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North America’s indigenous peoples designed flat-bottomed sledges for hauling their possessions over fresh and broken snow along narrow trails and across frozen rivers long before European settlers arrived. Voyageurs found them the perfect transport.
MAN VERSUS HORSE
Boredom likely got the best of the New York City gentlemen who in 1837 wagered on the 19th-Century equivalent of a drag race between man and horse down Broadway.
Daniel J. Demers
CREATING A LEGACY
The Ohio home of Don and Gayle Ferguson showcases its owners’ talents—from Don’s cabinetry to Gayle’s floorcloth painting and curtain making. The whole family decorates for the holidays, creating traditions for the next generations.
Dawn C. Adiletta
THE ORIGINS OF DENIM
Although working-class Americans made the fabric for sturdy cotton jackets and trousers their own long before Levi Strauss riveted the pockets of his jeans, it originated in Europe. A textile expert explores the fabric’s murky history and enduring popularity.
Kimberly S. Alexander
OLD DESIGN FOR A NEW HOME
As a child, Gail Reeder developed an appreciation for handcraftsmanship in early homes and their furnishings from her house-builder father. Decades later she put her knowledge to work and designed her Kentucky Cape, filling it with antiques.
TAPE LOOM WEAVING
Before buttons and zippers, colonists fastened their clothing with tapes woven on small, portable looms. Directory artisan Rudy McKinney builds reproductions of 18th-Century tape looms, on which wife Pat learned to weave. As re-enactors, they share the skill at events—and with us.
In the 1700s, a Scottish company invented a new type of ship’s cannon called the carronade. Shorter and lighter than the traditional long gun, it still delivered maximum firepower. At close range, the barrage from carronade fire could be devastating, demonstrated by America—s victory in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie..
Cooks around the world have been making soup—as simple as grain boiled in liquid—for about eight thousand years. As farmers added vegetables and livestock to their harvests, those ingredients found their way into the pot, too. We share traditional recipes to warm your table.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE PHEASANT
Now a favorite game bird sought by hunters, the colorful ring-necked pheasant didn’t arrive in America until the late 1800s, making it an anachronism in period decorating. Early references to pheasants more likely describe the ruffed grouse, a native North American species found in deciduous woodlands.
Colorful stacks of antique firkins and trunks, cupboards filled with coverlets and crocks, and hanging shelves lined with boxes and baskets abound in the Cape-style home Gail Reeder designed and built in Scottsville, Kentucky. Photograph by Winfield Ross.