PE - Re: the tent poles and risk

Samuel Walters agincrt at
Mon Feb 21 06:33:58 PST 2000

Stamina wrote:

> I have seen a very nice example of the wheel spoke roundel.  I am a
structural engineer and have built/designed many dozens of tents including
roundels among them.  There
> are several different ways to achieve that same affect, each of which is
perfectly valid.  The main thing is to develop a balance of forces.
> It is absurd to think that, after thousands of years of tent building and
input from the greatest cultures this world has ever known, we can stumble
upon a basic tent
> design which has never been thought of before.  Of course the wheel-spoke
design was tried during the middle ages.  So was using bent saplings to form
a ring, thus keeping
> the sides of the tent round by putting it in tension.  A Yurt is a good
example of a "roundel" design developed as a frame vs. a center pole style
tent.  Different cultures
> (and minds) view a problem differently.  Many pictures depict the use of
guy ropes which pull the roof edges tight and round.  I have heard more than
enough people assume
> that side poles were not period.  Bull!  Just because you don't have a
painting of it doesn't mean they weren't used.  Can we honestly believe that
something that simple
> just didn't occur to anyone until recently?  Have we had some surge of
technology that only recently made side poles usable?  Of course they were
used in roundels among
> other designs.

It is common sense to say that because something is simple then you cannot
(as in we modern folk) be the first to think of it.  But it is also common
sense to say that just because an innovation or design existed and that it
was used in one culture it does not mean that it was also used in other
cultures.  We don't even have to go forward to see this.  The Romans had
indoor plumbing, yet the medieval peoples of europe for the most part didn't
have it.  The basic designs for this were existant in Italy and even in
England (Bath comes to mind) yet several hundred years later they were using
what is basically an indoor outhouse and toting water from the kitchen to
their tubs.

Western Europeans had been to the middle east for trade reasons and for the
crusades yet I haven't seen any documentation to support that they brought
home gers or turkish or other tents. (Once again I have to say that this is
a case of I haven't seen it. Not that it doesn't exist.  If you have
documentation then I would love to see it.)

I for one never said that this particular design wasn't used. I did say that
I hadn't seen any documentation for it myself.  I made sure to make that
distinction.  Now if you do have documentation for this tent I would love to
see it because I would be interested in one for myself.

> The main subject has been building a strong and safe tent.
Experimentation is "period".  If you have a design that you prefer, then
stay with it.

I agree that experimentation is period ( I had to do a little bit of that
with my own tent project).  But if you experiment with a tent to the point
that you have no documentation to support your design then you have a modern
tent that looks medievil.

<lot of snip here>

> Stamina

Rhys Goch
Mka Sam Walters

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