Cracking the Code: Vintage Dress Reveals Weather Secrets

Time-Traveling Threads

Vintage Dress. So, there’s this antique mall in Maine, right? And in that treasure trove, Sara Rivers Cofield stumbled upon a Victorian dress straight out of a time machine. Puffy bustle, lace cuffs, the whole vintage shebang. As a vintage costume collector, she knew it was a gem from the 1880s. The catch? It had a hefty price tag – $125. But ’tis the season, and she splurged a hundred bucks on this beauty.

Unraveling the Threads of Time

Fast forward to December 2013, and Sara discovers a little secret – a hidden pocket under the bustle. Inside? Two crumpled sheets with lists of random words and places. Bismark, Calgary, leafage – cryptic much? A handwritten tag said “Bennett.” Cue the mystery music.

The Blog Post Heard ‘Round the World

In February 2014, Sara spills the beans on her find in a blog post, calling it Bennett’s Bronze Bustle. She’s baffled by the random words and conspiracies start swirling – spy codes, love notes, Civil War secrets. Internet sleuths jump in, calling it the “silk dress cryptogram,” but no one cracks it. The dress takes a back seat, and life goes on.

Enter Wayne Chan, the Code Whisperer

Summer 2018 rolls around, and Wayne Chan, a Canadian researcher, stumbles upon the mystery online. He dives deep into 170 code books, but no dice. Fast forward to last year, and he has an epiphany. These aren’t spy codes; they’re weather reports! Turns out, in the 1800s, people were all about saving words in telegrams to save cash. So, meteorologists had this cool code to share weather deets in a few words.

Weather in the Threads

“Bismark, omit, leafage, buck, bank” – sounds like gibberish, right? Nope. It’s a weather report from May 27, 1888. Each word spills the beans on temperature, wind speed, and more. Wayne figures out it’s a 19th-century telegraph weather code used by the Army Signal Corps. It wasn’t about secrecy; it was about saving money on telegrams.

Unlocking the Weather Time Capsule

Now, Sara and Wayne have this “aha” moment. The dress wasn’t just a fashion statement; it was a walking, talking weather station. They even found out who Bennett was – a mystery woman with a knack for meteorological secrets. Why she stashed weather notes in her secret pocket? Well, that’s still a head-scratcher.

The Big Takeaway: Weather App? What’s That?

In the end, Sara realizes that in the 1880s, folks didn’t have weather apps. Telegrams were their source of meteorological wisdom. It’s like stepping into a time when people decoded the skies instead of swiping on an app. A true blast from the past!

So, here’s to vintage dresses, hidden pockets, and the unexpected tales they unravel. Who knew threads could hold weather secrets? The mystery might not be fully solved, but Sara and Wayne have stitched together a pretty darn good story. Time to appreciate our weather apps a bit more, huh?