Life in Europe before the Industrial Revolution was dirty and disease-ridden.

Back in the 1820s, the upper class in San Diego had nice furniture but still used chamber pots which had to be dumped in the morning, Photo by James Ulvog.

There is a myth that rural life in the medieval ages before the industrial revolution was, if not good, then at least okay. In fact life then was a battle for survival.

(Cross-post from Freedom is Moral. Posted here as in illustration of the progress made by the rising wealth generated by the Industrial Revolution.)

The romantic idea of a plentiful past is pure fantasy – Marian Tupy at CapX – 2/13/19

This series of posts by Marian Tupy was kicked off as a response to one writer who disagreed with the assertion that the portion of people living in abject poverty has declined radically starting about 200 years ago. That particular author gives away his worldview by using Marxist terms. Thus we know why he refuses to acknowledge the existence and cause of rapid increases in wealth over the last 200 years. What, oh what, could have possibly caused that change?

I won’t dive in the to the responses. I will however provide a few tidbits from this article for insight of the severity of poverty in the past.

Prior to the 19th century, most people wore clothes made of wool, which not only itched but was also hard to clean, which increased disease transmission.

Keep in mind that concept of germs did not exist and most people lived under the same roof with their livestock, both to prevent theft and for mutual warmth. The animal droppings were used for fertilizer. All of that shot mortality rates skyhigh.

Continue reading “Life in Europe before the Industrial Revolution was dirty and disease-ridden.”

Picture of life on a South Dakota farm based on what can be seen in a probate document

Daniel Ulvog with horses. Date unknown but before 1945. Photo courtesy of Sonia Pooch.

In 1945 my paternal grandfather departed this vail of tears. The probate document filed for his estate the next year provides a financial glimpse of life on a South Dakota farm in the mid-1940s.

This was a time of low productivity with all the members of a large family working all day every day to keep the farm running.

Farmers were starting to transition from horse power to tractor power.

It was also a time of self-sufficiency: Raising the oats and hay to feed the horses to work the fields to raise the corn and hay to feed the pigs and cows to sell for money to pay for the farm.

I will use my accountant eyes to see what can be learned from just a probate filing.

Discussion in this series:

Continue reading “Picture of life on a South Dakota farm based on what can be seen in a probate document”

Lorica Segmentata and Lorica Hamata, body armor worn by Roman Legionaries.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The body armor presented on a Roman Legionnaire, whether on ancient statues, modern re-enactors, or illustrations is usually the scaled plate armor referred to as Lorica Segmentata, a phrase that has been in use only since the 16th century.

Lorica Segmentata

The armor consists of horizontal scales, sort of like a lobster. Additional plates protect the shoulders.

Wikipedia says the insides of the plates were soft steel and the outside mild steel. The individual plates were hung on a leather harness with brass buckles. Later on rivets or hooks were used.

Lorica Segmentata. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The armor fastened in front and back.  The sections could be stored inside each other, allowing for compact storage.

Legionary: The Roman Soldier’s (Unofficial) Manual by Philip Matyszak explains a Legionaire would first put on a scarf to protect the neck and chest from being rubbed raw by the steel.

The plates required constant polishing to prevent rust.

Continue reading “Lorica Segmentata and Lorica Hamata, body armor worn by Roman Legionaries.”

First estimate of value of my grandfather’s estate at close of probate

House on a farm where Ulvog family lived for a while, back when my dad, aunts, and uncles were growing up.

The probate document for my paternal grandfather listed the assets in his estate. What is the total value of his estate? Let’s ponder that question.

Values for some items are listed in the probate document. Prices of asset purchases and sales during the time between his death and filing of probate document can be used to estimate other values. For example, I estimated values for livestock at this earlier post.

Here is a summary of the assets:

livestock       4,508
oats and corn       1,794
tractors          450
tractor drawn equipment          150
horses          400
horse drawn equipment          140
other equipment          180
car          300
 —–
total assets, without $400 liability       7,922

 

My estimate for the value of the individual items in his estate as listed in the probate filing are accumulated below. I’ll update this analysis later if I can get better definition for value of some assets.

Continue reading “First estimate of value of my grandfather’s estate at close of probate”

Caligae – the marching boots worn by Roman Legionnaires

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Legionnaires in the Roman army wore marching boots, called caligae (singular caliga). These may appear to be merely an open sandal. However, they were sturdy enough to wear all day, every day, even on long marches.

A thick lower sole would be attached to a mid sole with hobnails. This added strength to the boot and increased its durability. (I don’t know enough about shoe construction but that is the comment made by several sources.)

Hobnail (PSF).png has been released into the public domain courtesy of Pearson Scott Forseman.

For a conception of what hobnailed Roman caligae might look like, consider this photo of a hobnailed boot of the U.S. Union Army. The boot is thus circa 1861 to 1865.

Continue reading “Caligae – the marching boots worn by Roman Legionnaires”

Balteus or cingulum- belt worn by Roman Legionnaires. Puglio – dagger carried by soldiers.

Roman Legionairre, with focus on belt, or balteus. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Roman soldiers would wear a belt around their waist.

I have not seen much discussion on the purpose of the belt. It would be the base for carrying some items. For example, a dagger, called a puglio, would be on the left side.  A money pouch could be carried on the belt, I suppose.

See update below for comments on purpose of a balteus.

Continue reading “Balteus or cingulum- belt worn by Roman Legionnaires. Puglio – dagger carried by soldiers.”

Cash-based income statement of farm in 1945/1946 – part 4

Daniel Ulvog. Date unknown but prior to June 1945. Photo provided by Sonia Pooch.

Previous post listed the cash transactions in the estate of my paternal grandfather from the day he passed away until a probate filing was prepared for the court.

The probate filing provides a glimpse into farm life in the mid-1940s.

As you read the summarized income statement and cash transactions below, keep in mind this is the cash activity to feed and cloth a family consisting of one mom and four children still living at home. Notice was one purchase of groceries for $9.60 and only two purchases of clothing. There is no indication of any purchases in November or December which could be considered Christmas presents.

To say finances were tight would be an understatement.

The cash transactions can be summarized into a cash-based income statement as follows:

Continue reading “Cash-based income statement of farm in 1945/1946 – part 4”

Cash transactions listed in 1945 probate filing – part 3

Daniel Ulvog. Date unknown, but before June 1945. Photo provided by Sonia Pooch.

The estate of my paternal grandfather went through probate in 1946 after he died in 1945.  The probate filing listed the cash received and paid from the time of his death until the document was filed with the court.

The filing provides a view of farm life in the mid-1940s. This series of posts uses the filing to take a glimpse into life back then.

Here are the cash transactions listed in the court filing:

Continue reading “Cash transactions listed in 1945 probate filing – part 3”

Prices of farm animals in 1945 – part 2

Daniel and Lydia Ulvog with 5 of 8 children (Gilbert, Lloyd, Olaf, James, Clarice) on Ellefson farm, in late ’30s or before 1945. Photo provided by Sonia Pooch.

The probate filing for the estate of my grandfather, Daniel Ulvog, provides a lot of information about the farm. Let’s look at indicators of the price of farm animals. The filling provides a number of data points.

Here is the listed information sorted by animal with a mean (weighted average), mode (price with largest number of animals), and my point estimate of the price of different animals.

 

Cows:

Sales:

  • $132.07 – 19 head

Purchases:

Continue reading “Prices of farm animals in 1945 – part 2”

Glimpse into economic life on a farm in 1945, provided by probate documents – part 1

Daniel Ulvog on tractor, with sons Olaf (l) and James (r), taken on the rented Ellefson farm in early 1940s. Photo provided by Sonia Pooch.

My paternal grandfather passed away on June 1, 1945, near the end of World War 2.

Disposition of his estate was officially approved by a court, which provides us a glimpse into the economics of farm life in the 1940s.

He died intestate, meaning he did not have a will, so the estate was distributed in accordance with South Dakota state law. His estate went through probate, which means a court had to approve the distribution.

The filing with the court contains a list of:

Continue reading “Glimpse into economic life on a farm in 1945, provided by probate documents – part 1”