From Education to War Gaming: The Craze for Tin Toys in the Long 18th Century

Late 18th century tin figures made by Schweizer

Miniature figures or miniature soldiers in general have been around as talismans or devotional objects for many centuries. However, the ‘modern’ toy soldier – a product explicitly marketed to children to play with – was created in the 18th century in Prussia. The first tin toys were flat, two-dimensional figures. They started as a by-product of the tin-ware production.

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#StayAtHome: Translator for children’s story wanted

Millions of people currently live in a locked-down area. This is an unusual situation for adults – and a very difficult one for kids. To help families with children aged 4-7 coping with shutdown and quarantine, I created an audio version of two children’s stories I wrote some years ago. One was among the winning stories in a writing contest for children’s stories, and was published by Weltbild.

The story “Die Reise nach Al Kalarabia” (10:30 min) is a story about courage, featuring the young camel Ben Abdul. The second story, “Fips im Zauberkäse” is about a mouse that lives in a magic cheese (4:30 min)

However, both stories are written in German. Thus, I am looking for someone fluent in both German and English who would translate and record one of it for free and then share it with families all over the world.

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How to counterfeit tea: a guide for ruthless dealers in the 18th century

Let’s imagine you are a dealer of tea in London during the 18th century. Over the past decades, tea, once the luxury product for the super-rich, has reached the middle and lower classes. It is highly popular. This means a large target group for your product, but also a higher demand that must be met in times of war, trade embargos and economic depression. Tea leaves are expensive and there are heavy duties on it payable to government.
In short: Times are rough, life is hard – it thus seems rather pardonable to find ways to enrich yourself by certain methods one might call imitating tea (‘counterfeit’ is such a harsh word). Nobody will ever find out, and of course, you don’t mean to harm anyone. Plus, you are doing a favour to the lower classes that would not be able to enjoy  nice cup of tea at all if they had to pay the prices for genuine tea. Right?
Now, let’s see how tea was be imitated in the 18th century …

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The year Napoleon shot the goat that ate his plants and other events of 1820

A secret submarine plot, death in the Royal family, and a method to signal extra-terrestrials are events of a year marked by political unrest and economic depression.

After the Napoleonic Wars the economy was still down, and important reforms had been delayed over the wars. The fear of Napoleon’s influence was still tangible, with rumours about his possible escape from St. Helena becoming stronger by the end of the year. Additionally, the monarchy was in a crisis, shaken by death and scandal.

Which political, scientific, social, and literary events and anniversaries are of interest to Regency Enthusiasts in 2020? Have a look at my list of 20 events of 1820 here: Continue reading

Look forward to 2020 with these new books about the Georgian Age

The year 2020 brings anniversaries of iconic persons of the Regency period. We will, e.g., remember the 200th anniversary of the death of the scientist Jospeh Banks and the 250th anniversary of the birth of the poet William Wordsworth. Accordingly, publishers will regale us with new biographies. But there is more to look forward to in 2020. Have a look at the non-fictions books about the Georgian Age already scheduled for 2020:

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Smuggling Moonshine

Brandy, tea, salt – these products are famed-famous as objects of smuggling in the 18th century. Did you know that Scottish whisky was an object of the illegal trade, especially between 1780 – 1823? Whisky was called ‘moonshine’ then, as it was illicitly produced at night in small cottages in the Highlands, and secretly transported by smugglers to harbours for further distribution.

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