Preparing Tobacco For Going To Sea

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jaytex969

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Jun 6, 2017
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Here's a cool video of some older chaps across the pond demonstrating the skills of yesteryear.
There's some debate in the comments over terminology, but it's quite interesting.
Making A Perique


 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
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With all due respect, that looks to be the stupidest method I’ve ever seen. They obviously didn’t know how to rehydrate tobacco, and twisting by hand actually gives you a better, tighter twist that stays together without using a rope or anything. I wonder where they came up with this tying rope up everywhere contraption. I can't help but wonder if some pirate book author was playing a joke, and these guys took it seriously.

 

jaytex969

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Jun 6, 2017
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You're probably right, but I can see some bored sailors, not very bright, on a ship with masts, trying to figure out how to tension their tobacco in the 1700's.
Tying off to the masts, drunk on rum, ship pitching on the waves. One of the many ways to skin a cat?
Or maybe even the trick played on the new guys? Like my commo sergeant sending me to find a can of squelch back in the day.
And, by the way, now that you've thrown down the challenge, I'm sure someone will find an even STUPIDER way... :nana:


 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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I did a search and came up with this... Which is probably inspired by these guys.



MrLowercase had also posted years ago an old tobacco blend that also came rolled in twine. It seemed to be an old novelty.
I imagine there are guys doing this, maybe from the same source that these got the idea from. But, with cigars being the first way tobacco was encountered in the Caribbean, that twisting the tobacco into a twist had to be encountered early on. I just watched one YouTube video and found that the shape of the leaves and twisting just came natural. It also gave me a very tight hold that stayed tight after the pigtail ends were tied together.
You may be right. It could have just been a prank for the newbies, ha ha. But imagine how terrible tasting a twist of burley with no casings would have tasted. They most likely did use rum, or the sugars being grown and processed there on the islands.

 

mso489

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Feb 21, 2013
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At a maritime museum or two I've visited, the pipe kit on exhibit from the average seaman's sea chest, which was a wooden box, was usually just a pipe and cloth bag of loose or plug tobacco. I don't think the sailors processed it themselves, for the most part. Space was precious, and tobacco was a precious luxury, so the commodity was in limited supply. This might have happened when tobacco was the cargo or when in a port that sold tobacco in quantity, but not generally, I don't think.

 

james72

Member
Aug 30, 2017
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Wild, wacky stuff. Seems like a lot of trouble to go through, but it was an interesting video.

 

jpmcwjr

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May 12, 2015
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Monterey Peninsula
The initial truss is just what Julia Child does to a chicken or stuffed fish....
Overall, interesting, quaint, but doubt it was a real thing for any but the eccentric.

 

beefeater33

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Apr 14, 2014
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Central Ohio
Cool video! And quite accurate. This was an old time way of pressing tobacco. It was used on ships, but probably not processed on the ships. The "carottes" were allegedly doused with rum once in while, to keep them from drying out.......

The original "Navy Rolls"..........

Lots of info here:

Perique Carotte

 

condorlover1

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Dec 22, 2013
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New York
I think the roped up things were called a 'prick' or something like it and I have seen something similar in my travels in the north of Britain in the early 1980s.

 

pipeman7

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Jan 21, 2017
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MrLowercase had also posted years ago an old tobacco blend that also came rolled in twine. It seemed to be an old novelty.
I believe all tobacco used to come wrapped in twine. But I was under the impression that it was all hand rolled rope tobacco ala Gawith Hoggarth and then wrapped in twine for protection.

 

aldecaker

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Feb 13, 2015
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"...bored sailors, not very bright, on a ship with masts..."
With constantly working 4 hours on, 4 hours off, with only half of Sunday for down time, and using that for washing/mending clothes, airing out your hammock, and possibly attending required spiritual services, how could they get bored? Then again, they carved a lot of whale's teeth, so I guess they found time somewhere.

 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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Most sailors didn’t sign up, but were “pressed” into service. Sometimes, a passenger going to the colonies was just taken by another ship, or men hanging out on a shoreline, too stupid not to run when they see the longboat approaching. So, it wasn’t neccesarily a rigid and fair work schedule for everyone.

 

aldecaker

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Feb 13, 2015
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I thought that was why the bo'sun beat the shit out of them with a belaying pin- for slackin'. Now that was old-fashioned labor relations!

 

jaytex969

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Jun 6, 2017
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Kind of related, I think....
When I was in the army, we once had a Sergeant Major who would show up and yell about how he liked to see us "soldiering".
Someone discovered along the way that one definition of soldiering was "to make a false pretense of work to avoid punishment".
After we learned that, we always replied, "Yes, Sergeant Major! We're SOLDIERING!" :lol:


 

aquadoc

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Feb 15, 2017
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On Make & Mend day, typically Sunday or Monday, sailors did actually "process" Tobacco for pipe smoking, snuff, and chewing. I have an old manuscript in storage that discusses making tobacco ropes, using the weight/force and leverage of blocks and sails to press tobacco, and working tobacco leaves to shred for immediate smoking after it has been soaked in a rum/sugar/molasses mixture and dried. Mold was a problem in tropical climates so many kept their tobacco in small kegs of rum. Will post a link to the PDF when I find it. I am a huge Napoleonic wars British, American, and French Navy's buff. A lot of diaries and other documentation are out there.

 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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Well, not being an expert on ancient naval ways, I’ll forgo arguing that it didn’t happen. But, I’ll just add that with a gentle twist while rolling my own tobacco twists that I can wring the juices out of a whole pound of tobacco without needing any contraptions. And, it stays tight by the constant pressure of the twist turning into itself, without having tie twine around it. It’s really very easy.