiths migrated to America and began practicing their much needed craft among the first pioneers in the wilderness. The American gunsmiths developed the distinctive Kentucky, or Pennsylvania, long rifle which was much prized by pioneers like Daniel Boone for its accuracy. Gunsmiths provided a valuable service for the newly independent nation during the Revolutionary War.  Eli Whitney's introduction of standardized gun parts in 1798 made mass produced firearms more affordable and placed less reliance upon the hand crafted guns of the gunsmith. However, many gun enthusiasts still prefer the high quality weapon produced by a skilled gunsmith.

A Short History of Traditional Crafts

A Short History of Traditional Crafts
Discover the story behind many of the traditional handicrafts like black smithing, weaving, quilting, sewing, basket making and pottery. The book covers the history of those crafts as well as metal smiths, brewers and woodworkers. 

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Candle Making
Glass Arts
Quilt Making
Spinning and Weaving History
Invention of Pottery 
Leather Manufacture History
Soap Making History
Metal Working History
Coppersmith History
Goldsmith History
Silversmith History
Tinsmith History
Jewelry Making History
Wood Crafting History
Saddle Making History
History of Beads
Glass Blowing History
Leather Crafts
Stone Carving History
Floral Design History
Rug-Making History
Rope Making History
History of Beer and Brewing
History of Wine Making
Toy Making History
Doll Making History
Doll House Making History
Tapestry Art History
Knitting History
Sewing History
Crocheting History
Paper Making
About the Author
Mossy Feet Books Catalogue
Sample Chapter
Short History of Roads and Highways
Bicyclists Press for Better Roads

© 2019 Paul Wonning
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Friday, December 20, 2019

Hoosier History Stories - Box Set

Hoosier History Stories
Hoosier History Stories
Hoosier History Stories
Each of the two volumes of the 366 Days in Indiana History Series includes three hundred and sixty-five days of Indiana history. Hoosier history buffs will enjoy  the 732 stories in these two volumes of Indiana history stories, some of which are little known, while others are important benchmarks in Indiana history.
Box Set Price for Both Books - $35.00
A Year of Indiana History - Book 1
A Year of Indiana History - Book 2
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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Sample Chapter - Short History of Indiana's Historic Markers - Claude R. Wickard

Sample Chapter
Short History of Indiana's Historic Markers 
Claude R. Wickard
Carroll White REMC, 241 N. Heartland Dr., Delphi (Carroll County, IN) 46923. [South of the Hoosier Heartland (Highway 25) about one mile in the Hoosier Heartland Industrial Park.]
2018 Indiana Historical Bureau, Carroll County Historical Society, Carroll White REMC, and Friends and Family of Claude R. Wickard.
ID#: 08.2018.1
Side One
 Claude R. Wickard
 Agricultural leader Claude Wickard was born on a farm near here, which he maintained throughout his career. He graduated from Purdue University, became a local Farm Bureau leader, and in 1932 was elected to the Indiana Senate. During the 1930s, Wickard advanced through the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, a New Deal agency aimed at creating parity for farmers.
 Side Two
 By 1937, Wickard became a leader within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. After President Franklin Roosevelt appointed him Secretary of Agriculture in 1940, Wickard ensured the agricultural production necessary for Allied victory in WWII. In 1945, he became chief of the Rural Electrification Administration, which increased farmers’ production and standard of living.

Short History by the Author
Claude R. Wickard (February 28, 1893 – April 29, 1967)
The son of Andrew Jackson and Iva Lenora Kirkpatrick Wickard, Claude was native to Campden, Indiana. He enrolled in Purdue University in 1910, however he had to delay his studies when his father became ill in 1911. He completed the planting and returned to Purdue after harvesting the corn. After graduating in 1915 he returned to the family farm. He became associated with the Democratic Party and the New Deal policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Rising to prominence in the party, coupled with his success as a farmer, he gained election to the Indiana Senate in 1932. His progressive farming methods led to his appointment as Undersecretary of Agriculture under Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace. Wallace resigned to run for Vice President in 1940. Wickard became the Secretary of Agriculture after Wallace's resignation. During World War II he headed the War Food Administration and used the position to help farmers aid the war effort with increased food production. In 1945 Wickard gained appointment as the head of the Rural Electrification Administration, a position he held until 1953. He resigned that year to run for the United States Senate. Republican Homer E. Capehart defeated him in the election. Wickard died in an automobile accident on April 29, 1967. He is interred at Maple Lawn Cemetery in Flora, Indiana.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Sample Chapter -Benjamin Parke

Sample Chapter
Benjamin Parke
Indiana's Counties
Parke County in Indiana derives its name from Benjamin Parke.
Benjamin Parke (September 2, 1777 - July 12, 1835) 
A native of New Jersey, Parke's education was scanty as a child. At twenty years old, he moved to Lexington, Kentucky where he studied law with local attorney James Brown. Two years later, in 1799, he moved to Vincennes, Indiana. A supporter of Indiana Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison, he received an appointment as Attorney General of the Indiana Territory. His term, from 1804 through 1808, coincided with his service as Territorial Delegate to Congress from 1805 to 1808. Parke commanded an Indiana Light Dragoons at the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe. Harrison included him on his staff during the War of 1812. During his service, he rose to the rank of colonel. After the war, he attended the state constitutional convention in 1816 as a representative of Knox County. After statehood, Parke represented the United States at the Treaty of St. Mary's in 1818. He also served as the first president of the Indiana Historical Society when it formed on December 11, 1830. President James Monroe appointed him to the United States District Court for the District of Indiana. He held that position until his death in 1835.