[LMB] WGW literacy and paper generally

WILLIAM A WENRICH wawenri at msn.com
Mon Jan 28 13:09:41 GMT 2019

I’ve always thought that the Farmers were on the verge of the water powered part of the industrial revolution. They have water powered grist mills and sawmills at least. I don’t think anything was mentioned about what powered the mint’s presses. We never saw Tripoint directly but I would be surprised if they didn’t use water powered furnace blowers and drop hammers. 
The Lakewalker insistence on being mobile (for good reason) is fraying around the edges even in the North. 
It may be time for true cooperation between the groups. There are many other ways of organizing besides Lords and Slaves. The Lakewalkers don’t want to be dependent but most, especially ones like Dar, look way down at Farmers. Aside from Luthia, does anyone fit Farmers make horseshoes?

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> On Jan 27, 2019, at 8:06 PM, "pouncer at aol.com" <pouncer at aol.com> wrote:
> John Lennard writes: 
>> The big question is literacy. Every time the historians 
>> revise their estimates, it seems that more people were 
>> more literate earlier, but (a) literacy falls as well as 
>> rises, and (b) it didn't make a big enough difference 
>> until the printing press began to generate a lot more 
>> things that could be read.
>> Do we know with certainty that there are or are not 
>> printing presses in the WGW? 
>      No but that's not to mention the problem of paper making.
> Mass producing paper, that is. Or making industrial quantities 
> of parchment or other alternatives. 
>      I think we generally are shown actual paper through 
> out the WGW.  Paper making in the just-pre-industrial era 
> of our history tended to involve a lot of rag-picking.  But 
> we see the problems, high labor cost, and low production 
> rate of spinning and knitting to get cloth both at West 
> Blue and the Lakewalker camp. The idea of rag going to the 
> scrap collectors is hard to envision. 
>      Other sources of fiber have been used -- papyrus of 
> course.  Flax.  Hemp.  It would not completely surprise me 
> to learn there was a Lakewalker camp in the south, on the 
> river, supplying a farmer town with plunkin husk fibers to 
> feed that industry.  Some sources of fiber like the flax 
> have to be "retted" -- a process I confess not to quite 
> get. I have the impression from the word itself it's 
> related to "rot" -- biological digestion of one kind of 
> molecule, interrupted to get something convenient and not 
> mushy.  
>      Ha, now I'm thinking of silk worm fiber, and silk 
> fabric,  and BUTTER BUGS -- turning raw organic matter into 
> something useful.  And what Fawn calls MILKWEED BUGS (I 
> always sort of assumed to be Monarch ButterFLIES.)  My 
> memories are tingling.  Google ... YES! At least a few 
> people have posted techniques for harvesting milkweed fluff 
> and stalks and making paper from that plant. So, possible 
> but not maybe THE solution. 
>      Making enough milkweed paper to put together a leather 
> bound book -- wow!  What effort!  
>      All that does NOT reduce the value of literacy though.  
> Where we started.  Painted signs -- mixing images and text 
> like an instructional comic book, I'd guess -- would be 
> helpful in a lot of situations. (What's a geographical map 
> except such a mixed document?) The record book.  Labels on 
> the glass jars and clay pots to show contents. Initials 
> branded into items both personal and manufactured -- like a 
> trademark or hallmark. The property records also imply 
> offers, bids, contracts, bills of lading, packing slips, 
> notice of defects, complaints, one-star-reviews for bad 
> products, and solitictations for sexual services...  The 
> sort of stuff archeologists dig out of trash middens all 
> over the world for all literate societies. There were all
> kinds and classes of people sending each other notes, and
> graffiti-ing up the walls, in all kinds of places and 
> cultures, long before Gutenberg.
>      Anyhow,  I want to not to focus on moveable type.  A 
> hammer stamper and rollers to squeeze fabric into screens 
> is as important to paper making.  Riverside mills, again. 
> Machines.  We see a culture in renaissance, and it's great. 
> --
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