Ancient Greece

Wacky Wednesday

Scarecrow.jpg

We at the American Treasure Tour blog resource center have spent veritable moments researching the origin of our little scarecrow that is currently hanging out in the Toy Box, and we've discovered some amazing facts.  -      The earliest recorded use of scarecrows to deter birds from eating foodstuffs in farms was back in the days of the Ancient Egyptians.  They actually served a double purpose – not only to prevent the quails that were prevalent from eating the seeds, but to scare them into large nets used to capture them for later eating themselves. The Greeks incorporated their own traditions into the creation of scarecrows, making them look like the goddess Aphrodite, who was supposedly ugly enough to scare anyone out of their vineyards. They then painted the scarecrows purple, putting a club in one of their hands and a sickle in the other to ensure good crops. Simultaneously to that, Japanese rice farmers made their own scarecrows, called kakashis. Later German scarecrows were designed to look like witches, a tradition immigrant Germans brought to the United States that they called ‘bootzamon.’

And, of course, scarecrows are still used for their primary function of … um … scaring crows and other birds from destroying crops, but they’ve also been embraced by horror film producers, specifically in the Jeepers Creepersfilm franchise. Today, some farmers opt to use gun sounds to scare away birds, but no matter what efforts are made, there will always be birds out there that simply don’t care, and will continue to eat crops regardless of the risk.

Wacky Wednesday

Make-Up Head.jpg

Wacky may not be a fitting word to use to describe the focus of today's blog. Cosmetics have been a part of human culture for thousands of years. There were many varieties of make-up available for both men and women during the ages of the Ancients:  Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Only through trial and error would they discover how effective the make-up was at enhancing beauty, when people tried it on their own skin. That was fine, unless poisons were incorporated such as lead. The idea of trying new looks out on inanimate objects was introduced some time after the mid-1800s, when the French developed mannequins. Originally made out of papier mache to showcase new fashions, they became extremely lifelike and, eventually, were soon embraced by cosmetologists as accommodating subjects upon which they could perfect their art.

The American Treasure Tour has a number of Debra Cosmetology Mannequin Heads on display.  Their exteriors are made out of rubber, and their interiors are polyurethane. They have real human hair, and are created by Celebrity specifically for amateur and professional cosmetologists to use. The heads can be used for both hair styling and cosmetic application – many cosmetologists use them for their y could apply any sort of make-up and, if they made a mess of things, they could clean them up and easily re-apply. Of course, the plastic needed for that technology would not be introduced until after World War II. So, come to the tour and check out our disembodied cosmetology heads.  But please do not attempt to apply make-up to them. Or to any of our guides. They prefer to apply their own make-up.

Binoculars

Galileo looking to the sky

Galileo looking to the sky

QUESTION:  David Bushnell, creator of the binocular company, sold his business off to what company in 1971, prior to his retirement at the age of 61?
A). No company - he sold to the U.S. Military
B). Bausch & Lomb
C). Sears
D). Maybelline
ANSWER BELOW:

The American Treasure Tour is loaded to the gills* with odd and wonderful pieces. The blog is here to highlight some of the ones for which there is simply not enough time in the day/week/month/year to point them all out for our visitors. One special piece we would like to honor today is an oversized 'pair of' Bushnell binoculars that hang suspended in our Toy Box, near the wonderful "Loudmouth" Sadie Mae band organ. Of course, we do wonder why we have to pluralize binoculars, and why we call them a pair, when they're obviously just one thing. Like a pair of pants.  But we digress. The point is, there are some pretty amazing binoculars on the tour route and we want to tell you a little bit about them. Because, cool.

1661 Telescope (not part of the ATT collection)

1661 Telescope (not part of the ATT collection)

The first ever recorded use of binoculars goes back. Way back. It should be no surprise that binoculars date shortly after the invention of the telescope. Two is better than one. An understanding of optics dates to antiquity - Ancient Greeks and the like - proved to be a starting point in making distant objects seem close, but the technology was crude until the medieval times. The production of glass lenses for spectacles in the early thirteenth century proved a big step forward, and experimentation over the centuries continued. But the first recorded use of a telescope happened in the year 1608, when Danish innovators put the technology together. The next year, Galileo first used telescopes to look at the night sky, and the process of improving improvements began. Although the claim has absolutely no foundation in fact, the bloggers at the American Treasure Tour like to think of ourselves as technologically savvy. And we would have been happy to explain all the scientific variables that factor into Galilean versus Keplerian optical systems to create the ideal telescope, and the binoculars that came almost immediately on their tail. Unfortunately, we simply don't have the space here. Come back tomorrow, though, for more on our exploration of the wonderful binocular....

*PLEASE NOTE: The American Treasure Tour does not actually have gills. There are, in fact, no living creatures that require gills to breathe at the tour, either. Thank you.

ANSWER:  B). Bausch & Lomb.  Makes perfect sense that a binocular company would be sold off to a ... medical supply company?