Ask the Librarian
Q: Did the expedition members use forks?
A: I don't know for sure about forks but on the manifest for camp "equipage"
two-dozen tablespoons are listed. i
Q: How did they light their fires?
A: The most probable method that they used was flint and steel, striking
a spark into a piece of char cloth (a bird's nest works as well) to hold the
spark and placing extremely dry tinder on it and blowing gently until it ignites.
Lewis when equipping the expedition ordered 30 steels and 100 flints. They
may have also used "lucifers," which were a type of phosphorous friction match
but this is unsubstantiated. ii
For more information see the citation below.
Q: What books did they bring on the expedition?
The nautical almanac and astronomical ephemeris . . . published by order of the Commissioners of Longitude (London, 1781-1804).
Nevil, Maskelyn, Tables requisite to be used with the nautical ephemeris for finding the latitude and longitude at sea (London, 1781).
Richard Kirwan, Elements of mineralogy (London, 1784; Second edition, 1794).
Benjamin Smith Barton, Elements of botany; or, outlines of the natural history of vegetables (Philadelphia, 1803).
Patrick Kelly, A practical introduction to spherics and nautical astronomy; being an attempt to simplify those . . . sciences. Containing . . . the discovery of a projection for clearing the lunar distances in order to find the longitude at sea . . . (London, 1796).
John Miller, An illustration of the sexual system of Linnaeus, vol.
1 (London, 1779) and An illustration of the termini botanici of Linnaeus,
vol. 2 (London, 1789). iii
Q: How many fiddles did they bring along and how long did they last?
A: They brought at least two that were last mentioned at the Mandan village going east in 1806!
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