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What I'm TRAYing to Tell You

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Hey, Footlocker Fans!

Here on the Everything Summer Camp Blog we love talking about the history of camping gear you’re likely to find on your camp’s packing list as well as other everyday tools—everything from hammocks to hairbrushes.

We don’t have to dig quite so deep for today’s history lesson. We’re looking back less than 30 years ago, before we switched to our esteemed trunk accessory, the Glide N’ Go Tray. Before we developed such a great product, C&N Footlockers came with a tray whether you ordered it or not.

Out with the Old…
Our original tray was made of plywood and lined with the same liner that we used to use on the interior of our trunks. It took up the entire top of the trunk so every time you needed to access the contents of the trunk below, you had to remove the tray (which offered no convenient handle) and set it down somewhere large enough. It was a very cumbersome piece.

…In with the New
Switched over to the Glide N’ Go Tray, made of very durable plastic, weighs much less, and takes up half the space of our original tray. It has a lid to it so you can pack it full and be sure nothing spills out. It’s also designed to glide along a couple of rails in the trunk that we install so you have easy access to the contents below while still making use of otherwise unusable space in your camp trunk.

From customer outreach and surveys we’ve taken, we know our switch to the Glide N’ Go Tray was well-received. We always love improving upon our products—that’s what keeps our C&N Footlockers the leading brand name in camp trunks. Click right here to browse our entire selection of traditional steel trunks as well as our extensive and innovative collection of Designer Trunks.

As always, thanks for reading and happy camping!

 

- John


Stone Age Silverware

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Hey, Camp Folks!

While the summer camp experience is all about showing us a primitive and natural perspective of the world, there are some frills that no one really wants to leave behind—even when you plan on roughin’ it! Cutlery—forks, spoons, and knives—is one invention that you really don’t want to go camping without. Unless you’re just really into your chopsticks or you’re constantly opting for finger foods, you probably use a fork, a spoon, or a knife each and every day.

To be fair, primitive people in the Stone Age used eating utensils like spoons and knives pretty much since Day One. It seems we’ve never really been without eating utensils (they just didn’t look quite like the refined silverware we use so often now). What does the history of cutlery look like? Let’s investigate:

Knives
Knives are thought to be the first on the scene, long before civilization started. Sharp stones were likely collected along the way of our Stone Age ancestors’ travels as they would be used to cut meat, vegetables, fruit, and anything else they may have needed to cut.

Spoons
Spoons are thought to have come along soon after if not the same time as the knife. Folks in the early days would find hollowed out pieces of wood or seashells and connect them to wooden sticks to be used as spoons.

Forks
While there was a very early appearance of the knife and spoon, it was hundreds of thousands of years before the fork came along. Ancient Chinese civilization brought chopsticks about 5000 years ago. The fork followed after another thousand years—carved from wood or animal bones back in its beginning. They were initially made rather large as it was originally intended for serving rather than eating.

The Roman Empire’s metallurgy industry transformed eating utensils into pieces of bronze and silver—a great upgrade from the typical materials: wood, bone, and stone. Nowadays, cutlery has mostly remained metal with the same basic design, but the advent of plastic has seen plastic cutlery which experimented with the spoon and fork combination, the spork. With that, enjoy perusing our cutlery options for camping in our Mess Kit options. Take a look by clicking here. As always, thanks for reading!

 

- John


The Last Day in February

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Hey, Camp Folks!

Question for ya: What’s tomorrow? The first of March has a tendency to sneak up on folks, since February is always cut short two—but more often three days. So what happens to February 29 during Non-Leap years? And why is February the only month to come in at under 30 days? Let’s take a look into the matter.

It was the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, who tacked on two months to the calendar that would follow the month of December. The names of certain months give the calendar away as originally having just ten months. October, for example, is the tenth month, but octo means eight. It’s the same story with December—it’s the twelfth month though deca means ten.

February 30th
Along with the names of the months, the calendar got messed up in other ways thanks to the addition of these two added months, like the amount of days allotted to each month. There is record from a 13th century historian that claims there was a 37-year period in which February saw 30 days during leap years, but that was using the Julian calendar and not the Gregorian (which we use today).

Sweden Time
In the early 1700s, Sweden reverted back and forth between the Julian and Gregorian calendars which led to years that were observed as leap years because of errors. These error years left Sweden out of sync with the Julian calendar as well as the Gregorian. In 1712, they went back to the Julian calendar, adding two leap days to that year to make it work. Eventually, in 1753, they finally joined the rest of the world, returning to the Gregorian calendar by removing 11 days from the year so that February 17 was followed by March 1. Swedes were rather upset with the management, complaining 11 days of their lives were stolen.

USSR Holidays
The Soviet Union introduced a calendar in 1929 that tried to revolutionize the calendar year. Their calendar proposed five-day weeks—meant for industrial efficiency, eliminating the typical non-work days of Saturday and Sunday. Their calendar provided 30-day months consistently through the year aside from five or six days leftover that were left as “holidays” that belonged to no month. This calendar was used from 1930-1931.

It seems that a consistent calendar is pretty much impossible to create since leap days required to fill in the gaps of our year every four years. Time’s a tricky thing. Especially if your birthday is on March 29! Anyway, till next time, Camp Fans! And, as always, thanks for reading!

 

- John


Grasping at Straws

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Hey, Straw-Sippers!

At first glance, one would easily assume that straws are a frill of the modern day—something that likely came around about the same time as 1950s diners and fast food chains. But they go back much further than that! Nowadays, we’ve got straws made from a variety of materials. The most common that you’ll find here at Everything Summer Camp are plastic—but not the disposable sort, utilized within a water bottle. Otherwise, there are metal straws, paper straws, disposable plastic straws, and more.

Still I’m sure none of you have used a straw like the first ones ever made. Older than the invention of paper itself, history tells us straws were first invented 6 to 7000 years ago by the ancient Mesopotamians who crafted them out of wood and sometimes gold! The purpose came in warmer, buggier climates, making it easy to avoid any insects that may have landed in their drinks.

The 1800s brought about new methods and materials for construction as well as an increase in popularity for this ancient drinking method. 

Why Not Rye?
The Industrial Revolution in America saw straws getting made from organic elements. Popular materials were rye and wheat grains. These straws—rye especially—would lend a grass-like taste to a beverage. They’d also get soggy quickly. People were ultimately left unimpressed. While the public appreciated the concept, they saw plenty of room for improvement. At least one American inventor, Marvin Stone, did.

Stone’s Straws
Marvin Stone came up with the paper straw which proved to be far superior to the grain straws, both in sustainability and consumer-friendliness. Marvin’s family was already in the business of tubular products such as pencil sharpeners, giving him an edge on straw manufacturing of a large scale. He determined the perfect straw length and width—8.5 inches by 21.5 centimeters. And he developed his manufacturing process: wrap pencils in paper, glue the paper, remove the pencil.

Drastic Plastic
A sudden boom of fast-food restaurants in the 20th Century brought a great demand for disposable plastics such as cutlery and straws. Novelty straws only upped the plastic game with patents like Slurpee Straws and Crazy Straws. For whatever reason, plastic straws were pushed and normalized for over 60 years, kicking paper straws aside despite their obvious benefit to the environment over plastic.

The fight against disposable plastic straws is being fought with reusable water bottles as well as reusable straws. Do your part and shop our selection when you click right here. And, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Folks! Till next time.

 

- John


Degrees if you Please

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Hey, Temperature-Takers!

No matter the season, people are constantly checking the temperature in order to know how to dress as well as what to expect from the weather. A valuable technology for camping, Lewis N. Clark Digital Flashlight Alarm Clock (https://everythingsummercamp.com/collections/lewis-n-clark-travel-accessories/products/digital-flashlight-clock) features the calendar day and date and, of course, the temperature!

Checking the temperature is such an everyday habit for us, it might be hard to imagine a time when we couldn’t. But it was just less than 500 years ago that there were no thermometers and no unit of measurement either such as the Fahrenheit or Celsius scales we use today.

Over 400 years ago in the late 1600s, Galileo and a few others rigged up what they called a thermoscope. Thermoscopes worked using tools in water to measure buoyancy and, thus, were able to detect changes in temperature. The degree scale had yet to be developed, which meant that thermoscopes couldn’t actually pinpoint a specific temperature just the rising or falling of heat.

It was 1654 when the Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand II, got wise and used alcohol enclosed in a glass tube. The alcohol would expand and contract when heated and cooled—the very phenomenon at work in our modern mercury thermometers. This was essentially the first thermometer, however, there still was no standardized scale for measuring temperature.

It was Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit—a German physicist who developed our standardized Fahrenheit scale and invented the modern mercury thermometer in 1714. Of course, even the mercury thermometer is a bit outdated as we now have digital thermometers like our Lewis N. Clark Digital Flashlight Alarm Clock.

Digital thermometers work a whole different way. Inside them, there is a resistor as well as a tiny computing mechanism. Changes in temperature register a change in the amount of resistance applied by the resistor and the computing piece converts the difference in resistance into temperature and offers a digital readout.

Stay warm through these chilly winter days and check out the Lewis N. Clark Digital Flashlight Clock as well as our entire Lewis N Clark collection right here(https://everythingsummercamp.com/collections/lewis-n-clark-travel-accessories). As always, thanks for reading, Folks! Till next time.

 

- John