Friday, January 18, 2008

Random facts

From my history book, in reference to the Crimean War:

"The war is also remembered for the fashions established at the time. The British general, Lord Raglan, wore an overcoat in which the sleeves went directly to the neck without shoulder seams. Today we call such sleeves 'raglan sleeves'. The leader of the Light Brigade, Lord Cardigan, popularized a sweater that buttoned down the front and could be easily slipped on under a uniform jacket. Sweaters of this type are now known as cardigans. Even the ordinary soldiers in the British ranks introduced a new item. Cold and shivering on the plains of Balaclava, they kept themselves warm by pulling woolen socks over their heads. They cut holes in them for their eyes and mouths. The soldiers called them 'Balaclava helmets'. We call them ski masks."

It almost sounds silly now... we know about cardigan sweaters, so it seems more like Lord Cardigan was named after the sweater, rather than the other way around!


Beth said...

Hmmm...I don't think a balaclava is the same thing as a ski mask. Of course, maybe it IS in South Carolina. They probably put toboggans on their heads there, too.

I think of a ski mask as the kind with separate eye holes...a bank robber hat. :) Balaclavas just have a big open area that can be adjusted to cover nose and mouth. Sometimes they show them pulled down around the neck instead of covering much of the face at all.

Do you picture Lord Cardigan looking like Mister Rogers?

Uncle Jim said...

And who buys most of the balaclavas made today? Hint... they're made out of Kevlar or Nomex. :)

Natalie said...

I'm not sure exactly, but it has something to do with guns?? Am I right?

Uncle Jim said...

Indirectly... all your local "tacticool" (S.W.A.T.) teams wear 'em, ostensibly to protect against knives & flash grenades, but more importantly, to avoid being identified.

(Race drivers wear white NOMEX suits with balaclava-like headgear, so they're probably right behind the local boyz in blue, purchase-quantity wise.)

Rebecca said...

Heehee...speaking of cardigans, I finally bought that one from Delia's :D