1700s

Nine Singing Rules for 18th Century Singers

Singing was a popular activity in the 1700s. One writer noted that when there was a large group of singers, the worst singer was often the person who got the greatest pleasure from the activity. To ensure people got the most pleasure out of singing, numerous song books were published. Among them was one that…

Read More

The Executioner’s Account of Louis XVI’s Execution

Louis XVI was executed on 21 January 1793. Three weeks after his execution, a revolutionary journal called Thermomètre du jour published an inaccurate account claiming the King was led to the scaffold with a pistol to his temple, the guillotine struck his neck instead of his head, and the King died without courage. Because the…

Read More

Manners and Customs of the French According to Punch

Punch, or The London Charivari, was established in 1841 by Henry Mayhew and engraver Ebenezer Landells. It was a British weekly filled with humorous and satirical stories and illustrations, and Punch not only poked fun at the English but also the French. Here is one article published in 1851 that is related to the manners…

Read More

Pierre Fauchard, Dentistry, and Urine in the 18th Century

French physician Pierre Fauchard is widely credited as being the “father of modern dentistry.” He joined the navy in the late seventeenth century and quickly became interested in dental ailments due to scurvy affecting most sailors on ships. After leaving the navy, he began to practice at the University of Angers Hospital where he pioneered…

Read More

The 18th Century’s First Fatal Balloon Accident

The first air hot balloon of manned flight occurred in a balloon belonging to the Montgolfier brothers on 21 November 1783. This flight left from the garden of the Château de la Muette in the Bois de Boulogne with pilots, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes, and covered about 5½ miles in 25…

Read More

The Comet Scare of 20 May 1773

Comets and the idea that one would hit the earth and destroy it, have long been a concern of humans. Seventeenth-century mathematician Jacob (also called James or Jacques) Bernoulli predicted the famous comet of 1680. It was called “Kirch’s Comet,” the “Great Comet of 1680,” or “Newton’s Comet,” and Bernoulli thought it would return and cause…

Read More

Parisian Fortune-Tellers in the Eighteenth Century

Parisian fortune-tellers were plentiful in eighteenth century France, and many fortune seekers visited them during the French Revolution hoping to learn if they would keep their head or not. One man wrote that when he visited the Pont Neuf, fortune-tellers regular used a deck of cards to predict a person’s future. However, a deck of…

Read More

On French Customs and Manners by a Scotsman

Tobias George Smollett was a Scottish poet and author best known for his eighteenth century novels, which included The Adventures of Roderick Random and The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle. He was also a great traveler with strong opinions. In the mid 1700s he went abroad with his wife and did so not only for pleasure…

Read More

The Regent Diamond

A diamond, a whopping 410 carats uncut, was found by a slave in the Kollur mine in India. The slave smuggled it out of the mine: Some say in his rectum and others claim it was placed in a large wound in his leg. Then an English sea captain killed the slave, stole the diamond,…

Read More