Thursday, January 23, 2014

Getting to the Tooth of the Matter


Do you know what these are?

If you guessed dental tools you would be correct?
Now, who owned them?

None other than America’s silversmith and favorite son of Liberty who rode the countryside warning the folks that the British were coming. 
No…not William Dawes, but that other one.  Yes, old what’s his name?

Yes!  Paul Revere!
Following the French and Indian War the economy in the colonies had been what is described by some today as an economic downturn.

Actually, folks were really hurting financially. Not only did the colonies take a hit with the French and Indian War there was something called the Stamp Act that severely impacted Paul Revere’s business.
With creditors after his property and no orders coming in for his metal working Revere turned towards dentistry.

Seems logical. Right?
A surgeon staying with a mutual friend taught Revere some of the tricks of the trade.

Yes, five years before his midnight ride the following ad appeared in the Boston Gazette and Country Journal dated August 20, 1770 titled “Artificial Teeth” that stated:
“Paul Revere, Takes this Method ‘of returning his most sincere Thanks to the Gentlemen and Ladies who have employed him in the care of their Teeth, he would now inform them and all others, who are so unfortunate as to lose their Teeth by accident or otherways, that he still continues the Business of a Dentist, and flatters himself that from the Experience he has had these Two Years (in which Time he has fixt some Hundreds of Teeth) that he can fix them as well as any Surgeon-Dentist who ever came from London, he fixes them in such a Manner that they are not only an Ornament, but of real Use in Speaking and Eating:  He cleanses the Teeth and will wait on any Gentleman or Lady at their Lodgings, he may be spoke with at his Shop opposite Dr. Clark’s at the North End, where the Gold and Silversmith’s business is carried on in all its Branches.”

Revere made his dentures from walrus ivory.
Now, I know what you are thinking…

No, as far as I know Revere never crafted a set of dentures for George Washington.
I’ve written here about the tragic death of Dr. Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed’s) using Trumbull’s iconic painting with students.

Amazingly, Paul Revere was the one who was able to identify Warren's body nine months after the battle because he recognized a tooth he had replaced in Dr. Warren's dental work.

Paul Revere...forensic dentistry.

Don't you love the twists and turns of history? 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Frank Carpenter: World Traveler and Photographer

Over on the Facebook page for this blog I’ve been posting a series of pictures this week I’ve simply sourced as “Library of Congress”, but the source goes much deeper than that.  The pictures are wonderful depictions of world scenes beginning in the 1890s through the 1930s. I’ve featured some here.

The collection was put together by Frank and Frances Carpenter, a father-daughter team, during their world travels. The photos were used to illustrate his writings regarding travel and his world geography textbooks.

I love to snap pictures myself. Over the last five years I’ve taken approximately ten thousand photos, myself, but over his lifetime no telling how many photographs Frank Carter produced. The Library of Congress collection contains 5,400 photos in albums, 10,400 loose photos, and 7,000 glass and film negatives.
Frank Carpenter was a journalist whose assignments took him many interesting places.  Being a writing myself, I love the fact that he took his interest in travel and photography and more or less created a job for himself.

He took a trip around the world from 1888 to 1889. During that time he wrote a letter per week that was published in twelve different periodicals which led to more letter-writing travels.
Where can I get a job like that?

Not only were Frank Carpenter’s geography books used in schools for over 45 years, his writings helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography.
Carpenter died a millionaire, but not necessarily from his writing and photography. He used his money to invest heavily in real estate in the Washington D.C. area, and at one point was then able to fund his world travels and photography “habit” on his own terms.

Frank Carpenter died in China during his third trip around the world.

Use the “like” button above in order to join the history conversation on Facebook and view more of Carpenter’s fantastic images.