HSF #2 — Innovation – Bright Blue Dye

(posts one, two, and three of the series.)

Bright Blue Dye

I think that this colour could only come from an aniline dye. Blue dye is hard to make.  Early dyes were made from indigo or woad, but I couldn’t find examples of these that produced that vivid a colour for fabric dye. Bright, vibrant fabric dyes were a product of Victorian era advances in chemistry.  The Dreamstress gives a great summary of early chemical dyes and a gorgeous Pinterest page with examples of the new colours.  The colour above looks pretty close to Nicholson’s Blue, developed in the 1860’s. Here’s an example:


Interestingly, Aldern Foxglove in Rise of the Runelords has the same colour in his jacket.

HSF #2 — Innovation – Turtleneck

Finally, back to Father Zantus’s anachronistic turtleneck.

Previously, I talked about knitting and raglan sleeves. Today’s innovation is the turtleneck itself.  Ye Olde Wikipedia says at least as early as the 15th century.  Since their only credited source for this “fact” is http://www.chacha.com/question/who-invented-the-turtleneck, I’m going to remain skeptical.

Shirts with high, tight necks have existed for thousands of years.  Carl Köhler’s A History of Costume , describes and illustrates a high-necked Etruscan (so sometime between 750 and 250 BCE) woman’s robe (p 111 – 112).  He describes a slit in the back of the garment’s neck, which was laced up.  Without the slit, the wearer couldn’t get her head through the neck hole, unless the fabric stretched.  Like a knit.

Also like knits, turtlenecks didn’t gain popularity as outwear until the earth 20th century, but was worn as underwear or sports wear in the late 19th century.

Father Zantus’s Turtleneck

Father ZantusHSF #2 — Innovation


This is the image that started this project. This is Father Zantus, the Cleric of Desna in Sandpoint, and an NPC in Rise of the Runelords. And he seems to be wearing a modern looking blue turtleneck sweater.  This lead me to the question:  What is the earliest this sweater could have existed on Earth, and assuming a quasi-medieval setting for Varisia.  I tried to make an adventure hook out of this fascinating fashion mystery, but my players refused to take the bait, and opted for goblin hunting instead.

Four technologies stand out in this turtleneck as possibly being anachronistic:

  1. Jersey Fabric
  2. Raglan Sleeve
  3. Turtleneck
  4. Bright Blue dye

I’ll explore each one in a post of its own.