Could you thrive/survive in the 1850's?

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by M118LR, Jun 25, 2017.

  1. M118LR

    M118LR Caution: Does not play well with others.

    Social issues aside, have you made the preparations that would allow you to thrive/survive during the 1850's? Have you (not could you) retained the skills required to thrive/survive with any form of electricity or modern convince prior to 1850?
    Aeason and Motomom34 like this.
  2. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Nope... I'd be a starvin' pilgrim within a week. :p
  3. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Yes.......but it won't be fun. It takes a lot of work to survive.!!
  4. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey Site Supporter++

    Negative, but it's something I've been working on as well as property I could use to sustain my family. Community is also a key part.

    If it really was the 1850's I'd just sell one of my AR-15's to Sam Colt and live like a king.
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  5. Legion489

    Legion489 Rev. 2:19 Banned

    Sam Colt was one of the "not invented here (by ME!!)" types, he would hate the AR-15 and turned you away (look at all the stuff he WAS offered and turned away!). Try Winchester, they would jump on it.

    While I would (probably/maybe) survive the lifestyle, a couple of accidents/injuries probably would have put me in the ground. I would not look forward to "Hold him down boys while I cut/dig that out of his guts!"
    Aeason, Motomom34, M118LR and 2 others like this.
  6. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    As a child in the early 1940's living in rural Minn we lived close to the way they had in the 1890's. No electricity, no running water, no tractor, no central heat, etc. However, in the late 1940's I caught rabbit fever and without the modern medicine of that time I would have died, the cemetery headstones from the 1860's showed that about half of the people died before they reached 21 and clusters of deaths indicated that disease outbreaks sometimes killed a lot of people in a short time. Raise food, get water, keep warm or cool, keep clothed, fair chance, keep alive if some medical emergency happened, no chance at all. If a real SHTF situation were to occur, a good old fashioned doctor would be of more value to most survival groups than almost any other resource. In fact for half of most groups, their chances of survival would increase many times if he happened to be OBGY trained. Try telling the women of child bearing age in your group that a doctor or good midwife is not a valuable addition to your group and you may be sleeping alone and eating your own cooking.
    Tully Mars, Legion489, Aeason and 6 others like this.
  7. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    I am similar to @duane : If I had been born in the mid 1800's I would have died at a young age from kidney failure. Back then if you made it to 35 you were the town elder.

    Other than being monitored by a nephrologist twice a year, today I live a totally normal life. By the way, I am one of the 0.5% of kidney patients who make a full recovery without needing a renal transplant. I am blessed and I know it. I feel like I won the "kidney lottery".

    One of my close friends is a doctor and even she will admit that without modern medical tests and diagnostic equipment, her MD degree is just a glorified Boy Scout first aid merit badge. Last year she went on a church mission trip to Latin America and said that other than immunizations and treating common, easily recognizable diseases, she could not do much. One villager had a lumpy growth; my friend could not tell what it was just by looking at it. It might be cancer, it might be just a benign blob of fat. There is only one modern hospital in the country and it is a day's travel away.

    A lot of people still are living in the 1850s.
  8. M118LR

    M118LR Caution: Does not play well with others.

    Modern medicine & sanitation have taken great strides, but it wouldn't take long for many medical supplies to run out.All in all society as we know it today couldn't function for a prolonged period in 1850's conditions.
    I'm not sure how many folks today have even spent a week in a lodge/resort/cabin/hunting shack without running water, indoor toilets, central heat & air, or electricity? Are campsites like these still called "Rustic"? Or have "Rustic" campsites included electric hookups, community toilets/showers, maybe even WIFI?

    As far back as the 1960's the American side of the Boundary Waters had predetermined campsites with outhouse's/latrines, while on the Canadian side a premier campsite might have had a stack of cut fire wood. How many fishing/hunting camps or even "Vacation" cabins do you see nowadays that are not dependent on post 1850's technology? How many folks have actually pumped the handle on a manual water pump? (I think the park services still have them in many Forrest Preserves?)

    This thread is more about the skill set/mind set of 1850's life. Many folks may not have ever used a hand saw, (Not to be confused with an electric circular saw etc) or any other manually powered tools other than a screwdriver and hammer. (Not power nailer or rechargeable screwdriver) Not to mention how many of today's woodsmen are stacking cords without a chainsaw? What I'm driving at is what does it look like when you walk into your tool shed? Is there at least a dark cobwebbed corner where those 1850's like hand tools reside should you suddenly find yourself without today's modern conveniences? Have you retained or took the time to learn those 1850's skill sets? Just in case they become needed, if even for a couple of weeks or months?

    Now what if we apply/restore 1850's technology as backup for many of today's common luxuries?
    Tully Mars, duane, sec_monkey and 2 others like this.
  9. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    When I go home I always spend time at camp. No toilet and the only water is rain water collected from roof run off. We do cheat and bring in water but it is a great learning of how to conserve the good water. You learn quickly that every drop of water counts. We do not have a lot of pure, clean water so most of our use is the unclean rain water. Do not drink, it is not good. I love it. It is a chore to stay at camp but it is one that gives me peace.

    Could I survive in the 1850's? I am with Tevin, I would have been dead long ago without modern medicine.

    I see that you mentioned tools. I like your thinking. I have one ax, one hatchet and I have a few handsaws. Yes, I could buy my survival but minimalism is what I strive for. I do not want gadgets and lots of stuff, I want to take the stuff I have and make it work. Simplicity is my goal. I believe in splitting wood by hand- an ax and manual saw. (please do not start the splitting wood debate again, I just used it as an example- TY).
  10. M118LR

    M118LR Caution: Does not play well with others.

    Perhaps a few antique agricultural tools would come in handy if it was planting season when the 1850's suddenly struck?
    At minimum a pick & shovel.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
    Motomom34 likes this.
  11. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Through the years, this has been a topic discussed so often and always bears repeating, particularly for newer members of our community. Having food, water, etc in reserve for emergencies is absolutely essential but also mastering the skills needed for survival without the use of modern technology is just ad essential.

    While many of these skills were part of the daily lives of our parents, Grand and great grandparents, unless we think about alternatives to modern solutions as well as learn and practice, we have lost our ability to sustain ourselves. Plus, we are failing to teach the next generation(s) they hold the keys to their own survival.

    Great thread.
  12. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Some very insightful responses here.
    Born in 1950 with parents that went throughout the depression that actually maintained their skills and added even more survival skill while I was growing up , it's our nature .
    If things like a EMP or CME happen I am confident that I could thrive "IF" left alone, and did not have to deal with raiders.
    I can make a battery and hope to learn how to make solar panels, after all they were built during the turn if the century early 1900s.
    I have a mind set.that if any thing could be done during the turn of the century then I should be able to learn to do it my self.
    Though the 1800s were primitive by our standards, there are constants that hold true today .
    With what we know ,and these tools of knowledge available to us , there is no reason we should not be able to survive.
    I realize that medicine has come a long way, but some things still haven't changed for 2000 years.
    The tools Hypocrites developed for turning over the lens in the eye are basically the very same design.
    Silver has been used for a very long time as pins in the body retaining bone pieces, even for applying to amputations as a cap to both protect and provide a sterile atmosphere. Silver bandaids are nothing new.
    Making colloidal silver requires any light voltage and 2 pieces of silver. Voltage that can be acquired by using lemons and wire.
    The list of antibacterial values of silver is too large to list here ,and it does "not" go bad or need refrigeration nor can bacteria become immune to it. Bacteria are suffocated by it.
    I make and use my own on my self and my animals ,internally and externally .
    For that matter even honey has antibacterial values, that's why it is not given to infants due to their developing digestive system.
    Any antibacterial taken internally ,needs to be fallowed eventually with a probiotic to reintroduce the good bacteria in ones digestion.
    Yogurt , and dairy help with this, if you don't have and over the counter probiotic .
    If I were thrown back into the 1800s I believe I would do just fine.
    I have engineering and construction skills and not afraid of experimentation with these things .sensibly
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  13. enloopious

    enloopious Rocket Surgeon

    Pretty soon batteries are going to become a lot more important in our lives. When combined with solar panels and wind generators there is a potentially new world on the horizon. This technology could provide the freedom we have been waiting for from the power companies for so long. With the coming GigaFactories, home power stations, and electric cars we will start seeing a lot more things run from battery. This will change the entire landscape across the world as everything that runs from electricity will be able to run from battery. This is just the beginning. So what you should really be asking yourself is what would you do if you had all the electricity you wanted in the 1850s. Tesla seemed to do alright and we are still trying to figure out all of his tech today.

    This guy seems to be on the right track.
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  14. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    I think I could do alright. Medicine is the biggest difference I can see...been living out of doors hanging with my boys for as long as I can remember, and the rest is simple.
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  15. M118LR

    M118LR Caution: Does not play well with others.

    Batteries are an expendable commodity, along with the tools that use them. ie. 9 volt battery operated tools, 12 volt battery operated tools, 18 volt battery operated tools. The terms new and improved will assure you that whatever battery equipment you currently have shall be come obsolete with the Great New Battery System that manufactures are retooling for. All my hand cranked drills, arm powered saws, and manual agriculture implements still work as originally advertised. (Of course the power source ain't what it used to be.) LOL.
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  16. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I was a black smith once.
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  17. M118LR

    M118LR Caution: Does not play well with others.

    I'm going out on a limb (not very far though) and saying you still remember the skills, but how many tools of the trade do you still have salted away?
  18. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    To M118LR's point about saving the tools of the trade, our parents and grandparents did this routinely. It was part of growing up during the depression. The current generation move frequently and do their best to de-clutter their lives. Unfortunately, so much is lost in the process. Since I live on the homestead started by my grandparents and then my parents early in the 1900's, I have garages, basements and barns filled with tools of past generations including for sole forming hold for making shoes that my grandfather used. the leather came from his own stock.

    Something I wrote many years ago that speaks to this subject:

    The Clutter Project

    Day 1 – Dad’s Workshop
    This is an interesting process to say the least. Decisions at every turn. What might I use in the future and what can be discarded, given, sold, or thrown. If the afternoon progresses as I hope it will, I will be able to start filling the dumpster I have rented for the purpose.

    My dad’s workshop is a veritable treasure trove of useful items, redundant useful items, as well as things I’m sure even he forgot he had and even if he had not forgotten, I wonder if he remembered their purpose. Such are the arcane remnants of a lifetime.

    There are ammo boxes filled with springs, many ammo boxes of springs. Where had they come from I wondered absently. My parents, and theirs before them, were the original preppers and as such, I’m certain they knew that someday these springs might mean the difference between solution A and no solution at all. I can’t quite envision the exact moment when 100-year-old springs might save my life but one never knows. Put them on the keep side of the room for now I guess.

    And then there are the Model A mechanic’s tools. My very first driving experience was with the Model A my granddad had fitted with an open bed and I was allowed to drive through the woods as I mastered the intricacies of shifting and down-shifting and rocking to release the tires from the quicksand like mud into which I had driven, or landed probably. So the tools, wrenches and such, are still in the workshop although the beloved old Model A is rotting in the dump at the back of the land along with tin cans and old bottles and saw blades with not enough steel left to form any teeth, the handles for these errant saws tucked away someplace in the workshop, I have no doubt, put there to await their eventual resurrection when the need arose. Maybe I can sell the tools on Ebay??? But then again, a tool is a tool and you never know which might be just the one to get you out of some mechanical jam, so to speak. Better hold on to those.

    My dad was a tool hound so the walls are covered with an array of hand, power and battery operated pieces of equipment, each in their special place or boxed on a shelf. I guess I inherited my love of tools from him so as I peruse the array, I find it difficult to part with any of them. Who knows what might come in handy some day in the future. I am sorely tempted to toss the three Black & Decker battery-powered hedge trimmers (batteries not included) but even as I examine these, I am thinking that the trimming edge might be useful if removed from the plastic housing. I’m not sure what for but better safe than sorry.

    Moving on to hardware…..enough said. None of that can be forsaken for the sole purpose of removing clutter.

    Wire, cable, extension cords, assorted lengths of tubing, copper and plastic, chain links, and string and rope and……it goes on an on.

    Then my dad’s first (and only as far as I know) Machinists Tool Box, the one he bought when he worked in the machine gun division of Colt’s, made of oak with drawers lined in green felt. There is a small mirror built into top. How many years has it been since he might have opened that box to find just the right gauge or tap? I open each of the drawers to inspect the contents and in the very bottom I find a thin stack of letters. The rubber band that held them together has turned into a rigid snake-like piece of brown releasing it’s package from the originally intended bondage. Letters, private letters between a husband and his wife and she to him. I question my right to read such intimacies that might be written but in the end I decide that I think they might have liked me to read them so I began. Several hours pass, memories flood my thoughts, tears are shed, smiles are rewarded and my connection to those who created me is renewed once again. To discard those would be like tearing the past out of my life. So, like the steward that I am, I carefully put them in my bag to bring into the house where they will join their brethren as footsteps through people’s lives.

    There are a couple old B&W TVs and rabbit ears – those will definitely find their way to the trash. Even if they work, I have no cable connection nor a roof antenna so it would be impossible to get any signal down here in the valley. It gives me some satisfaction that at least one thing will be tossed. A small victory.

    In the end of this afternoon, I have thrown out 2 TV’s, a half-dozen drill bits that are too short to resharpen, a handful of bent and rusty 6 penny nails, a container of old hand pumice that has separated and smells like old sneakers, a broken hasp, some old, dead D Size batteries, a few rolls of rotted green plastic webbing my dad used to repair lawn chairs. I haven’t exactly filled the dumpster but I still have a whole house, basement, attic and garage to go.

    The process is much like looking over our many children as they sleep and trying to decide which we will sacrifice to the service of the landlord so that he will allow us a portion of his land. An impossible choice so the decision is not to choose any at all, keeping each in their accustomed place.

    Well, the workshop was a really bad place to start but maybe I’ll be more successful in the attic.
  19. M118LR

    M118LR Caution: Does not play well with others.

    It's just so hard to lay a hand on what was once "Dad's" without hearing if only in your mind the words of wisdom He gave to you. Every item you touch is just another lesson He shared with you. How do you know what is a reality and which is an illusion?
    Sorry for getting weak in the knees, but I didn't learn the meaning of forgiveness until I kissed my Daughters Goodnight. Didn't matter if I wanted to strangle them during the course of the day, everything was forgiven when they kissed DADDY goodnight and became angelic in their sleep once again. Perhaps it's just a Father's curse..............................
    Hope it ain't as hard for them when the time comes that I pass.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
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  20. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

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