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Preparing Tobacco For Going To Sea

(37 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by jaytex969
  • Latest reply from brightleaf
  1. jaytex969

    jaytex969

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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

    Gunner, Black Frigate. Say "Hello" to my little friend!
    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. cosmicfolklore

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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.

    Michael
    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. jaytex969

    jaytex969

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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...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. mso489

    mso489

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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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. james72

    james72

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

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    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.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. beefeater33

    beefeater33

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    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

    "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dream..."
    Willy Wonka
    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. condorlover1

    condorlover1

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    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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Hmmmm, it could be that sailors just had very weak wrists back then.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. beefeater33

    beefeater33

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    Hmmmm, it could be that sailors just had very weak wrists back then.

    I would think that they would have STRONG wrists........... all that time at sea...... alone............

    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Ha ha!!

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    pipeman7

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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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. davet

    davet

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    A "Carrot"

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    aldecaker

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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.

    A man who serves his country is a patriot. A man who serves his government is an employee. The two are not always the same thing.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. cosmicfolklore

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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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    aldecaker

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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!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. jaytex969

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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!"

    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. aquadoc

    aquadoc

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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.

    "If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and sex, you don't actually live longer; it just seems that way."
    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. aquadoc

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    Cosmic, I am far from an expert but you have to remember that just because they did something, it was not necessarily efficient or even smart. There was a very low level of education for those before the mast. As far as this particular method, I have no idea. But they did make ropes and try to press tobacco.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    derekflint

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    I didn't care for the video, but liked the music.......I did a jig !!

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    paulfg

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    dont know if I am allowed to link to other forums ,if not Admin please remove
    http://pipesmokerunlimited.com/showthread.php?10205-A-Navy-Prick&highlight=prick

    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. jpmcwjr

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    Hmmm. A prick made by seamen!

    OK, I admit it must have been a real thing, but calling it a prick??

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    pipeman7

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    It's really unfortunate how mr Lower Case was treated. Him and the art guy were the contributors

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. mso489

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    Based on my duty on a wooden warship -- no, guys it wasn't a square rigger, it was an anti-magnetic minesweeper, but the nearest thing to the wooden ships of old commissioned by the Navy in the 1950's and still in service in 1970 -- I am sorry to report that the only tobacco consumption aboard that vessel was cigarettes, which I never smoked except as a young child on rare occasions. I enjoyed an occasional cigar onshore at the time, but no cigarettes and never a pipe. As far as I know, there were no sailors or officers who smoked pipes aboard. There were several crewmen who were rumored to enjoy other recreational "things," not smoked, including the senior gunner's mate, but no pipes at all. He was a former PBR crewman (patrol boat river) similar I think to some duty Forums member brad did. But no pipes on the wooden ship, at last report.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. jaytex969

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    Given dialects and word of mouth progression (ever play that game where you whisper a message down the line and see how messed up it is at the end), it's not a far stretch from "perique" to "prick", nor from "carrotte" to "carrot".

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    pipeman7

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    Given dialects and word of mouth progression (ever play that game where you whisper a message down the line and see how messed up it is at the end), it's not a far stretch from "perique" to "prick", nor from "carrotte" to "carrot".

    Yea but carrotte is just french carrot. Perique they aren't sure of the etymology or why the indians called it that I think, but one suggestion was prick

    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Perique is slang for prick in French, or at least that's what I keep getting told. We didn't cover profanity in any of my four years of French classes. Funny, I never took Spanish, but I know way more profanity in Spanish. Thanks Cheech and Chong.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. saltedplug

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    If I remember Tambolaka could be purchased wrapped in twine as was the method in the video, very dry, and I made the mistake of not steaming it prior to cutting it with a butcher knife, it coming apart in shards and ricocheting off the walls.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    pipeman7

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    I've never been able to find any good sources that perique is a reference to prick. everywhere seems to claim it was called perique because pierre chanet was a prick but is perique really slang for prick? the other claim is it was called perique because of the appearance of the carrotte but all tobacco not just perique was packaged like that. It does sound french but i wonder if it comes the french pronunciation an indian word for the actual process of making perique. if there was any other kid of reference to perique as prick unrelated to tobacco then that would prove its true. Obviously perique does sound like the way french pronounce prick in english so of course it could be

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    pipeman7

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    everything i can find says perique was his nickname so maybe thats true. does anyone have any sources for info on the choctaw and perique other than that the widely quoted info they packed it in hollow logs and covered it up with a rock?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  33. mso489

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    aldecaker, referencing your post, in the 1970's, "rope yarn Sunday," a time set aside to fold and mend clothes, was still defined in the Bluejacket's Manual, a sort of primer for sailors, but it was described as usually being done on Wednesday, the Sunday aspect just being a way of saying time off. It never happened on my ship. Laundry was done by a crewman for everyone in a common washer dryer. Mending was your own problem; fortunately, I was handy at doing buttons and small tears, and also fortunately, no one noticed nor asked me to do theirs. Haircuts were done by a senior cook. The laundry man also operated the soda and candy concession ("gedunk") out of the skullery (dish washing area) between meals. On a small ship, everyone and everything did double duty. Some of the worst coffee I've ever ingested, but free and available 24 hours. I think it was cut with chicory.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  34. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Pipeman7, Mark Ryan tells the joke of an Indian whose wife hates the smell of tobacco in the teepee, so he has to go smoke outside. He hides his tobacco under a rock, and forgets where he put it, till months later he returns to find his tobacco fermented. Other than this speculation, there is no references to Native Americans making perique, nor it's origins. It was grown and developed in a very obscure patch of dirt along the rive in St James Parrish. But, as to particulars to its origins,.. sadly much of the Native American, or PreColumbian, tobacco rituals or lore about tobacco was recorded more like fairy tales by the white men. We can't rely on records, and the Native Americans we obliterated in these areas, so... the answer is no. I've read stacks of books on tobacco, but nothing seems remotely reliable.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    aldecaker

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    MSO, that's in my Dad's copy of the Manual from 1957, as well. I wish it went into more detail than it does, though. Interesting stuff, those old customs and terms.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  36. mso489

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    aldecaker, thanks! For some reason, I had a Bluejacket's Manual in high school, about 1963. Ref. the youTube, heat, steam, aging, and pressure have always been the basics in processing tobacco. The most rudimentary pressure is two planks and two or three C-clamps, but the old sailors probably didn't have the clamps to spare. They could do wonders with line (rope), fancy stuff with splicing, monkeys' fists, very intricate and artful. My favorite knot is the clove hitch for instant tying on a boat line on a pier upright. My version is too clunky, but my dad did these instantly. It was like a magic trick, and effectively tighter as the boat tugged on it.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  37. brightleaf

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    Here's a short description of Navy Cut tobacco

    POSSIBLY, contentment is not only the chief element of life, but also one of the very foundations of society. If this be so, then as Tobacco is the enemy of malice, friend of virtue, and a direct cause for content, its use should be encouraged. -J.W. Cundall 1901
    Posted 1 year ago #

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