Thursday, April 30

Now on Instagram!

Have you discovered the Acasta on Instagram yet? Each image is like a little window in time that will take you back to the golden age of sail.






Wednesday, April 29

Sailors Wanted!


The ACASTA is looking for quality reenactors
to portray English sailors circa 1800-1812

Our organization seeks to educate via a series of first person activities designed to demonstrate the real lives of sailors as they go about their business etc. Landing Parties, Surveying Crews, Recruitment Drives, Press Gangs, Shore Leave... these are but a few of the activities that our crew will undertake whilst encamped at an event. 

Be sure to read the ABOUT US page

If these sound like a good fit for you, then you may have what it takes to be an Acasta! Email Albert Roberts today to find out more about joining the crew at:

Some Images of Acasta sailors at work (and play):









Want some cheater's hints at how to get in good with the officers? 

Here's what we're looking for in new members. Someone who is motivated to learn and share their knowledge, someone who knows about the position that they're portraying, someone who can act in the manner befitting the station that they portray. First-person and acting skills (no 'Monty Python' accents need apply). And don't forget to salute!

In addition here is the 'Visual Guide' for what we want our sailors to look like:





Wednesday, April 22

Calling ALL Writers!


Open Call to ALL Reenactors, 
Historians and Creative Writers!

The Royal Navy reenacting group that represents HMS Acasta usually attends the Jane Austen Festival in July of every year. 

One of the things that we've done with your help, is deliver a 'mail packet' full of letters to the various Acasta members. This is a project that we have undertaken in the past with awesome results.

THIS YEAR, the group that holds that festival is hosting the huge Annual General Meeting for the national organization, so there's NO Jane Austen Festival in 2015. Never fear, they assure us that the Festival will be back on in July 2016.

So, we're moving the Mail Packet project back a little so that the letters are delivered to the Acastas at the Fair at New Boston that is to be held Sept 5-6, 2015.

This is where YOU come in!

Anyone who would like to submit a period correct letter to add to the packet is encouraged to do so! We'd love to have your contribution, however large or small! Anything added to the packet will help to enhance the historical experience for not only the Acastas who receive them, but for the public who will attend the Fair at New Boston as well.

Another alteration this year that was requested by several of you was that we needed to have some biographical information on the recipients of the letters so that the writers would know a little bit more about who they're writing to.

We have several of the character biographies written so far, here are some examples of those:

Jean Baptiste Girard, Surgeon’s Mate- A well traveled old Creole who has usually worked in some medical capacity on merchant ships. He has been impressed onto the HMS Acasta, but is not unhappy there. In his time Baptiste has traveled through both the East and West Indies and spent six years among the Igorots of the Spanish Philippines when a Spanish privateer (on which he was a prisoner) was shipwrecked there. During the French revolution a Captain who he admired and respected was guillotined, cementing his philosophy as a Monarchist.  His wife Marie is Igrot; she is currently living in Louisiana on the plantation of Messr. Francois Rochambeau. They have young twin boys.

Early in his career Baptiste learned that he could make extra money by collecting curiosities from his travels to sell to educated gentlemen. His non-formal education in natural history and things medical still allows him to believe many superstitions in both fields.


Samuel Hollybrass, Able Seaman- The bulk of Hollybrass's teen and adult life has been spent at sea. Hollybrass has followed Captain Freymann for years from ship to ship, sometimes to Freymann's dismay. A competent leader of men without the learning or refinement to be an officer. A well meaning, if gruff old seaman with no family back home that he knows of.

Hollybrass is enthusiastic and lusty, but tends to do poorly with the ladies given his general appearance and lack of hygiene. 




Josh Wilson, Able Seaman- Born in Virginia, Josh was the son of American Patriots. He apprenticed with a sail maker before taking to sea. Josh voluntarily enlisted in the British Navy to fight Napoleon Bonaparte because he saw him as a usurper and an enemy of America's French allies and believed that if Napoleon should take England, nothing would stop him from looking across the Atlantic to the new formed United States. The allure of prize money also helped to seal the deal. Josh is married to a teacher still residing in Virginia.


James Vassermann, Surgeon's servant- The dapper young personal servant to the ship's surgeon, Vassermann is also mute. He reads and writes well, generally making himself understood through a combination of gestures, looks and a little book and pencil he carries in his waistcoat pocket. Regardless of being of lower birth, he very slender and handsome, making him very popular with the ladies ashore.



Some examples of things that we got in 2014 as part of the project:

Lt Ramsey got a love letter from Germany with candy in it.

Captain Freymann got a letter from a surveyor about his property back in England and a map of said property.

Midshipman Hamilton got a letter from a worried Aunt with a hand knitted scarf in it.

Baptiste got a letter with a black spot in it from an anonymous 'former shipmate'.

The Bosun Mr. Cullen got a letter from a former shipmate inviting him to join him in a business venture back in England.

The Ship's Chaplain got a solicitation letter from a company that manufactures mourning candies.

Need some ideas for what to write? Try one of these:

Letter from a friend or colleague back home. 
(But none from immediate 'family' this year if you please. Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Nieces & Nephews are fine, but none from Mothers, Fathers, children.)
A bill or request for payment.
An overdue payment of debt.
A letter carrying news of the war(s)

Or, use the link below to see some other types of period letters:

The Complete Letter Writer...

Wondering what a period letter looks like? Here are some beautiful examples:

http://www.bathpostalmuseum.co.uk/john-palmer/

Contact me to find out where to send your finished letter… or questions, or for any other additional information.

Finshed letters will need to be to ME by the first of August so that they can find their way into the Mail Packet!


Start thinking about what you'd like to contribute this year, and HAVE FUN!

Tuesday, April 21

Apple's Recollection

Written by Jas. Apple

When time goes slow and my mind wanders about the ship in my hat rack looking for even the smallest of duties that could keep myself and my crew from the doldrums of chronic idleness, and then my thoughts turn to how cold it is at sea. While on ship cold infects you, it eats at you layer by layer till you feel it in your marrow. As I sit here writing the day down in my log book my mind goes back to home and life before my father left us at the carriage shop to go back to Deutschland.

When the weather looked fair for butchering, we would clean the smokehaus and sharpen knives and axes, clean the big kettles for larding. We also needed flat wagons for us all to work on and we had to make sure we had enough wood to see us from start to finish and still have enough for the smokehaus. Still salt and fresh water were to be fetched for the brine, and my mother would collect all the herbs she had dried just for this day, she was in charge of the sausage and would have made us what looked like a big meat chains, each link a serving for one of us.

All work would stop in the shop and before first light fires would be started and of course all the water would have frozen a bit over night and that need to be brought up to a rolling boil for scalding. 

Sometimes there would be this layer of grey snow on the ground, the east end was good about turning everything pretty a filthy hoary color.

Mr. Driver who was as good of a man to have working for you, would have made a fine sailor, he was as good at making iron parts for a carriage as well as the finer work in wood. He had a way with all animals and was always sought to kill the hogs, he had fashioned in his forge what for lack of a better description was a boarding axe. With all the other things ready and in place for the day he would take to the larboard side of the hog and with one hard strike would hit between the ears with the spike end and the job was done. I of course tried to do it just like Mr. Driver years later but always seemed to make a mess of things till I one day happened to recall that he was left handed, because he would often complain about the flash when he fired his fowling piece. So when I switched sides I became quite proficient.


Thursday, April 16

Amputation, for the kids!



The Doctor during his performance at last year's New Harmony event.

Wednesday, April 15

At New Harmony


Every year for the past few, your Royal Navy Doctor has been invited to perform his medical program at the Heritage Artisan Days event in scenic New Harmony, Indiana. The fine folks who put the event on put me in the Murphy Auditorium, a big theater built in the early 1900's. I generally do nine shows for school kids from the surrounding area ranging from 4th to 8th grade. My crowds are a great mix of public, private and home school kids.

Last year, I performed for 2700+ kids as the Navy Surgeon, and talked to the kids about 'joining His Majesty's Navy'. After my pep talk, I could have easily recruited several hundred boys single handed! If I keep it up at this rate, they'll call me the 'one man press gang'!

The Royal Naval Medical talk was a big hit, I believe that I have convinced Mr. Vassermann to join me next year to assist with the big crowds!

This year, the event at New Harmony is April 15-17, wish me luck! Photos and video to come.

The children showing off their Naval salute!


Preparing for 'amputation'.

Tuesday, April 14

2015 Schedule


Where are the Acastas planning on being?

2015

Jan 6-11, 2015 200th Anniv. Battle of New Orleans
Chalmette Battlefield, New Orleans, Louisiana 

May 23-24, 2015, Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous,
Vincennes, IN.

June 13-14, 2015, Shore Party at London Town & Gardens, Edgewater, Maryland


July 18, 2015, Acasta Dinner at Locust Grove 
Louisville, KY. 

Sept 5-6, 2015, The Fair at New Boston (Press Gang)
at Springfield, Ohio 

Louisville, KY.

Wednesday, April 8

THE ARTICLES OF WAR 1757

THE ARTICLES OF WAR 1757

1. All commanders, captains, and officers, in or belonging to any of His Majesty's ships or vessels of war, shall cause the public worship of Almighty God, according to the liturgy of the Church of England established by law, to be solemnly, orderly and reverently performed in their respective ships; and shall take care that prayers and preaching, by the chaplains in holy orders of the respective ships, be performed diligently; and that the Lord's day be observed according to law.

2. All flag officers, and all persons in or belonging to His Majesty's ships or vessels of war, being guilty of profane oaths, cursings, execrations, drunkenness, uncleanness, or other scandalous actions, in derogation of God's honour, and corruption of good manners, shall incur such punishment as a court martial shall think fit to impose, and as the nature and degree of their offence shall deserve.

3. If any officer, mariner, soldier, or other person of the fleet, shall give, hold, or entertain intelligence to or with any enemy or rebel, without leave from the king's majesty, or the lord high admiral, or the commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral, commander in chief, or his commanding officer, every such person so offending, and being thereof convicted by the sentence of a court martial, shall be punished with death.

4. If any letter of message from any enemy or rebel, be conveyed to any officer, mariner, or soldier or other in the fleet, and the said officer, mariner, or soldier, or other as aforesaid, shall not, within twelve hours, having opportunity so to do, acquaint his superior or a commanding officer, or if any superior officer being acquainted therewith, shall not in convenient time reveal the same to the commander in chief of the squadron, every such person so offending, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of the court martial, shall be punished with death, or such other punishment as the nature and degree of the offense shall deserve, and the court martial shall impose.

5. All spies, and all persons whatsoever, who shall come, or be found, in the nature of spies, to bring or deliver any seducing letters or messages from any enemy or rebel, or endeavor to corrupt any captain, officer, mariner, or other in the fleet, to betray his trust, being convicted of any such offense by the sentence of the court martial, shall be punished with death, or such other punishment, as the nature and degree of the offence shall deserve, and the court martial shall impose.

6. No person in the fleet shall receive an enemy or rebel with money, victuals, powder, shot, arms, ammunition, or any other supplies whatsoever, directly or indirectly, upon pain of death, or such other punishment as the court martial shall think fit to impose, and as the nature and degree of the crime shall deserve.

7. All the papers, charter parties, bills of lading, passports, and other writings whatsoever, that shall be taken, seized, or found aboard any ship or ships which shall be surprized or taken as prize, shall be duly preserved, and the very originals shall by the commanding officer of the ship which shall take such prize, be sent entirely, and without fraud, to the court of the admiralty, or such other court of commissioners, as shall be authorized to determine whether such prize be lawful capture, there to be viewed, made use of, and proceeded upon according to law, upon pain that every person offending herein, shall forfeit and lose his share of the capture, and shall suffer such further punishment, as the nature and degree of his offense shall be found to deserve, and the court martial shall impose.

8. No person in or belonging to the fleet shall take out of any prize, or ship seized for prize, any money, plate, or goods, unless it shall be necessary for the better securing thereof, or for the necessary use and service of any of His Majesty's ships or vessels of war, before the same be adjudged lawful prize in some admiralty court; but the full and entire account of the whole, without embezzlement, shall be brought in, and judgment passed entirely upon the whole without fraud, upon pain that every person offending hemin shall forfeit and lose his share of the capture, and suffer such further punishment as shall be imposed by a court martial, or such court of admiralty, according to the nature and degree of the offense.

9. If any ship or vessel be taken as prize, none of the officers, mariners, or other persons on board her, shall be stripped of their clothes, or in any sort pillaged, beaten, or evil-intreated, upon the pain that the person or persons so offending, shall be liable to such punishment as a court martial shall think fit to inflict.

10. Every flag officer, captain and commander in the fleet, who, upon signal or order of fight, or sight of any ship or ships which it may be his duty to engage, or who, upon likelihood of engagement, shall not make the necessary preparations for fight, and shall not in his own person, and according to his place, encourage the inferior officers and men to fight courageously, shall suffer death, or such other punishment, as from the nature and degree of the offence a court martial shall deem him to deserve; and if any person in the fleet shall treacherously or cowardly yield or cry for quarter, every person so offending, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death.

11. Every person in the fleet, who shall not duly observe the orders of the admiral, flag officer, commander of any squadron or division, or other his superior officer, for assailing, joining battle with, or making defense against any fleet, squadron, or ship, or shall not obey the orders of his superior officer as aforesaid in the time of action, to the best of his power, or shall not use all possible endeavours to put the same effectually into execution, every person so offending, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of the court martial, shall suffer death, or such other punishment, as from the nature and degree of the offence a court martial shall deem him to deserve.

12. Every person in the fleet, who through cowardice, negligence, or disaffection, shall in time of action withdraw or keep back, or not come into the fight or engagement, or shall not do his utmost to take or destroy every ship which it shall be his duty to engage, and to assist and relieve all and every of His Majesty's ships, or those of his allies, which it shall be his duty to assist and relieve, every such person so offending, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death.

13. Every person in the fleet, who though cowardice, negligence, or disaffection, shall forbear to pursue the chase of any enemy, pirate or rebel, beaten or flying; or shall not relieve or assist a known friend in view to the utmost of his power; being convicted of any such offense by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death.

14. If when action, or any service shall be commanded, any person in the fleet shall presume or to delay or discourage the said action or service, upon pretence of arrears of wages, or upon any pretence whatsoever, every person so offending, being convicted thereof by the sentence of the court martial, shall suffer death, or such other punishment, as from the nature and degree of the offense a court martial shall deem him to deserve.

15. Every person in or belonging to the fleet, who shall desert or entice others so to do, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as the circumstances of the offense shall deserve, and a court martial shall judge fit: and if any commanding officer of any of His Majesty's ships or vessels of war shall receive or entertain a deserter from any other of His Majesty's ships or vessels, after discovering him to be such deserter, and shall not with all convenient speed give notice to the captain of the ship or vessel to which such deserter belongs; or if the said ships or vessels are at any considerable distance from each other, to the secretary of the admiralty, or to the commander in chief; every person so offending, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of the court martial, shall be cashiered.

16. The officers and seamen of all ships appointed for convoy and guard of merchant ships, or of any other, shall diligently attend upon that charge, without delay, according to their instructions in that behalf; and whosoever shall be faulty therein, and shall not faithfully perform their duty, and defend the ships and goods in their convoy, without either diverting to other parts or occasions, or refusing or neglecting to fight in their defence, if they be assailed, or running away cowardly, and submitting the ships in their convoy to peril and hazard; or shall demand or exact any money or other reward from any merchant or master for convoying any ships or vessels entrusted to their care, or shall misuse the masters or mariners thereof; shall be condemned to make reparation of the damage to the merchants, owners, and others, as the court of admiralty shall adjudge, and also be punished criminally according to the quality of their offences, be it by pains of death, or other punishment, according as shall be adjudged fit by the court martial.

17. If any captain, commander, or other officer of any of His Majesty's ships or vessels, shall receive on board, or permit to be received on board such ship or vessel, any goods or merchandises whatsoever, other than for the sole use of the ship or vessel, except gold, silver, or jewels, and except the goods and merchandisers belonging to any merchant, or other ship or vessel which may be shipwrecked, or in imminent danger of being shipwrecked, either on the high seas, or in any port, creek, or harbour, in order to the preserving them for their proper owners, and except such goods or merchandisers as he shall at any time be ordered to take or receive on board by order of the lord high admiral of Great Britain, or the commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral for the time being; every person so offending, being convicted thereof by the sentence of the court martial shall be cashiered, and be for ever afterwards rendered incapable to serve in any place or office in the naval service of His Majesty, his heirs and successors.

18. If any person in or belonging to the fleet shall make or endeavor to make any mutinous assembly upon any pretence whatsoever, every person offending herein, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of the court martial, shall suffer death: and if any person in or belonging to the fleet shall utter any words of sedition or mutiny, he shall suffer death, or such other punishment as a court martial shall deem him to deserve: and if any officer, mariner, or soldier on or belonging to the fleet, shall behave himself with contempt to his superior officer, being in the execution of his office, he shall be punished according to the nature of his offence by the judgment of a court martial.

19. If any person in the fleet shall conceal any traitorous or mutinous practice or design, being convicted thereof by the sentence of a court martial, he shall suffer death, or any other punishment as a court martial shall think fit; and if any person, in or belonging to the fleet, shall conceal any traitorous or mutinous words spoken by any, to the prejudice of His Majesty or government, or any words, practice, or design, tending to the hindrance of the service, and shall not forthwith reveal the same to the commanding officer, or being present at any mutiny or sedition, shall not use his utmost endeavours to suppress the same, he shall be punished as a court martial shall think he deserves.

20. If any person in the fleet shall find cause of complaint of the unwholesomeness of the victual, or upon other just ground, he shall quietly make the same known to his superior, or captain, or commander in chief, as the occasion may deserve, that such present remedy may be had as the matter may require; and the said superior, captain, or commander in chief, shall, as far as he is able, cause the same to be presently remedied; and no person in the fleet, upon any such or other pretence, shall attempt to stir up any disturbance, upon pain of such punishment, as a court martial shall think fit to inflict, according to the degree of the offence.

21. If any officer, mariner, soldier or other person in the fleet, shall strike any of his superior officers, or draw, or offer to draw, or lift up any weapon against him, being in the execution of his office, on any pretence whatsoever, every such person being convicted of any such offense, by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death; and if any officer, mariner, soldier or other person in the fleet, shall presume to quarrel with any of his superior officers, being in the execution of his office, or shall disobey any lawful command of any of his superior officers; every such person being convicted of any such offence, by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death, or such other punishment, as shall, according to the nature and degree of his offence, be inflicted upon him by the sentence of a court martial.

22. If any person in the fleet shall quarrel or fight with any other person in the fleet, or use reproachful or provoking speeches or gestures, tending to make any quarrel or disturbance, he shall, upon being convicted thereof, suffer such punishment as the offence shall deserve, and a court martial shall impose.

23. There shall be no wasteful expense of any powder, shot, ammunition, or other stores in the fleet, nor any embezzlement thereof, but the stores and provisions shall be careful preserved , upon pain of such punishment to be inflicted upon the offenders, abettors, buyers and receivers (being persons subject to naval discipline) as shall be by a court martial found just in that behalf.

24. Every person in the fleet, who shall unlawfully burn or set fire to any magazine or store of powder, or ship, boat, ketch, hoy or vessel, or tackle or furniture thereunto belonging, not then appertaining to an enemy, pirate, or rebel, being convicted of any such offence, by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death.

25. Care shall be taken in the conducting and steering of any of His Majesty's ships, that through willfulness, negligence, or other defaults, no ship be stranded, or run upon any rocks or sands, or split or hazarded, upon pain, that such as shall be found guilty therein, be punished by death, or such other punishment, as the offence by a court martial shall be judged to deserve.

26. No person in or belonging to the fleet shall sleep upon his watch, or negligently perform the duty imposed on him, or forsake his station, upon pain of death, or such other punishment as a court martial shall think fit to impose, and as the circumstances of the case shall require.

27. All murders committed by any person in the fleet, shall be punished with death by the sentence of a court martial.

28. If any person in the fleet shall commit the unnatural and detestable sin of buggery and sodomy with man or beast, he shall be punished with death by the sentence of a court martial.

29. All robbery committed by any person in the fleet, shall be punished with death, or otherwise, as a court martial, upon consideration of the circumstances, shall find meet.

30. Every officer or other person in the fleet, who shall knowingly make or sign a false muster or muster book, or who shall command, counsel, or procure the making or signing thereof, or who shall aid or abet any other person in the making or signing thereof, shall, upon proof of any such offence being made before a court martial, be cashiered, and rendered incapable of further employment in His Majesty's naval service.

31. No provost martial belonging to the fleet shall refuse to apprehend any criminal, whom he shall be authorized by legal warrant to apprehend, or to receive or keep any prisoner committed to his charge, or willfully suffer him to escape, being once in his custody, or dismiss him without lawful order, upon pain of such punishment as a court martial shall deem him fit to deserve; and all captains, officers, and others in the fleet, shall do their endeavour to detect, apprehend, and bring to punishment all offenders, and shall assist the officers appointed for that purpose therein, upon pain of being proceeded against, and punished by a court martial, according to the nature and degree of the offence.

32. If any flag officer, captain, or commander, or lieutenant belonging to the fleet, shall be convicted before a court martial of behaving in a scandalous, infamous, cruel, oppressive, or fraudulent manner, unbecoming the character of an officer, he shall be dismissed from His Majesty's service.

33. Every person being in actual service and full pay, and part of the crew in or belonging to any of His Majesty's ships or vessels of war, who shall be guilty of mutiny, desertion, or disobedience to any lawful command, in any part of His Majesty's dominions on shore, when in actual service relative to the fleet, shall be liable to be tried by a court martial, and suffer the like punishment for every such offence, as if the same had been committed at sea on board any of His Majesty's ships or vessels of war.

34. If any person who shall be in the actual service and full pay of His Majesty' ships and vessels of war, shall commit upon the shore, in any place or places out of His Majesty's dominions, any of the crimes punishable by these articles and orders, the person so offending shall be liable to be tried and punished for the same, in like manner, to all intents and purposes, as if the same crimes had been committed at sea, on board any of His Majesty's ships or vessels of war.

35. All other crimes not capital committed by any person or persons in the fleet, which are not mentioned in this act, or for which no punishment is hereby directed to be inflicted, shall be punished by the laws and customs in such cases used at sea.

Tuesday, April 7

Because Research is Important


I'm a firm believer in research… and in theory ALL historical interpreters/re-enactors should be. It's the MOST important tool we have in our arsenal for showing the public what life was like in the past. Because, at the end of the day we're supposed to be displaying and depicting correct history, or at least as correct as we can make it… right? It is OUR job as historical interpreters/re-enactors to be as historically accurate as we can for the public.

I was not always this way. When I first got into reenacting as a hobby, I was guilty of what alot of reenactors do when they get started… I copied what I saw other reenactors doing & wearing. It's easy to fall into committing what are commonly referred to as 'reenactorisms', because when you see 'everyone' doing something, it's very natural to assume that it must be right, or at least have SOME basis in historical fact.

With the help of some awesome people along the way, and a TON of reading on my own… I eventually got started in a more 'research based' direction.

Some important things to remember:

DO NOT copy the clothing of other costumed interpreters or reenactors.

DO NOT copy clothing you saw in a period movie or television program (even if it was done by the BBC).

While they may look great, you never know what research (if any) has gone into their interpretation, so it's always important to do your own research.

Want to see some of the research that has gone into my impression? Check out these albums on Facebook:



To that end, everything you wear and carry should be researched. When it comes to primary source documentation, what you're looking for is: WRITTEN DESCRIPTIONS OF THE PERIOD, FASHION PLATES, PORTRAITS, and ORIGINAL GARMENTS.


One of the great things about doing an impression like an officer in the Royal Navy, is that there is a wealth of all of those types of documentation that are fairly easy to find.

If you'd like to see some of the work that went into my particular uniform, be sure to check that project out HERE.

The beauty of our hobby (and History in general) is that you can never know everything! Even if you read and research all the time, you'll never learn all there is to know.

So my mandate to you is this, 'always be working'.

"How" you ask? Whether that means working on your first person impression, working on improving your clothing, working on your knowledge of the period or working to bring ideas to the table for  events you attend regularly… don't get lazy or comfortable, don't plateau in your interpretation. I want to encourage you to always be working and researching, because there is always room for improvement!

Wednesday, April 1

Photoshop team unveils "Living History Brush"

San Jose-based Adobe Systems has announced the addition of the Living History Brush, an innovative new tool for its Photoshop image editing software. The brush is specifically designed to simplify the retouching of images taken at historical reenactments.

“The Living History Brush is the first in what we hope will be an ongoing series of market-specific image editing tools,” said Shantanu Narayen, Adobe president and chief executive officer. “It's a creative spin-off of the same technologies behind the Clone Stamp and the Content-Aware Fill feature, but optimized for images that demand complete historical authenticity. And today that Photoshop magic is available to millions of users, thanks to Adobe Creative Cloud.”

The Living History Brush automatically eliminates modern elements such as power lines, airplanes, mobile phones and even hairstyles by substituting historic equivalents or removing them with content-aware retouching. The initial release of the brush includes presets for the American Revolution, War of 1812, and American Civil War. Additional eras, including Renaissance England and ancient Rome, are scheduled to be added in the next 3-6 months.

This stunning before and after comparison shows the Living History Brush in action.
This stunning before and after comparison shows the Living History Brush in action. (Photo: G. Smith)
"This will be a huge time-saver for both the design and the reenactment communities," says Albert Roberts, a freelance graphic designer who also portrays a 19th-century British navy surgeon for HMS Acasta, a living history organization. "There's nothing worse than getting a great shot of your shipmates in painstakingly reconstructed uniforms, only to discover that someone was texting on his iPhone in the background."

The details of the technology are proprietary, but Adobe has indicated that it combines specialized algorithms with databases of historical artifacts from leading museums, historic sites and academic partners, including the Smithsonian, the National Portrait Gallery, Colonial Williamsburg, and Japan's Kobe Fashion Museum.

The new brush is available to Creative Cloud users in the latest update of Photoshop CC, released this morning.

Narayen declined to comment on what other industries Adobe has under consideration, but widespread speculation on user forums suggests specialized brushes for healthcare, finance, and the hospitality industry could follow in the next 12 months if response to the Living History Brush is favorable.

The Living History Brush is an utterly bogus figment of Lt. Tumbusch's imagination. Happy April Fool's Day!