[Ansteorra] Short or Tall

robert segrest aumbob at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 18 10:12:04 PDT 2007

I find the proposition that architectural details vary
substantially based on average heights suspect.  Based
on the data presented on this list and elsewhere, I am
under the impression that the median heights have
varied by, at most, five inches or so.  Moreover, my
impression is that the variation in the heights of the
tallest people in any era has not been very great,
that is to say that we have always had a significant
number of people over 6 feet tall.  The features in
question are doorways and beds that are frequently
less than five feet tall/long.  Even during the early
industrial revolution, when people were at their
shortest, they averaged over five feet tall, and there
were plenty of six footers around.  More significant
is that there are plenty of extant doorways, and beds,
that are much taller.  Although most beds I have seen
from from pre-1900 or so are much smaller than modern
ones, most are plenty long enough for my not
inconsiderable height (6'3), whereas the bunks in the
Golden Hind were not nearly long enough for me.

One hypothesis, at least for doorways, is that in an
era when sealing an opening was marginal, and heat
came from fires, a smaller hole for the heat to go out
of in the winter would keep the place a little warmer,
especially since heat rises.

The beds confound me.  Navy bunks are 6'5" long, or
were on U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt.  In spite of the
fact that this should allow me 2 surplus inches, if I
used a pillow, my feet extended beyond the end of the
bunk.  When I had a fully enclosed bunk, I had to
sleep with my knees bent.  While I can sleep curled
up, not being able to stretch out was moderately
unpleasant.  I cannot imagine having to sleep in a
five foot bunk.  Perhaps this is why hammocks came
into common use by the height of the age of sail.

Fatthiopap Laszlo

Need a vacation? Get great deals
to amazing places on Yahoo! Travel.

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list