Taxes on Parisian hats, salty tea and an import crisis

Moscow cinema a century ago. Source: Open source

Moscow cinema a century ago. Source: Open source

RBTH turns the clock back a century and shines a light on the now-forgotten stories being reported on the inside pages of Russian newspapers in 1915 and the events and processes occupying the minds of the Russians of the age. Travel back in time with us week by week for a sense of what life was like in the twilight days of the Russian Empire.

Cinema

Movie studios are telling writers: "Do not write screenplays in which the shooting needs to be done abroad!"

One of Moscow's studios tried finding a Moscow street that looked like a Parisian one when shooting a drama about Parisian bohemianism. It was impossible to depict the French lifestyle. The picture cost the studio 3,000 rubles to make, but because of the unconvincing set, the film was a flop.

Birzhiviye Vedomosti. September 8, 1915

 

A hat crisis

At the end of August St. Petersburg milliners would usually travel to Paris for the "models" and by the middle of September the St. Petersburg customs warehouses used to be filled with huge but very light – in comparison to their capacities – boxes containing hats that with their Parisian labels were very fascinating for our ladies.

Times have changed: The hefty customs duty charged for the hats, which are now considered luxury goods, and the big cost of transporting them using a long route has forced the St. Petersburg milliners to decline the "models."

However, even if the milliners cannot sell the Parisian hats, they can still see them in Vyborg. Several large Parisian companies, not wishing to abandon their Petersburg clientele, sent their representatives to Finland with hat models for the upcoming fall and winter seasons.

Birzhiviye Vedomosti. September 9, 2015.

 

Salty tea

Very interesting reserves of tea have been discovered in Vyborg, reserves that were decided to be sold at an auction. But the entire consignment turned out to be patchy. The ship that had been carrying the tea boxes capsized in waters near Sweden. The shipment remained in the water for nine months.

When it was brought ashore it contained 11,000 pounds of salty tea.

The humidity was removed in malt houses using methods of intensive heating. The tea indeed dried, but it did not occur to anyone to remove the salt that had pervaded the tea.

Before stipulating any conditions, the tea merchants tried the tea. That was enough to be spitting for hours afterwards. The tea auction was dropped. None of the large merchants decided to buy the tea.

The owners of the tea are doing everything possible to sell the tea in Petrograd.

Birzhiviye Vedomosti. September 10, 1915

 

War must teach a lesson

When due to the war we stopped receiving manufactured goods with the "Made in Germany" label, we discovered the sad fact of our manufacturing industry's unacceptable backwardness. We do not have any good everyday items that are domestically produced, from needles to pins inclusive. We lived, it turns out, like lords, delegating all the household work to our administrators, who, sucking all the juice out of their masters, unashamedly enriched their pockets.

(…)

The time came when we could not obtain many objects even for a high price and the domestically produced products were so bad that we were forced to refuse them. But soon our enemies again turned to their past habits and came to our aid through suspicious "Swedes" and "Danes" with purely German surnames. Our extensive fatherland was flooded with the same goods as before, but with "neutral" brands and for "a corresponding" price, which made our hair stand on end.

Yaroslavskiye Gubernskiye Vedomosti. September 11, 2015

 

Boy scouts

Lately more and more youths have been joining the boy scouts and the society's activity is constantly expanding.

Special premises have been opened for the boy scout club, in which children, under the guidance of expert teachers, study the English language, music, arts and crafts, etc. They are also read lectures on how to administer first aid, on anatomy, on the essentials of medicine, hygiene, sanitation and other subjects. There is also a platform that on holidays is used for gymnastics, outdoor games and fencing.

Four boy scout clubs are located near combat activities: Three are working on sanitation trains and the fourth is stationed at the Gosudaryni Imperatritsy underwater warehouse.

Moskovsky Listok, September 13, 2015

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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