Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Incredible as it may seem!~after Waterloo there was a run on false teeth …
Waterloo Teeth – the latest fashion
They say that, on the day after the battle, you couldn’t find a pair of pliers for love nor money. Not for fifty miles around. The new fashion – in London, Paris, Berlin, St. Petersburg and New York – was for dentures fitted with real teeth. And there, on those few square miles of Belgian soil, lay no less than 50,000 potential donors, most of them dead, the rest so close to it that it didn’t much matter. It was the Etruscans, apparently, who first invented dentures – around 700 BC. Teeth from another person or an animal, such as an ox, were inserted into a band of gold with a metal pin and fitted on to the remaining teeth. Dentures remained an option only for the wealthy as they were expensive to make. They appeared again in the 18th Century when sugar addiction had taken a dreadful toll of Europe’s teeth. Fans became popular, not to keep their owners cool, but to waft away the stench of gum disease. False teeth became popular once more. And perhaps the most famous complete set of dentures was that owned by George Washington. It’s pure myth that they were made of wood, of course. In truth, each tooth was carved from ivory, set into lead, and spring-loaded. Uncomfortable! After Waterloo, battlefield casualties became the main source of denture teeth until after the American Civil War. And, after Waterloo, a good incisor could fetch as much as two guineas – the equivalent, today, of around £300.
The valiant dead used for fertilize
The most recently discovered casualty of the battle was found in 2012 under a car park during the reconstruction of the Waterloo visitor centre. Historian Gareth Glover has pieced together all the available clues discovered with the skeleton and believes that the soldier was Friedrich Brandt, a Hanoverian fighting with the King’s German Legion. Brandt apparently suffered from curvature of the spine but he was killed by a musket ball – still lodged in his ribs when his body was found. This is the first completely intact skeleton to be found on the site for almost 200 years. And that’s no surprise since, until about fifty years after the battle, companies considered it “fair game” to dig up battlefield dead from their mass graves and grind down their bones for sale to local farmers as fertilizer!