chained_bear has adopted , looked up 4506 words, created 268 lists, listed 24961 words, written 17613 comments, added 9795 tags, and loved 8 words.

Comments by chained_bear

  • Usage/explanation on gyve.

    October 9, 2017

  • "A fifteenth-century English cookbook gives a recipe for haddock in a sauce known as 'gyve,' which includes cloves, mace, pepper, and 'a grete dele' of cinnamon along with raisins, saffron, sandalwood, and ginger. The same collection also includes a recipe for Pork Tarts in which ground pork is combined with all sorts of spices ... along with eggs, cheese, figs, dates, and then baked in a covered pastry. ... the tarts might be covered with a mixture of saffron and almond milk before baking to give them a golden color (a process called 'endorring')."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 19.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on ambergris.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on ambergris.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on ambergris.

    October 9, 2017

  • "The border between fragrance and drugs was porous and ill-defined. Among the rarest and most expensive spices listed in herbals and merchants' handbooks are perfumed substances used primarily as medicines, things like balsam, an aromatic resin from a plant native to Arabia. Its sap was credited with marvelous healing properties but also with high spiritual powers. Balsam was called for in Christian rites involving anointment, such as baptism, the ordination of priests, and the consecration of bishops. Another Arabian resin, frankincense, was (and remains) the principal ingredient in the censing rituals of the Catholic and Orthodox churches. In keeping with the versatility characteristic of spices, frankincense was also used as a medicine, to scent houses, and to perfume banquets."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 14.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on opium, and you can see also dragon's blood but I think you have to type that phrase into the search bar rather than clicking on the link, which merely brings you to the word page for dragon.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on opium. Of all places.

    October 9, 2017

  • "There were other spices that were predominantly for medical purposes. ... Francesco Pegolotti cites among his spices two kinds of opium and a botanical known as dragon's blood (extracted from the plant genus Dracanea), a medicine and red dye." 

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 13.

    Note the hyperlink above for Dracanea will not bring you to the word's page (but this one will). Neither will dragon's blood, unfortunately, so you can get there through typing it in the search bar or clicking onto my Spice list and finding it there. :(

    October 9, 2017

  • "Then as now, sugar disguised the bitter taste of medicine, but it was also useful as a way of preserving the often volatile ingredients of drugs. Medicines were combined with sugar and by heating and cooling rendered into a variety of textures: gummy, hard, paste-like, soft, or chewy. These sugared preparations, known as 'electuaries,' are the origin of candy and many similar confections combining sugar and spice."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 13.

    October 9, 2017

  • A really gross (at least to me) usage/historical note on momie.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on momie.

    October 9, 2017

  • "Among the strangest of Francesco Pegolotti's spices is momie, also known as mumia and informally in English as mummy."

    You can see where this is going.

    "The fundamental drug handbook known from its first (Latin) words as Circa instans (dating from 1166) defines mummy as 'a kind of spice collected from the tombs of the dead' -- but not just any dead people, only those whose bodies have been specially embalmed. Mummy, which was thought to be effective in stopping bleeding, was an exudation from the head and spine of the corpse resulting from decay combined with the spices used in the preservation process."

    Here is where my stomach started to turn. Moving on...

    "Indeed, Pegolotti notes that mummy should have a foul odor and a pitchlike consistency, or else it's inferior."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 13-14.

    October 9, 2017

  • "A commonly mentioned panacea was 'tutty,' charred scrapings from inside chimneys. According to Francesco Pegolotti, tutty was imported from Alexandria, so obviously a routine European chimney would not suffice. Tutty was considered a spice as it was nonperishable, imported, fragrant (after a fashion), sold in small quantities, and expensive."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 13.

    October 9, 2017

  • A really gross usage note can be found on momie.

    October 9, 2017

  • Not a spice, but on my list because it was considered one in the Middle Ages (as are a number of other non-spice items also on the list). See also comment on electuaries.

    "Beginning with the 18th century, sugar ceased to be considered a drug and changed from a mere food flavoring (what we understand as a spice) to an essential basic ingredient. At the same time, the end of medieval culinary practices meant that sweet dishes were separated from savory ones, so that the last course (dessert) came to be defined as sugary."


    Paul Freedman, <i>Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination</i> (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 13.

    October 9, 2017

  • "Among the new and fashionable spices of the medieval period was what the French called 'grains of paradise],' known more prosaically as malagueta pepper. Like long pepper, this spice is not in fact related to black pepper. ... It was first mentioned in Europe in the 13th century, and the designation 'grains of paradise' seems to be an early example of a commercial marketing and branding campaign."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 12.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on malagueta pepper.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on malagueta pepper.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on Francesco Pegolotti.

    October 9, 2017

  • "The longest such list appears in a commercial manual composed shortly before 1340 by Francesco Pegolotti, a Florentine banker who had experience in Cyprus, a great center for European imports of Eastern spices. Pegolotti's La pratica della mercatura itemizes 288 spices (speziere) amounting to 193 separate substances (many come in several forms: three kinds of ginger, two grades of cinnamon, and so on). For our purposes we can leave aside some of the so-called spices such as alum (used to fix dyes so that the colors won't run) or wax (eleven varieties). Pegolotti included these because he tended to consider any nonperishable imported good as a spice."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 11.

    October 9, 2017

  • "The best impression of what exactly the term 'spices' meant to medieval traders comes from handbooks of how to do business composed by experienced merchants. These compendia of weights and measures, proverbial wisdom, and market lore tend to include lists of spices and advice on how to assess their quality in wholesale transactions."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 10-11.

    See also Francesco Pegolotti.

    October 9, 2017

  • "Mastic, for example, an aromatic resin, is produced by a species of acacia that grows only on the Aegean island of Chios."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 10.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage notes/explanations can be found on, of course, saffron, and on crocus sativus.

    October 9, 2017

  • See comment on crocus sativus. And of course, saffron.

    October 9, 2017

  • "Saffron is an exception to the definition of spices as imported aromatic products, since it grew locally but was nevertheless viewed as exotic and was breathtakingly expensive. The dried stigmata of a variety of crocus (crocus sativus), saffron probably originated in the Middle East (Iran and Kashmir) are the leading growers of saffron now). In the Middle Ages saffron grew throughout the Mediterranean world and was particularly associated with Tuscany, where there were major markets in Pisa and San Gimignano. At the end of the period, the eastern part of Spain started to gain the reputation it continues to hold as the source of the best-quality saffron. Unlike almost all other medieval spices, the saffron crocus was easily adapted to different soils and climates. As the English place name Saffron Walden attests, even northern Europe could produce a crop. ... Saffron was used as it is now in flavoring various dishes, but also as incense, as a coloring agent, and, probably most importantly, for its medicinal applications."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 10.

    See also saffron.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage on long pepper.

    October 9, 2017

  • Many historical notes/usage notes can be found on pepper.

    October 9, 2017

  • Just found this!! Great storage place!

    October 9, 2017

  • "Another spice often called for in medieval recipes is long pepper, which is not in fact related to black pepper. Its dried fruit is extremely pungent, black, and rather large, the size of dry catfood or kibble. Beyond East and South Asia it is now completely unknown, having dropped out of European cuisine by the eighteenth century. Zedoary, another aromatic root related to turmeric, has also vanished outside India, but it was mentioned in medieval European cookbooks and its aroma was thought sufficiently attractive for it to be included among the fragrant plants in the magical garden of love at the opening of the popular allegorical poem The Romance of the Rose."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 11-12.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on mandrake.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage on mandrake. But so much more can be said... *sigh*...

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found on mandrake.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on mandrake.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on mandrake.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage/note on mandrake.

    October 9, 2017

  • "Herbs as well as spices impart flavor and aroma, but herbs were thought of as green and fresh even if they might be dried on occasion. Herbs like parsley, sorrel, or borage were used in both cooking and medicine. Many, such as mandrake, digitalis, or rue, were exclusively or primarily medicinal. Some were gathered in fields and woods, while others were cultivated, but they were above all familiar, literally part of the European landscape.

    "Spices, on the other hand, arrived in dried or semiprocessed form. Until the end of the thirteenth century, when Marco Polo visited India and other parts of southern Asia, Europeans were completely unfamiliar with pepper, nutmeg, or cloves in their botanical form or fresh state. Even ginger and its cousins like galangal and zedoary must have been considerably dried out after a journey that would have taken at least a year. ...

    "Because they were gathered or cultivated locally, herbs did not have great commercial value."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 8.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage note on spices.

    October 9, 2017

  • Usage note on spices. Also this:


    The most esteemed (and staggeringly expensive) medicinal perfumes were four animal products: ambergris (from sperm whales], castoreum (from certain kinds of beavers), musk (from a small Tibetan deer), and civet (from a kind of wild cat). ... Ambergris ... could be found washed up on Indian Ocean beaches (usually in East Africa because of the winds and tides). The connection with whales was dimly and inconsistently understood. Some Arab authorities ... asserted that ambergris came from a fountain at the bottom of the sea or that it was a kind of marine fungus. ... Pharmaceutical manuals, such as <i>Circa instans</i> and its French translation from the 1400s ... were more confident that it was produced by whales. Marco Polo informs his readers on the basis of his knowledge of the Indian Ocean that ambergris comes from whales. ... 

    "Ambergris tends to be gray and surprisingly lightweight in relation to its mass, resembling an aromatic version of pumice. It has a compelling smell that seems to combine perfume, the sea, and some primordial animal scent. It was often confused with amber, another lightweight substance often found on beaches. The word for 'amber' and 'ambergris' is the same in most languages, and our term 'ambergris' comes from the French for 'gray amber.'"

    Paul Freedman, <i>Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination</i> (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 15-16.

    October 9, 2017

  • "Spices in the Middle Ages were marks of status and success, but they occupy this position no longer, and have not for several centuries. Serving a highly spiced meal in Europe today might show cooking skills or a willingness to try out risky dishes, but the spices themselves confer no particular social distinction. ... Some of the magic of spices was the intrinsic appeal of fragrances and the pleasurable flavor sensations they offered. The desire for spices was additionally stimulated by external factors, by their rarity. Even if spices were readily available, for a price ... they were seen as rare because they came from far away and their origins were mysterious. Above all, they were expensive, ranging from merely costly (pepper) to the fabulously expensive (ambergris and aloe wood)."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 7-8.

    October 9, 2017

  • "However much moralists and advocates of simple and sensible living complain, the flaunting of fashionable and expensive goods is a constant social fact. What changes is the nature of such goods. What provides status and pleasure in one historical period may not carry over into the next. True, there are some enduring forms of prestige objects, such as fine clothing or jewelry, that mark class distinction even when specific fashions change: there has never been a time when rubies weren't precious. Most goods, however, rise and fall in perceived social value. ... Hot chocolate was all the rage in the eighteenth century and has left souvenirs of importance in fine porcelain collections, but elegance in the world of chocolate has moved to exclusive or artisanal candies, while the beverage is not mostly just for children."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 7.

    This last line makes me unutterably sad. I want to go drink some killer hot chocolate right now.

    October 9, 2017

  • "The attraction of the East as both exotic and sacred is apparent in a story told by Thomas of Cantimpre, a thirteenth-century encyclopedist who also wrote biographies of saintly contemporaries. He describes an unusually austere bishop who received a magnificent silver cup filled with nutmegs. The bishop sent back the silver goblet, but he made an exception to his rule of refusing gifts and accepted the nutmets, saying that he did so because they were 'the fruit of the Orient.'"

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 5.

    October 9, 2017

  • "This simple explanation for the popularity of spices doesn't work--it had nothing to do with the perishability of meat. A truer account involves the prestige and versatility of spices, their social and religious overtones, and their mysterious yet attractive origins. Versatility is especially significant because ... spices were not used just for cooking. They were regarded as drugs and as disease preventatives in a society so often visited by ghastly epidemics. Spices were considered not only cures but healthful in promoting the body's equilibrium. ... they were not only medicinal but luxurious and beautiful. Spices soothed and cheered, creating a refined environment of taste and comfort."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 4-5.

    October 9, 2017

  • Another spice citation on drug.

    October 9, 2017

  • "The most popular explanation for the love of spices in the Middle Ages is that they were used to preserve meat from spoiling, or to cover up the taste of meat that had already gone off. This compelling but false idea constitutes something of an urban legend, a story so instinctively attractive that mere fact seems unable to wipe it out. Actually, spices don't do much to preserve meat compared with salting, smoking, pickling, or air curing. The bad taste of spoiled meat, in any event, won't be substantially allayed by spices, or anything else. ...

    Spices were very expensive, and meat was relatively cheap. ... an entire pig could be had for the price of a pound of the cheapest spice, pepper. ... Given the cost, trying to improve dubious meat with cloves or nutmeg would have been perverse, something like slicing Italian white truffles (currently upward of 800 dollars per pound) to liven up the taste of a fast-food cheeseburger."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 3, 4.

    October 9, 2017

  • "The desire for spices, however, was already waning before European colonial expansion reached its zenith. By the 18th century, European food preferences had dramatically changed in favor of a richer but blander taste, and spices were no longer associated with healing or the sacred. The spice trade became unimportant.... In the summer of 2004, Hurricane Frances destroyed the nutmeg crop of Granada, the largest producer of this spice, yet the world financial system did not tremble. In fact, it took no notice whatsoever. A once great commodity is now a mere flavoring. Timothy Morton put it cogently in his book The Poetics of Spice: 'Yesterday's banquet ingredient becomes today's Dunkin' Donuts apple-cinnamon item.'"

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 3.

    October 9, 2017

  • "Black, the ultimate noncolor, has supplanted red as the color of power."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 259.

    October 6, 2017

  • "This passion for color did not surprise the African American scholar W. E. B. DuBois. 'All through the life of colored people and of their children the world makes repeated efforts to surround them with ugliness,' he wrote in 1924. 'Is it a wonder that they flame in their clothing? That they desire to fill their starved souls with overuse of silk and color?' It was true, he admitted, that they 'may fail in their object or overdo it ... but I do say that New England old maids dressed like formless frumps in dun and drab garments, have no right utterly to suppress and insult these children of the sun."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 252.

    See also comments on colorless, colored, snazzy, and Carmen.

    October 6, 2017

  • "In 1857, a French handbook connected red and race in even more explicit fashion, stating that 'women with jet-black hair and very dark skin should not wear red clothing (Oh shut your face. --Ed.), because this color darkens their complexions even more and makes them look like mulatresses." In succeeding decades, as factories churned out ever-increasing amounts of synthetic dye, the racialization of bright colors only gathered pace."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 251.

    See also comments on colorless, colored, snazzy, and Carmen.

    October 6, 2017

  • "One of the earliest works to specifically link bright clothing and race was Prosper Merimee's 1845 novella Carmen, which later became the basis for Georges Bizet's opera. Carmen's very name is nearly synonymous with the French word for the color that cochineal produces (carmine), and from the start it is clear that she is a Gypsy--which to most Europeans of the time meant that she belonged to a separate, darker, and lesser race. ('Their complexion is very swarthy,' Merimee explained in an afterword to the book. 'Hence the name of cale (blacks) which they so often call themselves. ... One can only compare their expression to that of a wild animal.') Wild, clever, and passionate, Carmen wears red--in scandalous fashion. ... Her mode of dress shocks Don Jose ... The short red skirt also made a tremendous impression on Merimee's readers, including Bizet, who insisted that the Carmen in his opera be clothed exactly as Merimee had described."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 251.

    See also comments on colorless, snazzycolored, and mulatress.

    October 6, 2017

  • "In North America, some of the most enthusiastic customers for the new colors were immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, who had started to arrive in the United States in huge numbers just as synthetic dyes became widely available. Many eagerly bought brightly dyed dresses and other clothing, often because it had been associated with high status in their homelands. This affinity, especially on the part of Jewish immigrants, did not escape notice from journalists, who sometimes criticized and sometimes rhapsodized about what, according to them, was a 'racial love' for color.

    "In both Europe and North America, vivid colors also became associated with people of African and Asian descent, and with indigenous peoples on many continents. It is possible that linguistics may in part account for this: In English, for example, the adjective colored had been a racial term for nonwhite people from the early 1600s, and the terms Red Indian and yellow race date back at least to the early 1800s. But despite the existence of these terms, it seems that Europeans associated bright colors--especially in clothing--far more with wealthy whites than with any other group until the mid-nineteenth-century. Only then, as cochineal and other bright dyes became ever cheaper, did vivid clothing, especially in red, acquire other racial connotations."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 250-251.

    See also colorless, Carmen, and snazzy.

    October 6, 2017

  • "If the working poor had a thirst for scarlet, so too did other people who had previously been barred, either by dictate or by cost, from wearing such brilliant colors. This was true not only in Europe and America, but in regions far beyond them, such as early-twentieth-century Turkistan, where government soldiers longed to replace their standard-issue blue trousers with brilliant red uniforms, which they associated with military glory. A young pretender to the throne, learning of their desire raided state storerooms for red cloth and fashioned it into snazzy red trousers. When he distributed the trousers to the troops, he won their loyalty then and there."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 250.

    See also colorless.

    October 6, 2017

  • "Significantly, the English word colorless, which had until then only been a synonym for pale, took on a new and less flattering meaning during this period: it became a derogatory adjective describing a person or object 'without distinctive character, vividness, or picturesqueness.'"

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 249.

    (Time period is the 1850s-1860s.)

    See also snazzycolored, and Carmen.

    October 6, 2017

  • "In the 1960s, when the craft of natural dyeing had almost vanished from Oaxaca, a few artisans like Isaac Vasquez, a Zapotec weaver from the small town of Teotitlan del Valle, sought to revive the old techniques. Coloring wool with cochineal, Tehuantepec indigo, and dyes derived from lichens, the acacia tree, and other natural sources, Vasquez became famous for his textiles...."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 246.

    October 6, 2017

  • "Sold free of bug parts, in liquid or powdered form, cochineal appears on European labels as additive E120, and elsewhere as cochineal extract, carmine, carminic acid, or simply as 'coloring added.'"

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 244.

    October 6, 2017

  • Note on salmonella.

    October 6, 2017

  • Note on salmonella.

    October 6, 2017

  • Note on salmonella.

    October 6, 2017

  • "By the late 1960s, however, Mexico had hopes of a much greater cochineal revival. Demand for the dyestuff was growing in North America and Europe, as a consequence of the wider vogue for natural foods. Even a New York City outbreak of salmonella that was eventually traced to contaminated cochineal from Peru did not dampen enthusiasm for the dyestuff, in part because synthetic dyes were increasingly being linked with a more dreaded disease: cancer. ...

    In the early 1970s, public fears reached fever pitch when Russian research indicated that one of these dyes--known as amaranth or Red No. 2 in the United States, and as E123 in Europe--was a carcinogen. ... The United States Food and Drug Administration banned its use in foods, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics in 1976."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 243.

    October 6, 2017

  • Historical/usage note on poison gas.

    October 6, 2017

  • "... the Allied nations were almost wholly dependent on Germany for dyes. When the war (WWI) began, their textile industries were thrown into crisis. Homegrown dyes were in short supply, and many proved streaky and unreliable--which did nothing for Allied morale. But worse was to come, for dominance in the dye trade also allowed Germany to make rapid progress in manufacturing poison gas. ...

    "After Ypres, the Allied armies made every effort to catch up with the Germans, and soon they, too, were producing and deploying poison gas on the battlefields of Europe. But Germany's prewar dominance in the dye industry gave it a head start in the production of the toxic compounds. Dye companies like Bayer, Hoechst, and Badische became the kaiser's war machines, churning out poison gas by the ton. They also produced another kind of war materiel closely related to chemicals used in the dye industry: explosives."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 239.

    October 6, 2017

  • Note on Lyons blue.

    October 6, 2017

  • Note on Lyons blue.

    October 6, 2017

  • "Envying Perkin's wild success, other chemists strove to imitate him. The colors they created--including Lyons blue, Britannia violet, and iodine green--all found enthusiastic buyers."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 227.

    October 6, 2017

  • "While most consumers quickly switched to textiles made with synthetic dyes, a small but faithful crowd continued to insist on fabrics made with old-fashioned dyestuffs like cochineal. For some, the preference was a matter of state dictate: in 1903, the government of Persia, wishing to safeguard the traditional craft and high quality of Persian carpets forbade the importation and use of chemical dyes."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 232.

    October 6, 2017

  • See note on eosine.

    October 6, 2017

  • See note on eosine.

    October 6, 2017

  • "After alizarin, a new red dye entered production every year or two. Eosine, roccelline, and other synthetic reds were followed in 1878 by Biebrich scarlet, a German dye that was a near-perfect cochineal match when applied to wool. As new red dyes continued to appear--each one seemingly better, richer, cheaper than the last--the bottom dropped out of the cochineal market."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 231.

    October 6, 2017

  • "Overproduction on such a grand scale had repercussions of its own. But it was only in the mid-1870s, when a new generation of synthetic reds reached the market, that cochineal producers were at last driven to the wall.

    "The first of these new red dyes was synthetic alizarin, an exact chemical replica of the active ingredient in the red dyestuff known as madder. The discovery, made simultaneously by Perkin and by chemists working for the German dye firm BASF in 1869, took a few years to reach the market, but when it did it took Europe by storm. Purer, brighter, and less costly than natural madder, synthetic alizarin was the first artificial red dye that was very light- and water-fast."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 230.


    See also note on eosine.

    October 6, 2017

  • "In 1859, French chemists created fuchsine, a crimson dye that some christened solferino or magenta, in celebration of the bloody defeat of the Austrian army by Garibaldi's republican forces in Italy."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 228.

    October 6, 2017

  • Usage notes can be found in comments on solferino and fuchsine.

    October 6, 2017

  • Usage on solferino.

    October 6, 2017

  • "Like mauve, the new color was worn by Empress Eugenie and became extremely popular; her solferino cashmere petticoat and matching 'Garibaldi' blouse were considered quite dashing. Perkin, too, created his own magenta dye, as well as a new color called vermillionette."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 228.


    Another note on fuchsine.

    October 6, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on Canary Islands.

    October 6, 2017

  • "The turning point came in 1853, when the fungus Uncinula necator destroyed the islands' grapevines. No longer able to produce wine, the islanders turned to cochineal as if to a lifeline. By 1855, annual cochineal exports from the Canaries reached one million pounds."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 216.

    Also, on p. 244:


    "Since the modern-day cochineal boom began, Mexico has seen a mild resurgence in cochineal production, but so far those hoping for a full-scale revival of the industry there have been disappointed. ... Today the Canary Islands, Bolivia, Chile, South Africa, and several other countries are all cochineal exporters. The chief beneficiary of the cochineal boom, however, is Peru."

    October 6, 2017

  • Note on biopirate.

    October 6, 2017

  • See biopirate.

    October 6, 2017

  • "What drove him to particular fury was the suggestion that he had 'stolen' his cochineal from Spain. Even though Thiery was indisputably what we today would call a biopirate (Would we? --Ed.), he maintained that he had behaved justly toward the people of Mexico. Far from stealing anything, he insisted, he had paid Oaxacan farmers very generously for every nopal and insect he had taken. When Spaniards and other enemies continued to call him a thief, he was outraged."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 181.

    Also, it would be hard to label Thiery with that tag if we aren't going to label, for example, Sir Joseph Banks with the same word.

    "Having heard that nopals and cochineal grew wild in Brazil, he instructed Commodore Arthur Phillip, the commander of Australia's first fleet, to stop there before continuing on to Botany Bay. (Banks was aware that wild cochineal and cultivated cochineal were not exactly the same insect, but he did not fully comprehend the extent of the difference.) In Rio de Janeiro, Phillip collected samples of the plant and the insect, which he ferried to Australia along with 'Eight Hundred convicts two Hundred of whom are women.'

    "The fate of Phillip's nopal and cochineal samples are a good illustration of the perils of imperial botany--perils that were not well understood at that time. Introduced into a new environment, exotic species can produce erratic and unpredictable results. Sometimes they perish altogether; sometimes they proliferate wildly. In the case of Banks's Australian experiment, the wild cochineal soon died off, but the nopals thrived, becoming the first of several related opuntia species that eventually overran nearly 100,000 square miles of eastern Australia, rendering the land useless for farming or grazing. Only in the 1920s, with the deliberate introduction of yet another exotic species, the South American moth Cactoblastis cactorum, whose larvae fed on the cactus, were the opuntias finally brought under control.* (The moth itself has since become a pest elsewhere....)

    *In South Africa, where introduced opuntias also became invasive, cochineal itself--a wild species called Dactylopius opuntiae--proved the most effective means of biological control."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 188.

    October 6, 2017

  • "Though intended as a cloak for his true purpose, these investigations nevertheless led to a fortuitous discovery. For years, Veracruzanos had been importing the roots of the jalap plant--a strong purgative related to the morning glory--at great expense from the city of Jalapa, over fifty miles distant. To the great relief of both their bowels and their purses, Thiery was able to show them that the plant grew locally. 'A discovery like this rendered me famous throughout the city,' Thiery wrote. 'I was looked upon as a most extraordinary character.'"

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 175.

    October 6, 2017

  • An interesting historical note about a bad translation involving the butterfly can be found on Dahua Yitz.

    October 6, 2017

  • Usage note re: Mixtec language can be found on Dahua Yitz.

    October 6, 2017

  • "There were, of course, many questions about cochineal biology... Chief among them was the subject of cochineal procreation.... Unfortunately, the only Oaxacan witness who addressed the issue was the corregidor, who reported that when (the cochineal) grow large, a small Butterfly passes and re-passes over them"; the corregidor added that the Indians believed this "butterfly" was responsible for cochineal conception. Both he and Ruusscher were somewhat skeptical of this theory. To them, it seemed natural that like should breed with like. How, then, could a butterfly breed with a cochineal?

    "The word butterfly, however, appears to have merely been a bad Spanish translation. A 1777 document states that the local Mixtec term for the same insect was Dahua Yitz which means 'flying husband.' Evidently, Indian growers were well acquainted with the truth: male cochineal was a flying insect, which traveled from cactus to cactus copulating with females."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 163.

    October 6, 2017

  • Previously unknown to me except as the name of the island in the Pacific. So here's a usage:

    "Upon receiving the letter, the region's highest Crown authority, Don Juan Bautista Fortuno, the corregidor, agreed to testify in the case."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 160.

    October 6, 2017

  • "Gambling is an activity as old as time, but rarely has it exercised such a hold on a culture as it did on Enlightenment Europe. ... In France, where Versailles itself was known as ce tripot (the gambling den), noblewomen hazarded millions at the card table each night."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 157.

    October 6, 2017

  • "In subsequent experiments, Newton noted that if the rainbow was then passed through a second prism, rotated through an angle of 180 degrees, it became pure 'white' light again. Newton concluded that 'white' light was nothing more than, as he put it, 'a heterogeneous mixture of differently refrangible rays.' That is to say, 'white' light was composed of all colors."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 152.

    October 6, 2017

  • "Not until the 1660s did Isaac Newton, the brilliant son of an illiterate Lincolnshire farmer, begin to work out the true relationship between light and color."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 151, see also following pages.

    What I'd like to know is, why do people question whether William Shakespeare's works were truly written by William Shakespeare, and not question whether Isaac Newton's works were really written by Isaac Newton? The argument that Shakespeare, given his upbringing and education, could not possibly have come up with anything so brilliant as his own plays, is so elitist and ignorant about human capability as to be maddening, while there's no such--at least not as widely publicized--questioning of how Isaac Newton could have been a genius given *his* upbringing. I actually stopped reading this book and sat there stewing on this for several minutes. Unfortunately I don't even want to perform the most cursory of searches, lest I find that some of my fellow humans really are the kind of creatures who would go looking for proof that a person can't rise above the circumstances of their birth and early years.

    Anyway. Newton and color! Here's more:

    "Having revolutionized the study of colored light, Newton turned his attention to colored objects. ... He hypothesized that the color of an object depended on the selective absorption and reflection of different parts of the spectrum; that is, an object that absorbed orange light but rejected blue light would appear blue to our eyes. This hypothesis was advanced for its time, but it was only partially correct, and Newton's physical explanation for why such differential absorption and reflection might occur was completely off base.

    "Not until the nineteenth century did scientist begin to grasp how a range of light effects--such as diffraction, interference, reflection, and dispersive refraction--might combine to create color in objects, and only in relatively modern times have scientists come to understand many of the complicated chemical and atomic factors behind such phenomena. A green leaf, for example, is green because it produces chlorophyll, the molecular structure of which absorbs incoming red and violet rays and reflects the green ones. Many green birds, however, have only yellow pigments in their feathers; we see them as green because the feathers' physical structure produces light effects called thin layer interference and scattering, which adds blue to the yellow."

    (Same book, p. 152)

    October 6, 2017

  • "Most microscopists, including Leeuwenhoek, preferred to examine a wide range of life-forms, but Jan Swammerdam devoted much of his life to studying a single class of animals, the insects. At the time, insects were a somewhat ill-defined zoological category, many of whose members were thought to be characterized by a predisposition to spontaneous generation; in the 1600s, the term insect encompassed not only flies, grasshoppers, and beetles but also many other creatures, including worms, slugs, frogs--and, for some scientists, crocodiles. A precise and careful microscopist, Swammerdam helped separate such myths and misconceptions from fact.

    "Swammerdam's precision is evident in his description of cochineal, which he wrote sometime before 1680. After careful examination, he compared cochineal to the larvae of bees; he also saw the vestiges of legs on their bodies. He did not, however, communicate these findings to the wider world. Haunted by depression, Swammerdam was ill at ease with most people; he was also a perfectionist. Rather than write them frequent letters about his results, he saved almost everything--including his observations about cochineal--for his magnum opus, Biblia naturae. Unfortunately, Swammerdam died of malaria before the book could be published. Subsequent lawsuits and other misadventures prevented the Biblia naturae from reaching the public for nearly sixty years, by which time many of its revelations were common knowledge among scientists."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 148-149.

    October 6, 2017

  • Interesting note in comment on microscope.

    October 6, 2017

  • See also a historical note in the comments for microscope. And if you dig this kind of thing, check out Jan Swammerdam too.

    October 6, 2017

  • "There can be no doubt, however, that Leeuwenhoek was a master when it came to the microscope. No one knows why he took an interest in the invention, but he may have begun by experimenting with the weak magnifying glasses that drapers commonly used to detect flaws in fabric. In a surprisingly short time Leeuwenhoek became an expert lens grinder and glass-blower. Although he built only single-lens microscopes, they were superior to all others of the period, including the compound ones that used several lenses to boost their viewing power. ... For clarity and power, it soon became evident that Leeuwenhoek's microscopes could not be equaled. One Leeuwenhoek lens, now held by the University of Utrecht Museum, was capable of portraying structures only 0.00075 millimeters thick--a feat not equaled until the 19th century.

    "Fearing that he would lose his tenuous place in the scientific world if he revealed his secrets, Leeuwenhoek refused to share his methods of magnification with anyone; to this day, we do not fully understand his techniques. His observations, however, were a different matter; he shared them with any number of friends and colleagues."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 145.


    See also another note on Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.

    October 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on scarlet. Another on alizarin.

    October 5, 2017

  • "The Kufflers went to great lengths to keep Drebbel's technique secret, but dyers everywhere were curious about how the bright scarlet cloth was made. Eventually, the most dedicated dyers figured out that tin was the key ingredient; indeed, a few dyers may have discovered how to make the new scarlet--either independently or through espionage--while Drebbel was still alive. By the 1660s, top dyers across Europe were using tin and cochineal in various formulations to produce the sought-after dye.

    Known as Bow-dye, Dutch scarlet, and Kuffler's color, Drebbel's dye took fashionable Europe by storm. ... the various recipes yielded a range of luminous scarlets, from a deep cherry red to an eye-popping neon color."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 140.

    See also Cornelis Drebbel and aqua regia.

    October 5, 2017

  • See Bow-dye.

    October 5, 2017

  • See Bow-dye.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Aqua regia is a dangerous chemical that must be treated with great caution; would Drebbel really have left it in so precarious a position by his window? Is it possible, instead, that Drebbel was deliberately experimenting with cochineal--as an alchemist?

    Tin and aqua regia were commonly used in alchemy. Moreover ... the philosopher's stone--which transmuted base metals into gold and bestowed immortal life, wisdom, and salvation on its maker--was actually a red powder or liquid. ... Consequently, alchemists like Drebbel were greatly interested in red dyes."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 139.

    More info on Cornelis Drebbel.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Born around 1572 in Alkmaar, North Holland, Cornelis Drebbel was a colorful character in more ways than one. An inventor, he built a 'perpetual-motion' machine that became the sensation of early-seventeenth-century Europe. Later he built the first submarine. To the great amazement of Londoners who crowded the riverbanks to watch, the leather-covered boat carried a dozen oarsmen and traveled under hte Thames for three hours; apparently Drebbel generated an oxygen supply for the crew by burning saltpeter--another first. The Dutch diplomat and amateur scientist Constantijn Huygens the Elder wrote admiringly of Drebbel's 'remarkable mechanical instruments.' To Robert Boyle, he was 'that deservedly famous Mechanician and Chymist,' to Baron von Leibniz, 'le fameux Drebbel.' ...

    True to form, Drebbel left no personal record of his experiments with cochineal, so no one knows exactly how he stumbled onto one of the dyestuff's unusual characteristics: its great affinity for tin."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 136 and 138.

    October 5, 2017

  • Interesting story in a comment on Cornelis Drebbel.

    October 5, 2017

  • See correct spelling, Cornelis Drebbel.

    October 5, 2017

  • "The works of Pliny and other classical writers had a great deal to say about red dyestuffs in general, particularly the rich red dyestuff they called grain, and Europeans saw no reason why their comments would not apply to the Mexican dyestuff as well. After all, the merchants of Seville and the dyers of Venice had declared that grain and cochineal were virtually identical. ...

    "According to some classical authorities, grain came from animals. According to others, it was derived from plants. ... Sometimes they described grain as a seed or berry, sometimes as a worm or snail. Indeed Pliny seemed to believe that at least one type of grain might somehow be both things: a berry that turned into a worm, which he called a 'wormberry'--a concept that struck most Renaissance Europeans as entirely plausible. Like the ancients, they believed that mud could spontaneously generate worms, and that rotten meat could produce flies. It was therefore no great leap to believe that a berry could turn into a worm, and vice versa."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 126-127.

    See also vermilion.

    October 5, 2017

  • Historical note can be found in comment on Sea Beggars.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Only the Dutch were a force to be reckoned with. Having secured their country's independence from Spain, they attacked their former overlords on the high seas throughout much of the seventeenth century. In 1628, they even managed to capture Spain's entire Veracruz fleet, off the coast of Cuba, which was undoubtedly laden with a large amount of cochineal. ...

    "Yet even the Sea-Beggars were not able to obtain all the cochineal their countrymen needed. During much of the 1620s and 1630s, the dyestuff was so scarce that only high masters like Rembrandt could afford to use brilliant cochineal lakes in their art. Most painters were forced to make do with cheaper and more somber reds. Nor was cochineal the only substance missing from Dutch palettes; the struggle with Spain, and consequent trading difficulties, had also made indigo, logwood, and other exotic dyestuffs extremely expensive. It may have been for this reason that Dutch artists, once renowned for their rich and vivid flower paintings, now began to paint in monochrome. A gray seascape, a still life of pale cheeses, a banquet painted entirely in brown--their art was devoid of all but the blandest colors."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 122.

    October 5, 2017

  • "To protect their dyestuff, Spaniards were forced to adopt new methods for shipping it overseas. Merchants divided their cases of cochineal among several vessels, in order to increase the odds that at least part of their cargo would make it all the way to Seville. Spanish authorities also allowed them to make use of the navios de aviso, the swift messenger ships that crossed the Atlantic at irregular intervals, which were ordinarily prohibited from carrying cargo.

    Even so, Spain was reeling from the effects of the English onslaught by 1590."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 117.

    October 5, 2017

  • cochineal

    "Pirats which doe know

    That there come weak ships fraught with Cutchannel,

    The men board them."

    --John Donne

    See historical note/usage in comment on pirates.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Yet if royal edicts, Spanish vigilance, and cochineal biology combined to make it almost impossible for foreigners to steal cochineal from Mexico, the fact remained that at some point the processed dyestuff had to be shipped across the Atlantic to Seville. Even the most experienced Spanish captains regarded this voyage with some trepidation, for they knew that their enemies might attack at any moment--'Pirats,' as the poet-adventurer John Donne described them, 'which doe know/That there come weak ships fraught with Cutchannel,/The men board them.'"

    Bold and cunning, these pirates were determined to smash the Spanish monopoly and seize the transatlantic cochineal trade for themselves."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 109.

    See also comment on Sea Beggars.

    October 5, 2017

  • "As cochineal became increasingly important to royal finances, Crown officials became more aggressive. In September 1572, Viceroy Enriquez made all processing methods except sun-drying illegal. A month later, he created a new Crown position, the juez de grana, 'the judge of cochineal.'" Charged with enforcing a new and more rigorous system of inspection, the judge was based in Puebla, which at the time was New Spain's most important cochineal entrepot."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 105.

    October 5, 2017

  • One of the grades of commercial cochineal in the sixteenth century. See comment on jaspeada.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Jaspeada (marbled) cochineal was baked; negra (black) was killed on a hot plate; denegrida (lightened) was boiled in steaming cauldrons. Other types of cochineal were dispatched with vinegar, smoke, or sulfur fumes. The relative value of the cochineal these methods produced was anyone's guess."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 105.

    See also juez de grana.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Officials also found it difficult to detect many common frauds, in part because there was legitimate debate about the proper way to kill and dry the cochineal insects. Most people agreed that the best method was to expose them to continuous sunlight; the resulting dyestuff, known as plateada or blanca for its powdery silver surface, was widely considered the top grade of cochineal. But since sun-drying, done property, could take up to two weeks, many producers experimented with cheaper techniques...."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 105.

    See also jaspeada.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note (and great story) in comment on cabildo. As a footnote to that comment:

    "Made by Mexicans since ancient times, pulque is an alcoholic beverage derived from the sap of the maguey plant."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 95 footnote.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Cochineal's indigenous producers also found the business profitable--too profitable, in the opinion of the Tlaxcalan cabildo, the council of elite Indians that oversaw daily life in the province. Concerned that the very success of the trade was leading to social disorder, the council prohibited the cultivation of cochineal in 1552. Evidently the measure failed, for nine months later, in March 1553, the council devoted an entire meeting to the cochineal problem. ...

    Like most elite Tlaxcalans, they were fervent Catholic converts, and they noted with dismay that cochineal growers 'devote themselves to their cochineal on Sundays and holy days; no longer do they go to church to hear mass as the holy church commands us.' Even worse, 'they buy pulque and then get drunk. ...

    What bothered the council most, however, was that the Tlaxcalan cochineal growers no longer showed proper deference to their betters. In the best tradition of nouveaux riches everywhere, the cochineal farmers were growing uppity."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 95.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on alcabala.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note on alcabala.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Royal taxes--including the alcabala (a sales tax), the averia (a tax that paid for Philip's fleet system), and the almojarifazgo (a duty on imports and exports)--amounted to as much as 25 percent of cochineal's import value, and the Crown collected additional sales taxes each time the dyestuff was resold in Spain."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 90.

    October 5, 2017

  • "In Latin--the indispensable language of Renaissance medical professionals--the word pigmentum signified both a pigment and a drug, and many substances were employed in both fashions, including various types of kermes reds."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 83.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Another aesthetic practice that Europeans had in common with the ancient Mexicans was the use of cochineal as an artists' pigment. In Europe, cochineal was usually used as an ingredient for crimson lake--lake being the general term for any pigment made by attaching colorless inorganic compounds to translucent dyes, enabling the dyes to be used in painting.

    Red lakes were also made with madder, lac, and various types of kermes. Only recently have museum conservationists discovered reliable ways of distinguishing which dyestuff was used in a given work of art. Although many paintings have yet to be tested, and others have produced equivocal results, early analysis indicates that cochineal was much more slowly adopted by painters than by dyers. Largely ignored for several decades, cochineal lakes finally came into their own in the late 1500s and 1600s, finding a place on the palettes of masters like Tintoretto, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Dyck. ...

    To make cochineal lakes, painters sometimes started with shearings from cochineal-dyed textiles, then boiled them in lye and added alum to extract the red coloring. ...

    Cochineal paints were not nearly as durable as cochineal textile dyes. When made with a sufficient proportion of dye to fixative medium, cochineal lakes were fairly fast in oil paintings, but like all lakes they had a tendency to fade with exposure to light."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 81-82, 82-83.

    October 5, 2017

  • See comment on uchimillia.

    October 5, 2017

  • See comment on uchimillia.

    October 5, 2017

  • "In February 1543, an enterprising silk merchant and a distinguished citizen presented three samples of cochineal to the Venetian silk guild. Each sample had a different name--uchimillia, cochimeia, and panucho--possibly indicating slight variations in the place of origin. It was also true, however, that in 1543 cochineal was too new a commodity in Europe to have a settled name. Only later in the century would the term for the dyestuff be firmly established as grana cochinilla, or cochineal.*

    * The exact origins of the term cochinilla remain a mystery. One 16th-century Spaniard suggested that it was derived from the Latin word coccus, meaning 'scarlet dye'; other scholars have speculated that it comes from the Latin coccineus, meaning 'scarlet-colored.' In Spanish, cochinilla literally means 'little pig,' and the term is applied not only to cochineal itself but to a crustacean that cochineal resembles, the woodlouse."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 74.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Desperate to prevent a mutiny, he (Cortes) granted them something they wanted almost as much as gold and treasure: rights to the labor and tribute of the people they had conquered.

    "The conquistadors called these grants encomiendas, a term rooted in the Reconquista, Catholic Castile's medieval struggle against Moorish Spain. During this centuries-long crusade--which finally ended in Castile's victory over Muslim Granada in 1492, mere months before Columbus set sail for America--it became common practice for Castilian knights to receive temporary jurisdiction over the people who lived in the villages they had captured from the Moors. Patterned after this medieval encomienda system, Cortes's grants were eventually awarded to about half the conquistadors who survived the battle for Tenochtitlan, with the greatest number going to those men who had been with Cortes since the first days of the Conquest.

    "In Mexico, as in Spain, the men who held encomiendas were called encomenderos...."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 55.

    "Though long accepted in Spain, the system as practiced in the Americas was already under serious attack by the time Cortes introduced it to Mexico in 1522. Leading the charge were Dominican clerics, who had recently convinced (Emperor) Charles V and his advisers that <i>encomienda</i> grants were archaic, ill conceived, and immoral. ... 

    "In Spain, <i>encomenderos</i> who abused their power could be brought to heel by the Crown, but in the faraway American islands no such limits applied. Far from the king's reach and crazy for gold, <i>encomenderos</i> forced the islands' native people to leave their families and search for the precious metals in rivers and streams. Others repeatedly tortured, starved, and raped the people in their charge, turning the sunny Caribbean into a charnel.


    "'Tell me, by what right of justice to you keep these Indians in such a cruel and horrible servitude?' an appalled Dominican priest asked his Hispaniola parishioners in 1511... but the <i>encomenderos</I> ignored it."

    (p. 57-58)

    October 5, 2017

  • Another usage/historical note re: the production of cochineal can be found in comment on tlapalli.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on tlapalli.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on tlapalli.


    "In the early 1540s, Toribio de Venavente, a Franciscan friar also known as Motolinia, was aware that Tlaxcala produced 'very good cochineal,' and he spoke enough Nahuatl to apply the term <i>nocheztli</i> to the dyestuff."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 129.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Like other ancient Mexicans, the Aztecs prized bright colors, and for them red held special allure. Indeed, one of their words for red (tlapalli) was also the word for color in general. ... Although they had several red dyestuffs at their disposal--including weak forms of madder and another plant called achiote, or anatto--cochineal produced the most vibrant colors and was valued above all others.

    "The Aztecs called cochineal nocheztli, or 'blood of the nopal'--a significant name, for the nopal cactus was central to Aztec identity and culture. They collected staggering amounts of the dyestuff as tribute from the chief centers of production."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 40.

    October 5, 2017

  • "After harvesting (of cochineal), the insects were spread onto mats and dried in the sun for four or five days. To hurry the process along, farmers could placed the insects in ovens or heat them in steam baths called temazcalli. In each case, the cochineal shriveled up and died, losing a third of its weight in the process. It took as many as 70,000 dried insects--and sometimes more--to make one pound of dye."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 39.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Before it (harvest) began, a white turkey was sacrificed to appease Coqueela, the god in charge of cochineal. Then laborers took up sticks, quills, and brooms and flicked the female insects into a widemouthed bowl made of wood or clay. Perhaps because of concerns about rot and other infections, it was considered bad form to touch either the cochineal or the cactus directly with one's hand."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 38-39.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note in comment on nopalry. Additionally...


    "Many European nations had successfully obtained the insect's favorite food, the opuntia, and by 1600 the cactus grew wild in Spain and flourished in botanical gardens in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and England. But the cochineal insect itself was a different matter."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, <i>A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire</i> (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 167.

    October 5, 2017

  • Better known as cochineal.

    October 5, 2017

  • The preferred plant host of the insect Dactylopius coccus, a/k/a cochineal. Usage/historical note/more info can be found on nopalry.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Animal domestication was not a common phenomenon in ancient Mexico--primarily, it seems, because there were not many species in America suited to that kind of development. Mexicans did, however, show great skill in cultivating insects, including not only cochineal but another form of scale known as Llaveia, which produced a wax used in cosmetics, medicines, and the creation of pre-Columbian lacquer. They also seem to have worked closely with an American honeybee, with butterflies, and with various edible insects.

    "Of all these ventures, the cochineal regimen produced the most dramatic and far-reaching results. Over the centuries, the ancient Mexicans' efforts paid off: under their care, a new species of cochineal flourished, a species now known to scientists as Dactylopius coccus. The new insect was twice the size of the wild varieties and produced considerably more dye; it may also have yielded a slightly more vibrant red. There was, however, a trade-off. Unlike wild cochineal, whose cottonlike nest allowed it to survive freezing temperatures and altitudes over 8,000 feet, the domesticated insect had only a thin coat of powdery wax on its back, leaving it extremely vulnerable to the elements. When exposed to frost or to a sustained heatwave, Dactylopius coccus often died. Nor could it tolerate constant rain and high humidity. Indeed, it was so delicate that an ill-timed shower could do it in.

    "What Dactylopius coccus liked best was the climate where it had been bred: the warm, dry climate of the southern Mexican highlands, where temperatures generally hovered between fifty and eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 37.

    See also comment on grana cochinilla, which will lead you to uchimillia if you want to skip the middleman.

    October 5, 2017

  • "Even the most dedicated naturalists' observations were not always complete or correct. In the case of cochineal, the omissions and errors began with Fernandez de Oviedo himself. In his Historia natural (1526), he presented Europe with its first detailed description of the nopal cactus, but failed to mention cochineal at all. Nine years later, in his more extensive Historia general (1535), he described how he had once eaten the nopal's juicy fruit, only to have his urine turn blood-red soon afterward. 'I believed without a doubt that all the veins of my body had broken,' he wrote. He was greatly relieved when a more experienced friend explained that the fruit was harmless."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 129.

    October 5, 2017

  • "The preferred host was Opuntia ficus-indica, but other opuntias were sometimes used, and all were susceptible to frost and rot. ... Nor was cochineal as onerous to collect as these Old World kermes reds. Still, harvesting cochineal was at best a tedious business, one that could last for days or weeks, depending on the size of the nopalry."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 38.

    October 5, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on carminic acid. Also a note on Carmen is fairly interesting.

    Other than that, Carmine was my great-grandfather's name... and I'm just now realizing, that's the line of the tree that had redheads in it. Hm.

    October 5, 2017

  • "The female (cochineal insect), however, has a secret weapon at her disposal: she produces carminic acid, a compound belonging to a class of chemicals called anthraquinones, which ants and a few other animals find distasteful. Armed with carminic acid, a female cochineal bug can hold her own against some would-be stalkers. Recent research suggests that the chemical may also protect her from internal parasites that plague other insects."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 35-36.

    October 5, 2017

  • Arabic word; see origins story in comments on kermes.

    October 5, 2017

  • "By the fourteenth century, Europeans had discovered yet another word to describe these dyestuffs: kermes, a term borrowed from kirmiz, the Arabic word for the insect reds. (The same word gave rise to the term crimson.) Like vermilion, kirmiz meant 'worm,' though it is unlikely that most Europeans were aware of this. First used to describe eastern imports of Armenian red and St John's blood, kermes became a common word for all three insect dyes by the sixteenth century."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 31.

    See also oak-kermes.

    October 5, 2017

  • "In Renaissance times, the dyes seemed to similar that many Europeans used the same name for them all. To some, they were grain, a term that dated back to Roman times, when granum, meaning 'kernel' or 'seed,' was the chief name for oak-kermes. The term suggested the tiny dried insects were actually berries, a classical notion that persisted in Renaissance Europe.*"

    "* This meaning of grain is now considered archaic, but it left its mark on the language. The word ingrained comes from the expression to dye 'in grain' and reflects one of the insect dyes' best qualities, their fastness."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 31.

    October 5, 2017

  • Since clicking on a link to St John's blood brings you only to the page for St John, I'm posting it here too: more information can be found on the page for St John's blood, which presumably you can get to by clicking on the list "A Perfect Red" and then clicking on St John's blood (no period, one apostrophe). I mean, it's interesting, if you're interested.

    October 4, 2017

  • Read comment on oak-kermes, and anthraquinone. Also:


    "Although it is now possible to synthesize carminic acid in the laboratory, the process is too complex to be cost-effective. Cochineal insects are the most economical manufacturers, and they remain the only commercially viable source of the dye.

    "Sold free of bug parts, in liquid or powdered form, cochineal appears on European labels as additive E120, and elsewhere as cochineal extract, carmine, carminic acid, or simply as 'coloring added.' It can be found in products as diverse as candy, Popsicles, sausages, yogurt, fruit juice, ice cream, apple sauce, pudding, cheese, cough syrup, rouge, lipstick, eye shadow, and Campari."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 244.

    October 4, 2017

  • Read comment on oak-kermes.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Dyers also put a premium on Armenian red, which was made from the insect Porphyrophora hameli, a parasite on the roots and stems of certain grasses in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and Iran. Like St John's blood, Armenian red was difficult to harvest.... First mentioned in the eighth century BC, Armenian red was highly prized by the Assyrians and the Persians, despite the insects' high fat content, which made the dyeing process more difficult. In medieval Europe, many considered it the finest red dyestuff of all."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 30.


    More context/info can be found on oak-kermes, including stuff about kermesic acid and carminic acid and cool stuff like that.

    October 4, 2017

  • a/k/a Polish cochineal. Usage on St John's blood.

    October 4, 2017

  • "St. John's blood was a popular name for the insect Porphyrophora polonica. Later called Polish cochineal, it sometimes served as payment for tithes and rents in the regions where it was grown: eastern Europe, Russia, and Asia Minor. Eastern Europeans traditionally harvested the insects in June and July, starting on the feast day of St. John--hence the name. Unlike oak-kermes, which grew out in the open, St. John's blood flourished underground on the roots of the scleranth plant, which made collecting it a burdensome process. Since each plant harbored only about forty of the minuscule insects, thousands of plants had to be uprooted, cleaned, and stripped to produce a marketable amount of the dyestuff. Though the grassy bushes were replanted again, they often withered away, so new ones were always needed--adding to the expense of what was already a very costly dyestuff. Yet its red was undeniably brilliant, and many dyers valued it even more highly than that of oak-kermes."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 30.

    See also oak-kermes.

    October 4, 2017

  • See usage on St John's blood. Which link doesn't actually take you to that page, but if you click on the list "A Perfect Red" and then find "St John's blood" (pay attention to caps, lack of period, etc.) then you should get there okay.


    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on oak-kermes.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Dyers who were disappointed with brazilwood, archil, and lac turned to another set of red dyestuffs, which produced the most vivid and lasting colors of all: oak-kermes, St John's blood, and Armenian red. All three were derived from parasitic insects related to lac, and all of them worked best on animal fibers such as wool and silk, rather than on plant fibers like cotton and linen.

    "Oak-kermes had been a valuable source of dye since ancient times. In the days of the Roman Empire, Spain was a key supplier, paying half its substantial tribute in the dyestuff. Found in hot, dry regions along the Mediterranean shore and in the Middle East, oak-kermes lived on the leaves and branches of Mediterranean oak trees and was usually collected in the spring. Although there were several species of the insect, the variety that produced the best color, and was consequently the most valued, was Kermes vermilio. Killed with vinegar and steam, the insects were dried, crushed, packed for market, and sold to discriminating buyers throughout the Mediterranean world and beyond."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 29-30.


    "... In the twentieth century, when it finally became possible to analyze the structure of the kermes and cochineal dyes at the molecular level, scientists would reach similar conclusions. To this day the exact composition of these highly complex dyes is disputed, but chemists agree that their primary dyeing agents are closely related. The color of oak-kermes, for example, is produced by kermesic and flavo-kermesic acids, both of which have a chemical structure similar to that of cochineal's chief ingredient, carminic acid; trace amounts of kermesic acid are found in cochineal dye, too. St. John's blood, which contains a mixture of kermesic and carminic acids, is an even closer match for cochineal. The closest match of all is Armenian red, whose chemical composition is almost identical with that of cochineal dye." (page 75)

    October 4, 2017

  • "A red dyestuff that offered even more challenges to European dyers was lac, the source of both lacquer and shellac. Native to India and Southeast Asia, lac was made from the insect Laccifer lacca, which secreted a sticky resin on tree twigs. The resin, collected with the bugs still inside it, produced fiery reds on wood. The color it imparted to textiles, however, was not always so desirable. European dyers found the expensive, gummy substance hard to work with and used it primarily for dyeing leather."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 29.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Another important red dyestuff was archil, or orchil, a dye made from lichens found on coastal rocks. Well known in classical times, it persisted in the Middle East for many centuries. In 1300, a Florentine merchant rediscovered the formula and consequently did a booming business exporting red cloth. Like brazilwood, however, archil tended to fade, a serious disadvantage for many buyers."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 29.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note/explanation in comment on archil.

    October 4, 2017

  • Historical usage note re: the country name can be found on Brazilwood.

    October 4, 2017

  • Historical usage note on Brazilwood.

    October 4, 2017

  • "To satisfy the patrician desire for these colors, dyers turned to costly substances such as brazilwood, the common name for a group of dense tropical hardwoods found in the East. Brazilewood yielded deep crimson and purple dyes, which usually faded with disappointing rapidity to a dowdy pinkish brown. For this reason, 'disceytfull brasell' was often castigated as 'fauls colour'; it also had a tendency to stiffen cloth. But the rarity of good dyestuffs ensured that brazilwood remained valuable. When new varieties were found in South America, the entire region was triumphantly christened Brazil."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 28-29.

    October 4, 2017

  • "For monarchs, the preferred reds were scarlet and crimson--but what exactly these terms meant in medieval and Renaissance times is now a matter of some debate. ...

    "Even so, it is possible to make a few generalizations. ... As in the classical world, these words did not necessarily describe the hue of an object, the way they do today. To textile workers and merchants, they instead often signified the use of particular types of red dyestuffs and fabrics. Scarlet, for example, almost always referred to high-quality woolens made with certain insect-based red dyestuffs. Sometimes these woolens were dyed with other colors as well to produce mulberrys, grays, blacks, and even greens--and in some places, these too were known in the trade as scarlets. Outside the cloth business, however, the words crimson and scarlet were used more generally to indicate the sort of rich, saturated, luminous reds that had appealed to Europeans since Roman times. The exact color associated with each word varied over time, but crimson most often meant a red that tended toward purple, while scarlet suggested a somewhat brighter hue."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 23-24.


    See also the word origins story on kermes.


    October 4, 2017

  • Extensive usage note in comment on crimson.

    Also:

    "It was under Oliver Cromwell, shortly before the Restoration, that English army coats became red, and Cromwell specified that they be made in Gloucestershire, an area that was to become famous for scarlet woolens dyed with cochineal and tin. While lower-ranking redcoats had to settle for less costly dyes like madder, Gloucestershire's cochineal scarlet cloth was used to make many a British officer's uniform over the next two centuries. Drebbel's scarlet therefore appeared on such famous British battlefields as Culloden and Waterloo--and made British officers easy marks for the sharpshooters of Lexington and Concord in 1775."

    I hate to break it to her, but they weren't sharpshooters. They were farmers. I wonder how much of that was just using "sharpshooters" instead of "marksmen" (also not accurate) for the sake of not saying "soldiers" or something as boring (since they weren't soldiers either, at least not yet)--and how much of it was a traditionally British view (as she was educated there, I believe) of the outbreak of the Revolutionary War.... Also, let's be fair, they wore crossed white straps over their red coats, so... X marks the spot, you know? Anyways...

    Amy Butler Greenfield, <i>A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire</i> (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 141.

    See also Cornelis Drebbel, aqua regia, and Bow-dye.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on cardinal purple.

    October 4, 2017

  • "... the pope decreed in 1295 that cardinals would henceforth wear 'red' robes--actually a reddish shade of imperial purple--which Church officials obtained at great expense from Byzantine Constantinople, by then the sole source of the old Roman dye. This source dried up completely when Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453; the secret of imperial purple perished in the chaos. Soon afterward, the Church switched to a red European dye made partly with alum, a key mordant for many Renaissance dyes.* From then on its cardinals dressed in scarlet robes--a fact which militant Protestants later construed as proof positive that the Catholic Church was Revelation's Scarlet Woman and the pope the Antichrist.

    "For most Europeans, however, the new 'cardinal purple' was simply a visible sign of the pop's temporal and spiritual power. For them, red had long since become the color of kings, in part because imperial purple was so scarce in medieval Europe that most monarchs had trouble obtaining it. During the centuries between the fall of Rome and the fall of Constantinople, only the Byzantine emperors and the very highest echelons of the Church hierarchy had anything like a satisfactory supply of the dye."

    "*For centuries Europeans had been forced to import most of their alum supply from the Middle East, but in 1460 the pope's nephew had discovered enormous deposits of alum in papal territories in Tolfa, Italy. The discovery greatly enriched the Church and helped make its cardinals brighter than ever."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 22-23 and footnote.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note and explanation in comment on cardinal purple.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on cardinal purple. Another on Francesco Pegolotti.

    October 4, 2017

  • "By the fifteenth century, hundreds of thousands of Europeans, from humble shepherds to great merchants, made a living from textiles, and many a nobleman depended on the wealth they created. Because each step in the cloth-making process was handled by different craftsmen, more than a dozen people could be involved in fashioning a single piece of fabric. The silk workers of Lucca, for example, included in their ranks a host of specialized workers: reelers to unwrap the cocoons, throwers to twist the thread, boilers to clean it, dyers to color it, and warpers and weavers to turn the thread into cloth.

    "Wool, the most common fiber in Europe, required even more specialization. After shepherds raised the sheep and shearers fleeced them, washers cleaned the raw wool and carders pulled the fibers apart with bristles. Spinners spun those fibers into yarn with distaffs and spindles and passed the yarn to the weavers, who wove it into cloth. Wool cloth then had to be 'finished,' a process that involved fullers or 'walkers' who washed the fabric in troughs of water treated with fuller's earth, a mineral compound that promoted absorption. (Many walkers trampled the mixture into the cloth with their bare feet, but prosperous fullers kept their boots on and used a millwheel and hammers instead.) The soaking-wet cloth was then hung out on wooden frames called tenters; tenterhooks held the fabric fast and stretched it to the right dimensions as it dried. While still damp, the cloth could be brushed and sheared several times for a finer, softer nap. The fabric was then handed to the dyers. Although dyers usually worked with finished cloth, sometimes they treated the unspun wool instead, a costly practice that yielded the most intense and enduring colors and gave us the expression 'dyed in the wool'."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 7-8.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Like the spice trade, the textile industry created new markets and networks, but its importance did not end there. Spices were usually grown and processed in the Far East, but textiles were something Europeans could produce for themselves, and for this reason their impact on Europe was more profound. Textiles spurred the invention of new technologies--new types of spinning machines, new methods for bleaching--and shaped the very pattern of work itself."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 7.

    October 4, 2017

  • "It was big news, then, when Spain's conquistadors found the Aztecs selling an extraordinary red dyestuff in the great marketplaces of Mexico in 1519. Calling the dyestuff grana cochinilla or cochineal, the conquistadors shipped it back to Europe, where it produced the brightest, strongest red the Old World had ever seen."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 3.

    Another note on the origins of the term can be found on uchimillia.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Elusive, expensive, and invested with powerful symbolism, red cloth became the prize possession of the wealthy and well-born. Kings wore red, and so did cardinals. Red robes clothed the shah of Persia, and in classical Rome red became so synonymous with status that the city's most powerful men were called coccinati: the ones who wear red."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 3.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on mercuric sulfide.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on mercuric sulfide and kermes, and on wormberry.

    Also, "Those who turned to the Bible to reconcile the controversy were disappointed. Although the Vulgate used the word <i>vermilion</i>, or 'little worm,' to describe the color produced by grain, lending credence to the idea that the dyestuff had animal origins, the Bible made no definite pronouncements either way."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, <i>A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire</i> (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 127.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on mercuric sulfide.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Sometime before the fifth century B.C., painters in Asia discovered that a far more satisfactory red could be made from the mineral cinnabar, or mercuric sulfide, a compound also known as vermilion and minium. Used to striking effect in Chinese scrolls and later on the frescoed walls of Pompeii, cinnabar did have several disadvantages: it was expensive, poisonous, and had a disconcerting propensity to turn black with exposure to light. Yet because it was by far the most brilliant red paint available, cinnabar continued to be used and celebrated for more than a thousand years."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 3.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on quinine.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on quinine.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on quinine.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on quinine.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Quinine was the only treatment found to be effective against malaria, and in the middle of the nineteenth century malaria was a problem that determined the size and prosperity of an empire....


    But this was the era of the new alkaloid. Cinchona bark (and roots and leaves) contained not only quinine (named after the Spanish spelling of 'kina', the Peruvian word for bark) but also cinchonine, and in the next two decades, two more alkaloids were isolated from the tree, quinidine and cinchonidine. Each had a slightly different molecular structure, and none was quite as effective against malaria as pure quinine (but nevertheless sold as such). In the same period, the two Frenchmen also isolated the strychnine from St Ignatius's beans, and other chemists found other alkaloids -- caffeine in coffee beans and codeine in opium."

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), 30, 32.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on nitrosophenyline.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on nitrosophenyline.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Perkin's earliest tasks concerned the formation of organic bases from hydrocarbons, but he was more interested in the results of his next assignment which led to one of his earliest published papers. At the beginning of February 1856 he submitted to the Proceedings of the Royal Society a brief report 'On some new Colouring Matters' he had found with Arthur Church. 'This new body presents some remarkable properties,' they wrote. That substance, which they named nitrosophenyline, was the result of an experiment with hydrogen and a distillation of benzol. It produced a bright crimson colour, it dissolved in alcohol with an orange-red tint, and it changed to a yellowish-brown when diluted with alkali. They concluded that it had 'a lustre somewhat similar to that of murexide', the rich purple originally made from guano."

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), 28.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Frederick Abel, the joint-inventor of cordite, once asked himself, 'Who would not work, and even slave, for Hofmann?' Before he tackled explosives, Abel conducted an analysis of the mineral waters of Cheltenham and researched the effects of various substances on aniline (one of which was the poisonous gas cyanogen, from which his eyes suffered permanent damage)."

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), 25.


    See also August Wilhelm von Hofmann.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on naphtha.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on naphtha.

    October 4, 2017

  • Usage note in comment on naphtha.

    October 4, 2017

  • "Molecules such as the solvent naphtha had already been isolated in coal-tar in the 1820s, but the great challenge was now to reveal its constituent atoms, and to show how these may be modified to form other compounds. Naphtha was found to contain benzene, and, by a painstaking process of fractional distillation, this in turn was found to contain such materials as toluidine and aniline. The chemists often knew the atomic combination of each molecule -- how many elements of carbon, how many of oxygen or hydrogen -- but not how they fitted together."

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), 24-25.

    October 2, 2017

  • "In Glasgow in the 1820s, Charles Macintosh found a use for the coal tar, developing a method of waterproofing cloth. He used it to prepare a special solution of rubber, applied it to two pieces of coat fabric, and called it a raincoat, but other people soon began calling it a macintosh. It was also used as a protective coating on timber, and was widely employed on the new railway system. Its combination with creosote also afforded a thick coating for wood and metals, and it was used as a disinfectant in sewage. Some patents from the 1840s even suggested the early use of tar and coal-tar pitch on road surfaces."

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), 24.

    October 2, 2017

  • "'There was an indescribable charm in working for Hofmann,' (Frederick) Abel remembered, 'in watching his delight at a new result or his pathetic momentary depression when failure attended the attempt to attain a result which theory indicated. "Another dream is gone," he would mutter plaintively, with a deep sigh.'"

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), 26.

    October 2, 2017

  • "Gas derived from the distillation of coal, and millions of tons were processed each year to meet demand. The process--which involved the highly combustible method of heating coal in closed vessels without oxygen--also yielded several useless and dangerous by-products: foul-smelling water, various sulphur compounds and a large amount of oily tar.

    For many years these were regarded as waste.... The sulphur was found to be removable with lime and sawdust, while the gas-water and tar were abandoned in streams, where they poisoned the water and killed the fish. Anyone who requested any of these by-products were given them without charge in huge barrels. Some hopeless experiments were conducted with them, and then they were again thrown away into streams. But gradually, in the years leading up to Perkin's birth, new uses were uncovered."

    Simon Garfield, Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 2000), p. 23-24.

    October 2, 2017

  • I love this word and it isn't used enough these days, in my opinion. Came across it the other day and the quote stuck with me.

    "Jane never once wrote anything about him expressing the least affection. She hardly ever wrote anything about him at all. ... She left her parents' church to marry Edward Mecom... Brattle Street was also Edward Mecom's church. He led the church in singing psalms. He had a beautiful voice. He once proposed opening a singing school. Maybe she loved the sound of him.

    "If there was something at home that Jane had wanted to run from, marrying proved no escape. Edward Mecom had no place of his own. Once they were married, he simply moved in....

    "Jane was restless and impatient and even saucy and provoking. The day she got married, she might also have been pregnant, which would explain why her father gave her permission to marry so unpromising a man at so unwise an age. Very many eighteenth-century brides were pregnant when they married. Neither a fortress nor a Maidenhead will hold out long after they begin to parly, says Poor Richard. A Harvard society even debated, in 1721, 'whether it be lawful to lie with one's sweetheart before marriage.'

    "But in the parish register of the Brattle Street Church, the first child recorded as having been born to Jane Franklin and Edward Mecom didn't arrive until nearly two years after their wedding. If she was pregnant when she married, she either miscarried or gave birth to a baby born dead. And then she might have stared out across the water in the harbor and known that she had married a wastrel for naught."

    --Jill Lepore, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), p. 53-54

    April 28, 2017

  • "In 1939, Carl Van Doren's Benjamin Franklin won a Pulitzer Prize. That same year, Virginia Woolf published an essay called "The Art of Biography":

    'The question now inevitably asks itself, whether the lives of great men only should be recorded. Is not anyone who has lived a life, and left a record of that life, worthy of a biography--the failures as well as the successes, the humble as well as the illustrious? And what is greatness? What is smallness?'

    Also in 1939: Jane's house was demolished. In 1856, the 150th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth, the house had even been decorated for the celebration. But so little was known about Jane that the claim that Franklin's sister had ever lived there was eventually deemed dubious. In 1939, Jane's brick house was torn down to make room for a memorial to Paul Revere. The house wasn't in the way of the Revere memorial; it simply blocked a line of sight. Jane's house, that is, was demolished to improve the public view of a statue to Paul Revere, inspired by a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Jared Sparks's roommate.

    Van Doren found this crushing. While writing about Franklin, he had become fascinated by Jane. His affection for her grew into something of an obsession.

    He determined to collect her papers and write her biography."

    --Jill Lepore, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (New York: Alfred A. Knopf 2013), 264-265

    April 28, 2017

  • "Sometimes the historian fails, on account of his subject; at other times, for the want of materials. It is not in the power of the greatest mind to make that dignified and interesting, which in its nature is low and unattractive. The first step to be taken by a historian, therefore is to exercise his judgment in selecting a subject, which will not cause him to run the hazard of wasting his powers in developing and recording events, that have nothing in them to command the admiration, or awaken the sympathy of mankind. Next come the materials of history, and in no part of his task are the resolution, the patience, the ardor of the historian, more seriously tried than in collecting these." Jared Sparks, in 1826 essay "Materials for American History," as quoted in Jill Lepore, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), p. 253.

    April 28, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on sterling.

    February 6, 2017

  • "The German cities of Lubeck, Hamburg, Bremen and Cologne created the (Hanseatic) league for profits and protection. They were small compared to Venice. None could afford to secure an entire coastline on their own. They pooled resources and gave each other trading privileges. Danzig and Bruges joined the group, as did every port city in northern Germany. London, far away on the Thames, let the Hansa set up a walled compound near London Bridge complete with warehouses, barracks and a beer garden that competed with local taverns with its Hamburg ale and Rhenish wine. Hansa law influenced English maritime law. The coinage of the Hansa towns, the Easterling, inspired the English word 'sterling' and the word hansa inspired the name of the German airline Lufthansa."

    --Greg Steinmetz, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 86

    February 6, 2017

  • "As the chronicler Priuli feared, Portugal's success devastated Venice. The city went from exporting pepper to becoming an importer. In 1512, a Venetian diplomat was complaining to the sultan of Egypt about money problems. In 1514, Venice suffered the ultimate humiliation by becoming a Portuguese customer. It was over for the republic. In a last gasp to hold on, it shifted its economy from trade to industry. Glass, soap, silk and wool makers surpassed the Arsenal shipyard as the city's leading manufacturer. But the old spark ... disappeared, and Venice began its decline. Changing with the times, Fugger shifted the center of his foreign activities to Antwerp. As for Portugal, it dominated the spice business until the next century when the Dutch broke its grip."

    --Greg Steinmetz, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 60

    February 6, 2017

  • "The Portuguese realized they needed more than guns if they wanted pepper. Fugger's silver and copper weren't gold, but India wanted these metals too. Soon, Portugal became Fugger's best customer for metal. He sent wagons full of the ores of silver and copper from Hungary to Antwerp where porters loaded it on ships for Lisbon. Portugal paid him with pepper, making him one of Europe's largest spice wholesalers. Detractors called Fugger a profiteer, a monopolist and a Jew among other things. The spice voyage earned him another name: Pepper Sack. His pepper deals were more visible than his mining activities. Many assumed pepper was his main business."

    --Greg Steinmetz, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 59-60

    February 6, 2017

  • "Fugger craved market-sensitive information so much that he created a system to get it first. ... A news service, the world's first. He set up a network of couriers who raced to Augsburg with market information, political updates and the latest gossip--anything that would give him an edge. A postal service had been running between Augsburg and Venice since the fourteenth century. A similar network linked Augsburg with Innsbruck and other imperial cities. But the networks, staffed by city-appointed 'post boys,' were too incomplete and slow for Fugger. He wanted a system tailored just for him. In the years ahead, he learned about important deaths and battle outcomes before Maximilian, the electors and his competitors. ... The letters became ore sophisticated under Fugger's heirs. Although content continued to come from Fugger's agents, they eventually looked more like newspapers than anything else. Fugger's letters preceded the Notizie Scritte of Venice, the first newspaper, by half a century.... He had staggering courier bills but he happily paid."

    --Greg Steinmetz, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 34

    February 6, 2017

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on dollar.

    February 6, 2017

  • "At a time when other monarchs--or their minters--watered down coins to make them stretch further, the vast output of the Schwaz mine allowed Sigmund to mint a silver coin of unsurpassed purity. The coin featured an image of him holding a scepter and wearing a jaunty, oversized crown. The coins were a hit and earned him the name Signmund Rich in Coins. When a merchant received one of Sigmund's silver guldiners, he knew he could trust it. The popularity of the coin--weighing the same as six quarters--attracted imitators across Europe, including the German city of Joachimsthal. Joachimsthal introduced a coin of identical size and silver content, and called it the thaler. The Danes called their version the dollar. Three centuries later, Americans gave a nod to the Danes and ran with it. Sigmund loved his guldiners and Fugger gave him bags of the coins as gifts."

    --Greg Steinmetz, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 22

    February 6, 2017

  • "Venice was the most commercially minded city on earth. It was the way station that linked the Silk Road with the Rhine, where French wine found its way onto boats to Alexandria and Constantinople and where traders swapped pepper, ginger, and cotton from the East for horn, fur and metal from the West. Venice was founded on commerce and businessmen ran the place. Money was all anyone talked about."

    --Greg Steinmetz, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 7

    February 6, 2017

  • "Ester City, outside Fairbanks, was named in honor of prostitute Ester Duffy, who was long famous for charming high-rollers. She had accompanied pioneers to Circle City, where she established a reputation for good-heartedness and generosity. Billy Chappell, one of Dawson's most successful miners (who eventually made millions by investing in Seattle's red light district), gave her a piano for the opening of a whorehouse called the Jewel, which she started near the American Army post of Fort Gibbon. Somehow Ester went broke there, but she sold the piano to prostitute Babe Wallace for $1,000 for another stake, following Clarence and Frank Berry to a new camp. Clarence Berry, perhaps the Klondike's most successful miner, was happily married but his brother, Frank, may have been the reason Ester established her California Hotel there. The town, originally named Berry, was re-christened in Ester's honor for reasons better left unresearched."

    --Lael Morgan, Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush (Fairbanks, Alaska and Seattle: Epicenter Press, 1998), p. 289-290

    January 31, 2017

  • "But the favorite Livengood legend is about Grace Lowe, a tall, slender, good-looking woman--but tough as nails--who ran a large-scale mining operation. Once, when no prostitutes were in cap, her workmen announced that they wished to go into Fairbanks to visit the Line. It was an all-day trip and Grace, not wanting to stop production, agreed to take them on herself, in a most professional manner. ... Everyone was happy until the following payday, when each miner who had enjoyed her services discovered that fifty dollars had been deducted from his wages."

    --Lael Morgan, Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush (Fairbanks, Alaska and Seattle: Epicenter Press, 1998), p. 290

    This at a time when (according to the same book, elsewhere, and heavily cited), one act of coitus earned three dollars in Alaska, and a whole night cost twenty.

    January 31, 2017

  • "'I was greeted by "The Oregon Mare," a nickname applied to a very handsome woman who was a well-known Dawson demimondaine.'"

    --Lael Morgan, Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush (Fairbanks, Alaska and Seattle: Epicenter Press, 1998), p. 299

    January 31, 2017

  • "'Ham Grease' Jimmie O'Connor, another veteran, reported the diggings were so poor they would not support one dance hall."

    --Lael Morgan, Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush (Fairbanks, Alaska and Seattle: Epicenter Press, 1998), p. 182

    It could have been the hour when I encountered this, but I could not stop laughing. It probably would be better not to find out what activity or characteristic might have given a man the nickname of "Ham Grease."

    My companion at the time wondered if there were others, too, necessitating the man's full name being given--as in not just "Wait, do you mean Bear Grease Jimmie?" but also "Oh, Ham Grease Jimmie O'Connor..." which resulted in another long fit of giggles.

    January 31, 2017

  • Usage note on macque.

    January 31, 2017

  • "... pimps did sometimes siphon off the profits from illicit love, especially from foreigners who spoke little or no English. 'While many prostitutes in their isolated cabins practiced the profession quite independently, there were also some white slave girls, mostly Belgians,' Martha Black noted. 'These had been brought in and were managed by men known as macques, who not only lived "off the avails," but first demanded repayment of the passage money of their victims. Let it be always to the credit of the Northwest Mounted Police that they spared no efforts to bring these men of "fancy dress and patent leather shoes" to justice. They were ruthlessly rounded up, brought to trial, and, if proven guilty, given a blue ticket, which meant shoved aboard a boat and told to "get the hell out of the country and never come back".'"

    --Lael Morgan, Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush (Fairbanks, Alaska and Seattle: Epicenter Press, 1998), p. 92

    Note: Martha Black was speaking/writing in 1938 of her years in the Klondike around 1900.

    Also...

    "According to the ordinance, a prostitute could answer to a lover or business manager, but that was her choice. Pimps (also called 'macques') were forbidden to reside on the Line, and since prostitution was quasi-legal, pimps could not control women by threatening to turn them in to the authorities. If a girl was mistreated by a pimp, she could easily get rid of him by having him arrested. Plenty of customers found their own way to the restricted district without pimps luring them there; local bartenders would refer more customers for a reasonable commission, a service performed by taxi drivers in later years. So for the first time, perhaps in the history of the United States, it was possible for a common prostitute to survive on her own, with a real chance of building a better life."

    --same book, page 192

    January 31, 2017

  • See usage in comment on poke hunting.

    January 31, 2017

  • "poke hunting" equates to our current meaning of "gold-digging"--that is, not literally digging for gold.

    "Instead of feeling preyed upon by fortune hunters like Myrtle Drummond, most Klondike Kings viewed 'poke hunting' as acceptable behavior. Since they had been driven north by the desire for wealth, they were not surprised that their female counterparts were motivated by the same goal. These men expected to pay generously for the attention of pretty women in high demand. Some bragged at great lengths about how much wealth they lavished on Klondike charmers, simply because it was one of the few ways to purchase prestige in the Far North."

    --Lael Morgan, Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush (Fairbanks, Alaska and Seattle: Epicenter Press, 1998), p. 61

    January 31, 2017

Comments for chained_bear

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Hello chained_bear!

    January 11, 2017

  • Greetings! I have a potential typo to report in your citation over on the Georg Elser page (it's in the last sentence).

    January 4, 2017

  • There's some discussion of drumming and weird old military stuff over on rigadoon. Who do I know that could answer questions about drumming and weird old military stuff? Think, ruzuzu, think....

    September 10, 2014

  • Thank you!

    *hands over thank-you fufluns*

    And I suppose I shouldn't stomp my foot and pout... but I miss seeing you here!

    Edit: Lord knows I'm still figuring things out, too. Sigh.

    April 11, 2014

  • Any chance you could be convinced to add brackets to "epileptic lagomorph driving" over on moro reflex? I have just the list for it.

    April 9, 2014

  • I'm muttering about confectio Damocritis again--I started a list about galen, which seems to be helping, but...

    you know....

    *mutters*

    March 20, 2014

  • Imigongo.

    October 15, 2013

  • *psst*

    tappen

    September 25, 2012

  • Oh! Iroquoisy! So I was looking up Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty, &c. There's a theory* that Moriarty was modeled after Simon Newcomb, the man "accused of a 'successful destruction'" of the career of Charles Peirce (author of many of my favorite Century Dictionary definitions).

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professor_Moriarty (which also mentions Carl Gauss and Srinivasa Ramanujan)

    August 8, 2012

  • Insolent, self-centered, achingly intelligent bastardy. *sigh*

    August 8, 2012

  • Indeed, ruzuzu, I do. *sigh*

    Isn't Benedict Cumberbatch dreamy with his black hair and his insolent self-centered bastardy?

    August 8, 2012

  • So I was watching the first season of Sherlock last night when something caught my eye in the opening credits--a handwritten word flashed across the screen for just a moment, and I immediately read it as confectio. Although it didn't shock me to see it there, and although I was starting to be pleasantly surprised that someone else in the world shares the obsession with confectio Damocritis, I did decide it might be a good idea to rewind and pause until I could see it again. Alas, it was only the word connection.

    Somehow I thought you might understand.

    August 8, 2012

  • I found a cool Century definition for free-lance which answered a question you'd had over on freelance.

    May 27, 2012

  • Are you related to Gum E. Bear? (See Roy G. Biv.)

    March 14, 2012

  • I heart

    January 13, 2012

  • Turns out that as long as we heart each other we can

    January 13, 2012

  • And my niece! Happy Birthday to sionnach-sister as well. :-)

    May 15, 2011

  • Congratulations, c_b! This means your new cub shares a birthday with my sister.

    May 15, 2011

  • Oh! Yay! Congratulations!

    May 15, 2011

  • Congrats on the new cub! :-D

    May 15, 2011

  • Don't miss my word of the day for tomorrow.

    May 13, 2011

  • I just re-read the marathon of phony umbrage taking page and laughed my ass off.

    Thanks. I needed that. :-)

    April 25, 2011

  • Happy National Chocolate-Covered Cashews Day!

    April 22, 2011

  • You cannot escape the charge that you have previously engaged in the amazing pastime that is IDENTIFY THE WORDIE.

    You are therefore prime target material for inviting to IDENTIFY THE WORDIENIK.

    The whole of the bit of Wordnik that joins in on this would be truly honoured should you participate this time round.

    Easily find the right page right now because it is currently the most commented on list shown on the Community page.

    April 14, 2011

  • Umm...?

    April 6, 2011

  • you rained on me today

    April 6, 2011

  • Sure, it's expensive till you figure out pounds-per-square-inch. Those greedy bastards had no right! How the hell do they think my tiara looks with all that damn camo around?!

    April 6, 2011

  • Who knew bears had such expensive taste? (link)

    April 6, 2011

  • Across the site, in IE8.

    (I just tried Firefox and it doesn't do it there! Instead, every last blessed comment is in bold type. Grr.)

    March 10, 2011

  • Hi c-b!

    I can't replicate that right-click issue you reported. Are you seeing it just on the homepage, or across the site? And what kind of browser are you using? Does it happen for you with all browsers, or just one?

    March 10, 2011

  • HI c_b, sorry for the delay on the list paging bug--it's fixed now. Hope all's well.

    February 15, 2011

  • *sings* Happy Birrrthday to da Bearrrr....

    January 27, 2011

  • *sings* Confectio Damocritis to you....

    January 27, 2011

  • *sings* Thanks, frindley!

    January 27, 2011

  • *sings* Happy birthday to you!

    January 27, 2011

  • How old r u ?

    January 25, 2011

  • ♫ It's beginning to look a lot like ram schist. ♫

    December 5, 2010

  • poop-lantern

    That is all.

    September 16, 2010

  • Why is slalom your least favorite word?

    September 5, 2010

  • And I like your tags--they're helpful.

    September 5, 2010

  • Of course not!

    *puts away notebook full of observational notes, tucks camera into vest pocket, and hides book about recognizing specific excrement*

    September 5, 2010

  • P.S. I got rather a load of guff for those tags, by the way.

    September 5, 2010

  • Uhh... that's right...

    *suspicious*

    Are you stalking me?

    September 5, 2010

  • "Chained Bear has added 258 lists containing 23,840 words, 16,839 comments, 9,787 tags, 125 favorites, and 0 pronunciations."

    September 5, 2010

  • Hi c_b. There is a Google-powered 'search-most-of-wordnik' feature, which is kind of hidden right now, since we hope to improve upon it in the future. But at the bottom of every page, the far-right footer link is 'search'.

    I love that thing too!

    August 5, 2010

  • I love that thing. I like visiting my profile to see it. :)

    June 18, 2010

  • No chains! :-)

    June 15, 2010

  • June 8, 2010

  • Hi c_b, Tony just cleared up the glitch in our database that was causing trouble with war tourist. It necessitated removing it from your list, but you should be able to add it back now no problem.

    May 20, 2010