View Full Version : waxed/wicked string
03-01-2004, 08:47 PM
I recently ran across a letter from a soldier of the 4th MN in my Hysterical society. He was requesting either wicked or waxed (I couldn't read the cursive very well) string. It would have been written during winter camp from Bridgeport or Huntsville Alabama in the Spring of 64 before the Atlanta campaign. Apparently, it wasn't something he could aquire from either a Sutler or local "foraging." Does anyone have any idea what he was talking of?
I know they didn't have dental floss in the ACW... was this some sort of waterproof or stronger thread? I've never come across a reference to it before.
If I'm asking a dumb or obvious question I apologize.
03-02-2004, 09:52 AM
I'm stumped. How about posting the context of the reference so we might discern more clues?
03-02-2004, 10:03 AM
I know it was common practice to run thread across a piece of wax before sewing. It makes it stronger, easier to thread, less likely to knot, and it makes it last longer without rotting. Perhaps waxed string is something along these lines, a pre-synthetic rot-resistant string.
03-02-2004, 01:53 PM
Waxed thread is just that...thread that has been waxed. It prooves to be a bit more water proof and hence rot proof and sometimes easier to work with. Most of your leather sewing is done with waxed thread of some kind (i like linen) and I often wax my button hole thread.
03-03-2004, 09:16 AM
Since he seems to have been asking for string instead of thread, my guess would be he was asking for wicking, as in candle wick string, instead of waxed thread for sewing. Waxed thread would be one of those items you would expect a sutler to carry or the Sanitary Commission to be able to supply. Since it's winter quarters,I would guess he needed it for use in an improvised lighting device. But in the absence of further data, one guess is as good as another:-)
03-03-2004, 06:31 PM
For info the rest of the letter was dealing w/ the sundries of camp life in Huntsville area and the local populace. He made derogatory comments of the quality of Army issue & local availability. He requested several items: "two pairs of your good socks, a shirt" and the string... I couldn't quite make out whether it was wicked or waxed. I've read of waxed thread for use in horses tack and leather goods but I've never seen a reference to wicked or waxed string. The wicked string for candles makes sense but I would think that sort of thing would be readily available in any dry goods store.
Was string another term for thread at the time?
I love this, the more I learn the more questions I have. History is a fascinating and wonderful puzzle!
Thanks for all the responses.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.7 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.