Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Then and now in Paris

 Before there were lampposts, elevators, refrigerators and all those things that we think are essential today, other techniques were used, traces of which still remain. If you live on the top floor of a Paris building without an elevator there's one thing you want, non?  A pulley or lucarne to bring up those bottles of wine, charcuterie, and groceries, right? At least I'd think so. This one on the Left Back is from two centuries ago.  It was used for  sacks of grain or flour. Even piano's as I've heard. But feeling the ache in my arms from countless trips and down with suitcases, etc I've astounded that no one in apartment building have this inside chez maison entre-nous in the stairwell. It confounds me. 
In the 1880's there were 30,000 wells providing drinking water in Paris. Today, there are little more than 350 wells, sometimes filled, scattered around the city or in cellars. This well, a remnant of medieval times, was the only water source in this building without running water. Just think about carrying up buckets and buckets to the upper floors. Actually people paid people to do just that. Again, not to put someone out of work, but why not use a pulley to haul up water. 
Here's a 19th century shoe/boot/clog scrapper that while handy then with all the muddy streets it's handy now considering all the dog poop on Parisian streets. 

Before the refrigerator, which became essential in our kitchen, we kept food cool in the pantry: its exterior part is still visible in a large number of Parisian buildings. To keep the temperature low, there were street ice vendors who bought whole blocks. Stick your perishables in that grill and add a bit of ice from the ice men who marketed on the streets. My San Francisco house, built in the 1870's, had an 'ice box' space out the lightwell window like this, too. 
Here's a medieval space for a lighting fixture and it would be cost effective too. Carved in the stone of the facades, niches in the shape of bottles were intended to accommodate oil lamps. The lighting of these lamps by the district lighter took place every evening, at nightfall. The lights were switched off automatically when the fuel was exhausted.  

Packed in my bag - ready and waiting to board a plane - are two pulleys just in case!

Cara -Tuesday

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