Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Even more tent links - with a focus on the extant

After all those links to tent images, we might think that was all the info we had on construction of medeival and renaisance tents, but actually we have extant tents and patterns for tents from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Extant tents

This circular tent dated to 1542-1545 owned by a spanish general, but "constructed in muslim india" shows some features which are interpreted by some as sockets for a hub spoke attachment. Unfortunately no construction closeups.

This circular 17th C (pre 1655) tent uses thin wedges of canvas for the roof and covers all the seams with coloured tape.  Looking at the lovely closeups of the inside of the seams I can only see two lines of stitching - the seam itself and the stitching down of the tape. If I were constructing a tent and expecting it to be sturdy, I'd be using some form of sewing which enclosed the seams, and I'd favour the jeans seam style of felling (like this repair on the right probably has). There is no extra seam that corresponds to stitching down the canvas, nor is there a second seam for the tape. This implies to me the tape is an integral part of enclosing the seam. If the tape is sewn into the construction seam, and then it is stitched down to enclose both canvas edges, this would work quite nicely, and the tape probably folds easier than canvas, and you are only ever sewing through a maximum of two thicknesses of canvas, and only holding the tape flat when sewing it down. I think this might be a very easy way to sew construction seams. I also note that blue thread is used to sew down the tape, and the sewing is a running stitch without apparent locking stitches. Also photographed in detail are the grommets that hold the ropes, and crowsfoot rope arrangements.

An extant 17th C double bell tent shows lovely details of  a wall to roof attachment with toggles
It also shows side seams on the walls that are clearly in two parts (ie some kind of fold over and stitch down method), single rope attachments (not crowsfoot) in what appear to be very small holes reinforced with wooden washers.

Tent patterns

I also promised links to tent pattens. Courtesy of this fascinating blogger, we have images of tent poles in sections, and details of take down poles.

This 1590's Austrian tailoring pattern book has a pattern for a circular tent, made from simple triangles and rectangles and fitted to the width of the fabric. I'm not sure which triangles are which though - which make up the roof and why are a second set needed? Why is the door? using a funny arrangement of triangles? What does the text say?

This Milanese tailoring pattern book c1540 is full complex configurations of pavilions, including one that appears to have fake campsite walls. I'd call them fanciful, but they are full of measurements of fabric needed, so someone at least hoped they'd get paid to make these. There is a lovely plan for cutting out pavillion pieces that uses modified triangles and rectangles.


Paul Harrison said...

I suspect crowsfoot ropes are modern knotting.

I've seen several paintings of campsites with cloth walls... usually with a bit of roof as well or forming an actual corridor. eg the field of cloth of gold painting, center top.

Teffania said...

Hmm, I didn't think of that, but the ropes could have been replaced, although the text says the hooks on the end are original. But if the fabric survived, and the hooks did, then the ropes might have?

I've seen corridors between tents, but what facinates be about this example is that it is clearly a 2D wall, not a roofed corridor. I hadn't spotted the field of cloth of gold example before, but it isn't quite as unambiguous (although the people standing right behind the cloth is clearer than many), whereas this example actually shows the support stakes for the wall at the back, making it very clear it isn't a corridor or roofed.