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Old June 28th, 2011, 02:01 PM   #1

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Nail trimming in pre-modern times


An obscure question - how did people keep their fingernails and toenails trimmed (or did they?) in ancient and medieval times? When were nail-clippers or something used for that function first invented?
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Old June 28th, 2011, 02:07 PM   #2

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This sounds so much like an Isoroku type thread, " Do spiders have nightmares?"

I'm sure people just bit or ripped them off as needed.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 02:08 PM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
This sounds so much like an Isoroku type thread, " Do spiders have nightmares?"
That was painful, TJ.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 02:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
This sounds so much like an Isoroku type thread, " Do spiders have nightmares?"

I'm sure people just bit or ripped them off as needed.
AGHHHHH. You should see the expression on my face right now.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 02:37 PM   #5

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I don't know the answer to your question, but there is a Japanese superstition that if you cut your nails at night, you will not be with your parents when they die. What a pleasant thing to teach your children...

Also reminds me of an exchange in Blackadder II:

Nursie: "You've had so many brilliant ideas, you'd better be careful your foot doesn't fall off!"
Queenie: "Is that what happens when you have a brilliant idea, your foot falls off?"
Nursie: "Oh yes! My cousin had this brilliant idea of cutting his toenails with a scythe, and his foot fell off!"
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Old June 28th, 2011, 03:06 PM   #6

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Originally Posted by Salah ad-Din View Post
That was painful, TJ.
Click the image to open in full size.

It shouldn't be. At least your threads get more hits, views and replies
than mine do.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 03:39 PM   #7

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curious nail question but i really wonder how they brushed their teeth! eewwww...
i would imagine they trimmed their nails with their teeth..
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Old June 28th, 2011, 03:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salah ad-Din View Post
An obscure question - how did people keep their fingernails and toenails trimmed (or did they?) in ancient and medieval times? When were nail-clippers or something used for that function first invented?
I have heard that finger nails tend to break after a certain length when you work with your hands. I do remember seeing in a museam a corpse of ancient that was well perserved, and the museum lecturer pointing out her long finger nails were a sign of high status, that she did not have to work with her hands because she had servants to do that for her. I would assume that would mean that if you had to do manual work with your hands a lot, the nails would wear down on their own.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 03:45 PM   #9

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Well for instance in the past many people would have been so unhealthy that teir nails would have grown so slowly that it would not have been a problem for most people.

Others well I watched a documentary when the ancient body and they were trying to interpret had smooth nails and they came to thr conclusion that he had been a textile worker and his nails had worn smooth naturally.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 03:56 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salah ad-Din View Post
An obscure question - how did people keep their fingernails and toenails trimmed (or did they?) in ancient and medieval times? When were nail-clippers or something used for that function first invented?
A sharp knife can do the job, bite them if your feeling crude but theres enough trades that had access to clippers, shears and scissors so i dont see why they didnt have access to those for personnal use, the Romans used to have silver ear wax spoons so i'm sure they figured out nail care.
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