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Online Counter Lock, Stock, and History
Lock, Stock, and History
Fun History Fact,
Before George Washington eventually died of a throat infection, doctors bled 3.75 liters of blood  over a 9 hour period as a part of his treatment.

Fun History Fact,

Before George Washington eventually died of a throat infection, doctors bled 3.75 liters of blood  over a 9 hour period as a part of his treatment.

How to Remove a Kidney Stone in the Middle Ages,

During the Middle Ages up to around 19th century, administration of medicine was left to all sorts of weird people, from learned physicians, to sketchy barber surgeons, to the village wise woman, to a wide variety of quack healers and doctors.  One forgotten member of Medieval medical profession was the lithotomist, a traveling surgeon who specialized in removing kidney stones.  For most, small stones could be easily, but painfully urinated out.  However for those who could not pass a stone, it became obvious that the stone would have to be removed surgically, a terrorizing and agonizing prospect for both kings and commoners alike.  

Since kidney stones are not as common as other ailments, a lithotomist tended to be traveling physicians who would journey from town to town in order to ply his trade.  He would take all of his equipment with him and was usually accompanied by an assistant, usually a young apprentice.  Unlike other medical professionals of the day, a lithotomist probably did know what he was doing, being specialized in one type or surgery using tried and true methods dating to ancient Greece, India, or the Middle East.  However, surgery before the invention of anesthetics was terribly painful, and there was no concept of “sterile technique” as it would be hundreds of years before the germ theory was first proposed.  Many a kidney stone suffering patient died in agony on the lithotomist’s table, a fact that caused many to avoid treatment.

To begin the surgery, the patient was placed in “lithotomy position”, a position used in childbirth today with the legs up and nether regions exposed to the air.  Sometimes a lithotomist might have a special table with leg stirrups, but if not a couple of villagers might be recruited to hold the patient’s legs.  A couple of other strong blokes may also be needed to restrain the patient.  Once in position, a hollow metal catheter was inserted into the urethra to empty the bladder of urine.  The catheter was also used to probe the bladder for the position of the stone, and acted as a way to manage the penis so it did not get in the way of the surgery.  Once this was accomplished the lithotomist either made an incision below the scrotum into the bladder, or went into the anus, through the colon into the bladder, depending on the position of the stone. Surgery on female patients typically needed to be done through the vaginal canal as the pubic bone prevented the lithomist from making any other incisions.  Once the opening was made, the lithotomist would fish out the offending stone, stitch up the incisions, and bloodlet the patient to insure he or she didn’t get an infection.

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A crude and terribly invasive procedure, patients might suffer permanent damage to the bladder or urethra. In addition, the absence of antibiotics combined with a lack of cleanliness increased the risk of infection.  For centuries the technique of removing kidney stones pretty much stayed the same.  Then in the 18th and 19th centuries innovative physicians developed new and less invasive ways to remove kidney stones.  In the 18th century surgeons found ways to remove stones using incisions below the naval rather than way down under.  In the 19th century, surgeons invented the “lithotripsy”, where they either inserted a tool into the urethra or a small incision, then crushed the stone rather than removing it altogether.

Today, with modern medicine and modern anesthetics, the removal of kidney stone isn’t anywhere close to as horrifying as what our medieval ancestors faced. Today, doctors can even use a method called ESWL, a form of lithotripsy where high frequency sound waves are used to crush the stone. Ain’t we got it lucky?

A gold and silver decorated flintlock pistol originating from the Ottoman Empire, late 18th or early 19th century.

A gold and silver decorated flintlock pistol originating from the Ottoman Empire, late 18th or early 19th century.

Japanese Matchlock musket shooting at the Nagashino Musket Festival.  

An excellent condition engraved pinfire revolver with ivory grips. Originates from Germany, circa 1865.

An excellent condition engraved pinfire revolver with ivory grips. Originates from Germany, circa 1865.

So what did you learn in school today?

I learned how to shove tubes down peoples’ throats!

rudjedet:

Senwosret I’s White Chapel12th dynasty, Karnak
Karnak Openair Museum, Egypt 

rudjedet:

Senwosret I’s White Chapel
12th dynasty, Karnak

Karnak Openair Museum, Egypt 

artofprayer:

Called the “City of 1001 Churches,” Ani stood on various trade routes and its many religious buildings, palaces, and fortifications were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world.

At its height, Ani had a population of 100,000–200,000 people and was the rival of Constantinople, Baghdad and Damascus. Long ago renowned for its splendor and magnificence, Ani was abandoned and largely forgotten following the earthquake of 1319.

ancientart:

A stag-shaped Parthian drinking horn. 1 of about 4 similar horns currently on view at the Getty, I believe. 
Made of silver, gold, glass, and garnet, this stunning drinking vessel dates from 50 BC- AD 50.

The forepart of a stag emerges from the curving body of this gilt silver rhyton. The stag is very naturalistic and highly detailed, down to the rendering of veins in the snout. The wide inlaid eyes and the outstretched legs heighten the realism as the stag seemingly bolts in flight. The term rhyton comes from the Greek verb meaning “to run through,” and depictions of rhyta on Greek vases show that they were used to aerate wine. Wine poured into the top of the vessel came out of a spout between the animal’s legs. The spout on this example is now missing, but the hole remains visible.
Stylistic features suggest that this rhyton was made in northwest Iran in the period from 50 B.C. to A.D. 50. This region had been part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire until Alexander the Great’s conquest. After his death in 323 B.C., the Hellenistic Greek Seleucid dynasty, whose kingdom stretched from Turkey to Afghanistan, ruled this area. As Seleucid authority began to weaken In the later 200s B.C., a group of semi-nomadic people called the Parthians, from the steppes of south central Asia, challenged the dynasty and by the mid-100s B.C. had firm control of this area of Iran. This complicated political history left its legacy in the art of the area. Rhyta of this form had a long history in earlier art of Iran, but the floral motifs were drawn from Seleucid art. (getty)

Courtesy of & currently located at The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California. Via their online collections: 86.AM.753.

ancientart:

A stag-shaped Parthian drinking horn. 1 of about 4 similar horns currently on view at the Getty, I believe. 

Made of silver, gold, glass, and garnet, this stunning drinking vessel dates from 50 BC- AD 50.

The forepart of a stag emerges from the curving body of this gilt silver rhyton. The stag is very naturalistic and highly detailed, down to the rendering of veins in the snout. The wide inlaid eyes and the outstretched legs heighten the realism as the stag seemingly bolts in flight. The term rhyton comes from the Greek verb meaning “to run through,” and depictions of rhyta on Greek vases show that they were used to aerate wine. Wine poured into the top of the vessel came out of a spout between the animal’s legs. The spout on this example is now missing, but the hole remains visible.

Stylistic features suggest that this rhyton was made in northwest Iran in the period from 50 B.C. to A.D. 50. This region had been part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire until Alexander the Great’s conquest. After his death in 323 B.C., the Hellenistic Greek Seleucid dynasty, whose kingdom stretched from Turkey to Afghanistan, ruled this area. As Seleucid authority began to weaken In the later 200s B.C., a group of semi-nomadic people called the Parthians, from the steppes of south central Asia, challenged the dynasty and by the mid-100s B.C. had firm control of this area of Iran. This complicated political history left its legacy in the art of the area. Rhyta of this form had a long history in earlier art of Iran, but the floral motifs were drawn from Seleucid art. (getty)

Courtesy of & currently located at The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California. Via their online collections86.AM.753.

Fun History Fact,

In 1918 E.V. Starr was convicted under the Montana Sedition Act and sentenced to 10-20 years of prison and hard labor for refusing to kiss the US Flag. Accosted by a mob after rumors were spread that Starr was against America’s entry into World War I, Starr refused to kiss the flag stating,

"What is this thing anyway? Nothing but a piece of cotton with a little paint on it, and some other marks in the corner there. I will not kiss that thing. It might be covered with microbes."

A Quick End to Freedom of Speech —- The Sedition Act of 1798.

Today we often view the founding fathers as pioneers at the forefront of the freedom, fighting the British for independence and writing the US Constitution to establish and protect freedom from tyranny.  However, this view is not exactly accurate, as the founding fathers were greatly divided as to what freedom meant and who should have it. Many believed that freedom was limited to white protestant men who owned a certain amount of property.  Some wanted a strong, all powerful government, such as Alexander Hamilton who believed the United States should be ruled by an elected monarch.  Others believed freedom was a privilege afforded to the elite, while others believed freedom was a right to be held by everyone. Benjamin Franklin described himself as “a radical moderate”.

In 1798, around ten years after the signing of the Constitution, and eight years after the addition of the Bill of Rights, President John Adams signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts.  At the time, the French Revolution was raging, the US was embroiled in an undeclared “quasi war” with France, and the world was rife with political intrigue and scandal.  To protect the US and ensure that the radicalism of the French Revolution didn’t spread across the pond, the Federalist Party developed the Alien and Sedition Acts.  The Alien Act allowed the US government to deport any foreign nationals of a hostile nation.  The Sedition Act outlawed any speech or writing that was critical the government or its officials.

Of the two, it was the Sedition Act that had the most effect on the United States.  While the law had been officially created to prevent radicalism from spreading the in US, the effect of the law was to squelch opposition to the Adams administration, especially by the opposition party, the Democrat Republicans (Anti-Federalists).  

As a result of the Sedition Act, hundreds of people were arrested for speech that was deemed “dangerous” or “defamatory” to the US government and President Adams.  20 major Anti-Federalist newspapers were shut down, with their operators fined and imprisoned.  Uncounted scores of other minor media outlets were also closed.  When Benjamin  Franklin Bache, grandson of Benjamin Franklin and editor of the newspaper Aurora, wrote an editorial accusing Adams of nepotism and monarchical aspirations, he was arrested and his newspaper was shut down.  He died of yellow fever before trial.  When a Vermont printer named Anthony Haswell criticized the government’s treatment of Bache and claimed the Sedition Act violated the 1st Amendment, he too was arrested and sentenced to two months imprisonment with a $200 fine.  The most famous man convicted under the Sedition Act was Congressman Matthew Lyons, a staunch Anti-Federalist who was very critical of the Adams administration.  Because of his criticisms, he was arrested and jailed for four months and fined $500.  While in prison he won his re-election bid to Congress.

The Alien and Sedition Acts became a highly controversial and unpopular law among the American people.  James Madison and Thomas Jefferson secretly wrote “the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions”, which denounced the acts as unconstitutional.  In the Resolutions, Jefferson and Madison called for states to disobey the law, and if necessary secede or revolution against the United States. While the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions were generally unpopular, the extreme unpopularity of the Sedition Act was a boon for Jefferson and a career breaker for Adams.  

In the presidential election of 1800 between Adams and Jefferson, the Sedition Act was a key issue, and one that made the Adams administration look very bad.  Jefferson won the election campaigning against the Alien and Sedition Acts.  After his election he pardoned those convicted under the act and had the government repay their fines.  While Jefferson portrayed himself as a champion of freedom due to his opposition of the Sedition Act, he himself used the Act to prosecute his own enemies and critics until the law expired in 1801. The Sedition Acts would be resurrected during World War I under the Wilson administration, causing the imprisonment of thousands of Americans who were doing nothing more than practicing their 1st Amendment rights.

An animation of how the French Montigny Mitrailleuse machine gun (circa 1863) worked. 150 of these guns were used by the French Army during the Franco-Prussian War.

The Tiny Praga Model 1921 pistol,
Produced by the Czech company Praga Zbrojovka in 1921 and 1922, the Praga Model 1921 was one of the smallest common semi automatic pocket pistols ever produced.  Its only had a 2 inch barrel, with an overall length of 4.21 inches and weighing in at only 12 ounces.  To make this tiny little peashooter even smaller, the Model 1921 featured a folding trigger rather than a trigger guard.  Using a detachable magazine, it could hold six 6.35mm Browning (.25 ACP) cartridges.  One other interesting feature was an indentation machined on the slide.  The purpose of this was so that the user could work the slide with the use of his or her index finger.
While a unique design, the Praga Model 1921 was not a commercial success due to competition from various other pocket pistols.  In addition, the pistol was so small that it was often difficult to hold, aim, and fire it and it suffered from reliability issues.  Only 8,000 were produced before Praga retired the Model 1921 and produced other models.

The Tiny Praga Model 1921 pistol,

Produced by the Czech company Praga Zbrojovka in 1921 and 1922, the Praga Model 1921 was one of the smallest common semi automatic pocket pistols ever produced.  Its only had a 2 inch barrel, with an overall length of 4.21 inches and weighing in at only 12 ounces.  To make this tiny little peashooter even smaller, the Model 1921 featured a folding trigger rather than a trigger guard.  Using a detachable magazine, it could hold six 6.35mm Browning (.25 ACP) cartridges.  One other interesting feature was an indentation machined on the slide.  The purpose of this was so that the user could work the slide with the use of his or her index finger.

While a unique design, the Praga Model 1921 was not a commercial success due to competition from various other pocket pistols.  In addition, the pistol was so small that it was often difficult to hold, aim, and fire it and it suffered from reliability issues.  Only 8,000 were produced before Praga retired the Model 1921 and produced other models.

A fine pair of flintlock pistols by Francesco Laratto of Brescia, Italy.  Barrel by Lazarino Cominazzo. Early 18th century.

A fine pair of flintlock pistols by Francesco Laratto of Brescia, Italy.  Barrel by Lazarino Cominazzo. Early 18th century.