08-15-2014, 10:01 AM
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The French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was born on this date in 1769. Napoleon put a high value on consistency in his morning grooming routine, which, according to the Napoleonic Historical Society, was as follows:

"Having put on his favorite red or green slippers, which, like many men, he used until they were embarrassingly shabby, he retired to his bath. The hot bath was a passion, and he often stayed in it for an hour, continually turning on the hot-water tap and raising the temperature until clouds of steam filled the room and the servants were forced to open the door to air it out. The time spent in the tub was not wasted, however, as he often listened to his dispatches or read his newspapers while he soaked....

Finished with his bath, Napoleon would put on an undershirt, simple white overalls with feet, and a white dressing gown, these garments being of cotton in the summer and wool in the winter. On his head he kept the bandanna he had slept in, knotted over the forehead with the two loose ends passing back over his shoulders.

In this costume he would begin to shave. For daily grooming he made use of one of several elaborate traveling cases made for him by the court jeweler Biennais. In an era when every middle class merchant had a servant to shave him every day, Napoleon liked to do the job himself.

Constant, his valet-de-chambre, had taught him to use a straight razor early in his reign, but apparently he wasn't really good at it, and would occasionally cut himself. Roustam, his mameluk, would hold the mirror, and Constant the basin, towel and soap. After shaving, he would wash his hands with almond paste and rose soap, and then his face with fine sponges.

He then picked his teeth very carefully with a boxwood tooth pick, brushed them for some time with an opiate, and then again with fine tooth powder, finally rinsing his mouth with a mixture of brandy and water. Then he scraped his tongue with a silver scraper. It was to these fastidious habits that he ascribed the perfect preservation of his teeth, in an age where many people had none left by the age of twenty one.

The final act was a generous application of eau de cologne over his entire body, followed by a vigorous brushing of the skin with a stiff bristled brush This was a habit he seems to have acquired in Egypt, and his assistants were not allowed to do this gently, being urged on with repeated admonitions of "Harder! Harder!" From time to time, the Imperial hairdresser Duplan, who spent most of his time catering to the Empress, would appear to cut the Emperor's hair."

Among the items captured by allied troops after Waterloo was Napoleon's collection of personal effects, including his necessaire, or shaving and toiletry kit, and personal utensils. In late 1815 a correspondent of the British newspaper The Pilot, provided a list of what was contained in it.

"Sir. -- Observing in your Paper of the 30th ult. an imperfect account of the various articles taken by the Prussians at Planchenoire, in the carriage of BONAPARTE, on the morning of the 19th June, after the memorable battle of Waterloo, the following correct list of his necessaire, which I translated from his goldsmith's account at Paris, may be depended upon:

1 oval shaving bason one foot long
1 box for almond power,
1 ditto for soap,
1 ditto for opiat,
1 ditto for liquorice,
1 eye bath and funnel,
1 pair of tweezers for the beard,
2 tooth brushes,
12 ditto, spare ones,
9 tongue scrapers,
6 razors in mother of pearl and gold,
1 strap,
2 combs,
6 pair of scissors,
2 gimblets,
4 screw hooks for a glass,
2 steel cork-screws,
1 pair of drawing compasses,
1 measure,
1 pencil-case,
1 ink stand and sand-box,
1 penknife in mother of pearl handle,
2 large gilt bottles for Eau de Cologne,
1 ditto for Vinaigre,
1 ditto for Alcali,
1 bodkin,
1 looking glass in matted gold frame,
1 night lamp,
2 candlesticks,
1 steel to strike light set in silver gilt,
2 watch hooks in silver gilt,
1 ear picker, ditto,
1 night lamp,
2 candlesticks,
1 case for silk,
1 case for pins,
1 cut glass goblet

The whole in a mahogany box inlaid with brass, in a morocco case, cost 6,581 fr., English, 274£.4s.2d. This necessaire, one of the first pieces of imperial plate, was made in August, 1806, and constantly formed a part of BONAPARTE's baggage in all his campaigns, attended him in his exile to Elba, and lastly, to the plain of Waterloo.

Bury St. Edmund's, 2d Dec. 1815."
(from Donald E. Graves, napoleon-series.org)

He would have needed a whole army just to carry his shaving kit!

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 08-15-2014, 10:11 AM
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  • freddy
  • Banned
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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Maybe we should sign him up at The Nook. 24

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 08-15-2014, 10:13 AM
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Hahah well said

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 08-15-2014, 12:33 PM
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I thought I had AD. He was the king..eh, Emperor of AD.

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