Photographer's Slide Rule

Saturday, September 17, 2016 0 comments

Before there were lightmeters...

Another interesting Nomographic device.

Like the Airship Engineer's Slide rule I discussed previously, other technically complex disciplines made use of nomographic devices to simplify on the fly calculations.

Photographers developed devices for determining exposure times known as Actinographs.

The name originally meant a device that recorded the amount of sunlight for a day but was adopted for the photographer's slide rule that used that data.

Here is an example from the later 19th C

Since the exposure time depended on several factors these could be set by sliding the scales. The scales were adjusted to account for plate speed, lens type, and other variables.  The curves on the roller indicated the changing light intensity for different times of the year.  The result was an estimate of the exposure time needed.

Here is another Actinograph that used a card instead of a roller for the sunlight data.
This is one of the first commercially produced devices made by Ferdinand Hurter and Vero Charles Driffield and patented in 1888.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

World Championships!

Sunday, September 11, 2016 0 comments

A Beautiful days duelling.

Yesterday Saturday Sept 10, 2016
A short Thank You video I made with the photos I had handy this morning.

Once the semi-official photographers have their photos available I will prepare my formal(esque) report.

Here are the new World Champions!

2016 World Champions
Standing L to R
Monica Willard (Creator of Street Dueling), Cali Brewer Duelling Champion, Karen Siemens 2016 World Champion,
Cindy Bedford Street Duelling Champion
Seated L to R
Raven Hawthorne Flirtation Trials Champion, Josanna Justine Compulsory Figures Champion
Missing Briona Justine World Junior Champion

 Congratulations Ladies!

In the meantime check out Jayne Barnard's Clockworks and Crime.
And Madame Saffron Hemlock's Parasol Duelling League on Facebook of course!

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

2016 World Championships Sept 10th!

Thursday, September 1, 2016 0 comments

Only a week to go!

Get your Parasols tuned up ladies, and come out to compete to be the 2016 World Parasol Duelling Champion!

Keep your sightglass full, your firebaox trimmed, and your water iced!

Parasol Pockets?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 0 comments

On Parasol Pockets

These triangular pockets sewn into the sides of Lady's dresses during the 1870s and '80s are called "Parasol Pockets" and have been the subject of much debate amongst costume historians.
The debate is whether they were actually used to hold parasols or whether they were just a style of pocket at that time. There are no historical images of them actually holding parasols which does lend credence to the latter idea.

The "simply a pocket" side of the debate also points out that when ladies are shown with parasols they are always holding them.

This picture, a fashion plate from May of 1876 is a good example.

The ladies are shown outside without parasols and their pockets don't have them either, which can clearly be seen in the illustration. So what gives?

As a parasol duelling aficionado the answer is obvious to me smile

The fashion plates and early photos are being used to show off the outfits not the parasols. Parasols were for duelling AND for show. If the fashionable parasols which matched or complimented the outfits were to be shown then obviously they needed to be held not hidden in the pocket.

A Lady Duelist would also likely have a parasol specific for duelling and a fashionably decorated one for show. When out and about the duelling one would be carried in the pocket and the fancy one held.
Historians also point to the fact that the parasol pocket often shows up on dresses that would not likely be worn outside so why have a parasol pocket at all?

 These pockets would have been used to hold the smaller Street Duelling parasols of course!

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

Four Years and counting!

Friday, July 22, 2016 0 comments

A Four year run!

Gears, Goggles, and Steam Oh My! is four years old.

Thanks for joining me on this journey of imagination, history, and "Mad Science" (tm).

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed, and your water iced!

The Honour Taker

Friday, June 24, 2016 1 comments

The Honour Taker

 Previously I posted an article by Stewart MacPhee, writing as Dr. Johann Portsmouth Adler, about the Prussian forms of Parasol Duelling.

Here is another excellent post.

Well done Sir!

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed, and your water iced.

Ed: It is my pleasure to post another wonderful article from the good Doctor Adler.

This one discusses the history and forms of the infamous Ehre Nehmer move and how it was used in other Parasol Duelling styles. As an eyewitness and formal Doctor (umpire) at many Parasol Duelling competitions he was well placed to observe and study these moves. 

A valuable addition to the increasing amount of information being compiled on this intriguing sport. 

Abflug mit gnade
(Departing with grace)
By: Dr. Johann Portsmouth Adler

    Many of my colleagues as of late have been asking me many questions regarding the elegant form of parasol dueling known as the Prussian style that is widely practiced in the Germanic territories.  One topic in particular is the dreaded move known as the Ehre Nehmer or Honour Taker.  While talking about this with my fellows there arose a bit of controversy over just what form the move in question takes when practiced.  While some will state that it appears to be a twirl but instead of facing the opponent the duelist instead turns their back, appearing like a “reverse twirl”, others still state that the move in question takes the form of a snub, where the duelist keeps the parasol facing their opponent, but then turns on their heel and walks away appearing like a kind of “reverse snub”.

    While I initially found this quite strange as the move that I had grown up hearing about, and had witnessed on more than one occasion, had always taken the form of the aforementioned “reverse snub”. Imagine my surprise, after exchanging letters on the subject with learned minds on the continent and my own investigations, when I found not one or two, but three variations of this move!  While they may all be called “Honour Takers”, in their own way they are each a separate move as practiced by those of different schools or styles of the sport. 
    So with that in mind, I have decided to sit down and write this missive on what had originally started as a Germanic move but has since seen its way from the vaunted drill academies of Berlin to the elegant runway plots of the Seine and, if rumours are to be believed, to the very shadow of Buckingham Palace itself.

Calgary Spring Regionals May 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016 0 comments

A Fine day's competition.

Sunday, May 1st 2016 was a beautiful sunny spring day.
Perfect weather for the Second Annual Spring Regional Parasol Duelling Competition.

 The competition was held in the same location as last year, at Weadickville just outside of the BMO Centre in Stampede Park, during the 2016 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.

We had done two demos during the weekend and so we had a pretty good crowd of spectators for the competition.

 Katherine Lingwood, Cindy Bedford, Stewart MacPhee, Cali Kyhn,
  Karen Siemens and Deanne Robbins.
Photo by Grant Zelych

I work at a vendor's table at the Expo along with several of the regular duelists from Calgary and earlier in the weekend we had been so busy that we actually missed one of the demos!

Luckily the other members of Madame Saffron's leapt into the breach and conducted an excellent demo. Makes me proud indeed to see our members taking up the reins and elegantly demonstrating our great sport. Please join me in a hearty well done!

On Sunday, not taking any chances, we made sure to head for the Duelling Ground with lots of time to spare. When we got to the site there were already several duelists and quite a crowd of spectators gathered.  With ten duelists signed up it took a few minutes to get things organized.

Our Judge and record keeper for the event was the ever efficient Baroness Daniela Fawkes (aka Dana Teh). Her first official act was to read a "Welcome and Admonition" from Madame Saffron Taxus-Hemlock, who  unfortunately could not attend this year's competition.

Here is a video of this stirring start to the Spring Regionals!

Duelling in the Spring Sunshine!
Cindy Bedford vs Kyra McDonald
Photo by Karlo Keet

There were 10 competitors for this year's Regionals. Two winners of the 2015 World Championships, including the current World Champion, and the 2014 World Champion were amongst the Duelists!

The Regionals also include new duelists some of whom have never dueled in competition before, as well as more experienced Ladies.

Again this year we saw how everyone has continued to improve their duelling figures. There are also clearly developing styles and strategies which are fascinating to watch in action.

Karen Seimens and Deanne Robins
Photo by Karlo Keet

The format of this years competition was to be a true Round Robin where everyone duels everyone else during the course of the competition. Wins were to be awarded 2 points and a draw was awarded 1 point. It quickly became apparent that even running two duels at once, with 10 competitors it would take too long to run the competition in the time we had available.

So after the first three rounds had been fought it was decided to drop the two lowest scoring duelists off the list.

In one of those serendipitous events from which traditions are born, when the first Ladies were told that they had been eliminated, Raven Hawthorne asked all the remaining competitors: "Ladies can we give them a Twirl!"

A beautiful, and elegant way to show the respect due their fellow competitors!

The competition was stiff and the Ladies demonstrated their prowess with great speed and poise.  Here is a selection of photos that should give you a good feel for the competition.

The intensity of these duelists is very apparent here!
Raven Hawthorne and Sarafina Kain
Photo by Grant Zelych
Karen Seimens
Photo by Grant Zelych
Audra Balion
Photo by Karlo Keet

Raven Hawthorne
Photo by Karlo Keet

Cindy Bedford
Photo by Karlo Keet
Tamara Horne
Photo by Karlo Keet

 The duelling continued with the lowest scoring ladies being dropped from the list after each round.

Running two duels simultaneously took a bit of getting used to!  In order to prevent confusion only one of the Doctors would do the count but loud enough for both pairs of duelists to hear. This allowed the competition to proceed quickly but smoothly.

Raven Hawthorne and Katherine Lingwood
Photo by Karlo Keet

Nicole Baker and Kyra McDonald
Photo by Karlo Keet


Cindy Bedford and Audra Balion
Photo by Karlo Keet

Finally after a further grueling 6 rounds of duelling, three Ladies emerged victorious!

Each was awarded one of these magnificent ribbons created for this event by Raven Hawthorne.

Winner's Ribbons by Raven Hawthorne

Here are the winners of the 2016 Spring Regional Parasol Duelling Competition being presented their winner's ribbons by the Baroness!
 First Place Ribbon to Audra Balion
Photo by Karlo Keet

Second Place Raven Hawthorne
Photo by Karlo Keet
Third Place: Nicole Baker
Who had never dueled in competition before!
Photo by Karlo Keet

Congratulations Ladies!

2016 Spring Regionals
L to R: Audra Balion 1st place
Nicole Baker 3rd place
Raven Hawthorne 2nd place

Thank you to all the Ladies who participated in the Second Annual Spring Regional Competition.

Photo by Grant Zelych

Thank you also to my fellow Doctor, Dr Johann Portsmouth Adler (aka Stewart MacPhee.) for his sharp eye and strong voice!

As always thanks to the wonderful photographers that make us look so good!
Karlo Keet of Catstar Images
Grant Zelych
and our intrepid videographer Alex Norrington.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed, and your water iced.

For more information and to find out more about this great sport go to:
Madame Saffron Hemlock’s Parasol Duelling League for Steampunk Ladies

Click here for information on the history and development of Parasol Duelling 
or click the Parasol Duelling tag.

The Rules for Parasol Duelling are here.

About Gears, Goggles, and Steam oh My!

Here I collect interesting bits of information related to the world of Steampunk.

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