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The Reverend Introduces a (nearly) Open Source Machine

Ladies knitted stockings are all the rage so the English poor have set their hands to knitting. Vocational schools have opened to teach this valuable skill. In the midst of this flurry of activity, the Reverend William Lee invents a knitting machine. He believes it will make him money and gain the love of his lady fair. To protect his business interests he seeks a patent from Queen Elizabeth the 1st, but if she grants a patent she believes that she will put a lot of people out of work. Request denied! Over the next few years the Reverend will make improvements to his invention and in 1612 he will receive a patent from the King of France. He moves his operation to France and will train French apprentices. He will also sell his knitting machines. His design will be in use for the next 200 years. Elements of his design will remain in use into the modern day. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Reverend is not just selling stockings. HE IS SELLING HIS KNITTING MACHINES! It is difficult to exaggerate the monumental impact this will have on the industry. A patent protects an inventor from having his ideas stolen, but it also creates a bottleneck. If the inventor is under-capitalized his factory output will be limited. By selling his knitting machines, the Reverend created competition but also gained the support of people who would otherwise be his enemies... like any knitters who might "accidentally" set fire to his factory. The best knitters could buy his machine to increase their production and offer suggestions for improvements to his machine. The most productive people make out well and society benefits from the spread of knowledge. It's not quite "open source" but selling those knitting machines took more genius than actually inventing the darn things. (Was that a pun?)

Alex Shrugged notes: I'm grateful to authors: Eric Flint and Gorg Huff for exploring what might happen when a fundamentally good idea is introduced to an industry that is fully invested in doing it "the old way". A modern example is the reaction of American gun manufacturers when the Glock was introduced to the public by an Austrian man whose only prior experience was making curtain rods. [8] [9]

The Werewolf of Bedburg and Preserving One's Humanity

The Sewer War is over. (It's called the Sewer War because a castle was taken by soldiers gaining entrance by crawling through the crapper.) But the people remain on edge. The farmers find heaps of animal entrails and meat left to rot in the fields. Now several young girls and two women have been found dead. One of the women has her heart ripped out. The farmers suspect a werewolf and corner a farmer named Peter Stump. They threaten him with torture so he confesses to the murders. He also confesses to various sex crimes including sex with his own daughter. He says that Satan gave him a belt that would turn him into a wolf. That was enough for the mob. He was tied to a wagon wheel, his limbs broken, his head lopped off and then he was burned to ashes along with the bodies of his wife and daughter who had been strangled beforehand. The Werewolf of Bedburg remains a curiosity into the modern day, with a mention in the cartoon movie, "Big Top Scooby-Doo!". [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Did he do it? No telling. The one documented source appears reasonable... other than they are assuming that werewolves exist and that Satan hands out belts like he was the president of the World Wrestling Federation. There are some sick people who enjoy torturing animals. That is why we have strict standards for the slaughtering of animals. No fooling around. It has to be quick and reasonably painless. These rules protect our souls as much as they protect the animals. And hunting is mostly done for herd control so that the animals don't suffer. Too many animals in the wild means not enough food for the winter and thus animals will suffer unless someone shoots a few of them. The rangers make a count of the herd, figure the bag limit and issue hunting licenses accordingly. These rules for killing are a discipline that keep us from becoming animals ourselves.

Henry Kills Henry, then Henry is Killed in Turn so Henry Takes the Throne *

In the "War of the Three Henrys," King Henry of France has been winning battles against the Huguenots led by Henry of Naverre who happens to be a Protestant and the heir to the throne of France should King Henry die... like in one of these battles for example. Henry, the Duke of Guise who is head of the Catholic League demands that King Henry annul the heir apparent before something terrible happens to the King. Actually, the Duke wouldn't mind something terrible happening to the King, but if it does, the Duke wants to be king and not the Protestant Henry. Since the King is more fearful of the Duke than he is of the Huguenots, King Henry has the Duke assassinated. (Don't feel too sorry for the Duke. He was going to have the King assassinated.) Then a Catholic monk appears at court with a secret message for the King. Such messages are common so he approaches the throne as the King's guards step back to give them privacy. The messenger then stabs the King with a dagger. The messenger is killed on the spot. The King dies the next morning. Henry of Navarre becomes King Henry the 4th of France... exactly what was NOT supposed to happen. [17] [18]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
If you can believe it, this entire mess was orchestrated by the King of Spain who was fighting for Catholicism but wanted France occupied in a civil war so that he could quell the rebellion in the Netherlands without interference. The loss of a third of the Spanish Armada made the King of Spain vulnerable. King Henry the 4th was a Protestant but he got so much flack for it as King that after a few years he repudiated his Calvinism in order to rule France.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1589, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. History of knitting - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 3 June 2015. “During this era the manufacture of stockings was of vast importance to many Britons, who knitted with fine wool and exported their wares. Knitting schools were established as a way of providing an income to the poor.”
  2. Strumpf & Geschichte Raum 8. German Hosiery Museum (2003). Retrieved on 3 June 2015. “With the availability of luxurious, knit silk stockings, these became the new 'must-haves' in women's fashion. The first woman to own such a pair of stockings in England was supposedly Mary Stuart (1542-1568), followed by Queen Elizabeth I., who received a pair in 1561 as a present from the Countess Montague.”
  3. Queen Elizabeth's Influence on Elizabethan Fashion. ElizabethanCostume.net (2005). Retrieved on 3 June 2015. “In fact, Elizabeth's first pair of knitted silk stockings came to her as a gift on New Year's Day. She was so delighted with them that she immediately commissioned more to be made for her, and soon many courtiers of her court were beggaring themselves to afford the terribly fashionable, and terribly expensive, silk hose that the Queen was so fond of.”
  4. Hosiery and Pantyhose History. TIM Legwear (2007). Retrieved on 3 June 2015. “1589 - Frame-work knitting machine invented by Rev. William Lee”
  5. William Lee (inventor) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 3 June 2015. “William Lee (was born 1563 -- died 1614) was an English clergyman and inventor who devised the first stocking frame knitting machine in 1589, the only one in use for centuries. Its principle of operation remains in use.[”
  6. William Lee inventor of the framework knitting machine. Hucknall-Torkard.com. Archived from the original on May 17, 2011.
  7. William Lee - biography - English inventor. Britannica.com (2015). Retrieved on 3 June 2015. “Lee, a clergyman at Calverton, is said to have developed the machine because a woman whom he was courting showed more interest in knitting than in him. His first machine produced a coarse wool, for stockings. Refused a patent by Queen Elizabeth I, he built an improved machine that produced a silk of finer texture, but the queen again denied him a patent because of her concern for the security of the kingdom's many hand knitters.”
  8. (November 2004) "The Sewing Circle", Grantville Gazette, Volume I, Eric Flint (author, editor), Gorg Huff (author of "The Sewing Circle"). Retrieved on 4 June 2015. 
  9. Glock: The Rise of America's Gun (BOOK), Crown Publishers. ISBN 9780307719935. 
  10. Peter Stumpp, Werewolf of Bedburg. Werewolves.com (2015). Retrieved on 4 June 2015. “Peter Stumpp (also called Peter Stubbe, Stumpf, and other variations) raped and devoured fourteen children and two pregnant women, that he confessed to. He claimed that he began practicing black magic when he was twelve years old, and that the Devil had given him a magical belt. The belt would turn him into a wolf, and when he took it off he would become human again.”
  11. Peter Stumpp: The Werewolf of Bedburg. FrightCatalog.com (June 24, 2011). Retrieved on 4 June 2015. “Sometime during the year of 1589, Peter Stumpp was accused of being a werewolf. After being stretched on the rack, he confessed to practicing black magic since the age of twelve. He claimed that the Devil gave him a magic girdle, which would allow him to transform into the likeness of a greedy, devouring wolf, strong and mighty, with eyes great and large, which in the night sparkled like fire, a mouth great and wide, with most sharp and cruel teeth, a huge body, and mighty paws.”
  12. Werewolf Legends from Germany. University of Pittsburgh (2010). Retrieved on 4 June 2015. “Thus being apprehended, he was shortly after put to the rack in the town of Bedbur, but fearing the torture, he voluntarily confessed his whole life, and made known the villainies which he had committed for the space of 25 years; also he confessed how by sorcery he procured of the Devil a girdle, which being put on, he forthwith became a wolf, which girdle at his apprehension he confessed he cast it off in a certain valley and there left it, which, when the magistrates heard, they sent to the valley for it, but at their coming found nothing at all, for it may be supposed that it was gone to the Devil from whence it came, so that it was not to be found. For the Devil having brought the wretch to all the shame he could, left him to endure the torments which his deeds deserved.”
  13. The Werewolf of Begburg. The-Line-Up.com (2015). Retrieved on 4 June 2015. “The story of Peter Stumpp can be traced back to an anonymous pamphlet from 1590, which chronicles the grisly case. It stated that the first sign of problems came in the form of slaughtered livestock. But sheep and cattle weren't just turning up dead in the fields -- instead, their carcasses were torn apart and entrails strewn across the ground.”
  14. Old Time Farm Crime: The Werewolf Farmer of Bedburg. ModernFarmer.com (August 5, 2013). Retrieved on 4 June 2015. “When they moved in for the kill, the wolf was nowhere to be seen. They instead found Stubbe. There seems to be some confusion as to whether they actually saw him transform back from being a wolf or if he just happened to be traveling through the woods at this inopportune moment. Either way, under the threat of torture he confessed to the murders of 13 children, two pregnant women and one man.”
  15. The True Story of The Werewolf of Bedburg. About.com (2015). Retrieved on 4 June 2015. “There may be no way of knowing for certain whether Peter Stubbe was a convenient patsy for the authorities (which means a wolf or wolves really were responsible for the deaths), or he was a maniacal serial killer of the most abominable sort.”
  16. Peter Stumpp - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  17. War of the Three Henrys - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 5 June 2015. “With Henry III's death, the coalition broke up. Many Catholic royalists were unwilling to serve the Protestant Henry IV, and the army retreated from Paris.”
  18. Jacques Clément - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 5 June 2015. “Clément was admitted to the king's presence disguised as a priest, and while he was presenting his letters he told the king he had an important and confidential message to deliver. The attendants then withdrew and, as Clément leaned in to whisper in Henry's ear, he mortally wounded him with a dagger concealed beneath his cloak.”

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