Every so often, I come across a particularly interesting bit of information that seems worth sharing, so I've decided to start a series of posts on random bits of trivia. The first installment has to do with sweat scrapers.
Did you ever wonder how sweat scrapers got their current form - a long, curved metal "blade"? (Ok, if you're fancy you probably have a rubber one with a handle... I'm talking about the plain aluminum ones.) It turns out that the first sweat scrapers were swords!
"You shall ever when he hath ridden and cometh in much sweating, presently have him into the Stable, and first rub him down with clean wisps. Then taking off his Saddle, with a Sword-blade whose edge is dulled, you shall stroke his neck and body clean over, leaving no sweat nor filth that can be gotten out..." (Markham p. 21)So if you ever lose your sweat scraper, just get out that trusty dulled sword you've got laying around. It'll work just fine!
Markham, Gervase. A Discourse of Horsemanship. London, 1593. (Leaflet of 1656 reprint shown)