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6 status symbols from the past (which now seem totally ridiculous)


People used to rent and display a single pineapple

If you had never seen a pineapple and someone showed it to you for the first time, you would think the thing is weird. It looks like a stone from an alien planet or maybe a cyclopenia. The earth, famous for cabbage, radishes, and cow dung, is not supposed to naturally produce these types of miracles. That is how the people of Europe thought anyway when the fruit appeared from overseas, starting with a single surviving pineapple carried by Columbus.

Even today, most people probably don't know what a pineapple plant looks like.
Even today, most people probably don̵

7;t know what a pineapple plant looks like.

For the next few centuries, imported pineapples were rare and exotic and therefore expensive. Very expensive – a single pineapple costs like thousands of pounds. That made it an incredibly extravagant meal, but having even one, whether you ate it or not, was something to brag about. And so the rich rented a pineapple to walk around with or to showcase as the centerpiece at parties guarded by armed guards. The rental company then took the pineapple back and rented it to someone else with too much money, then someone else until the fruit rotten and fell apart.

Over time, England realized they could grow their own pineapples instead of sending them in from mythical islands. But at first this didn’t bring the price down at all. Instead of mass-producing industrial operations, people had to build their own greenhouses and grow their pineapples over many years. This was even more expensive than buying the imported fruit, with each home-grown pineapple costing the 1,600 equivalent of £ 10,000. King Charles II had himself painted with the first locally grown pineapple, a pineapple that, according to forensic horticultural historians, was not planted locally at all.

When he learned the truth, Charles had a stroke and died.
Hendrick Danckers
When he learned the truth, Charles had a stroke and died.

The price of pineapples fell thanks to improved methods of transportation, including the rise of steamboats. And the rich, who still engraved pineapples in the woodwork of their mansions, were appalled to see that the fruit became as cheap as potatoes and was soon devoured by poor people. It would be like seeing lobsters today that are worth next to nothing and eaten by the absolute lowest in society … just like it used to be, before everyone realized that chitinous sea horrors are delicious.


The colors red and purple were super valuable (because they were made from Bug Guts)

People take color for granted today. You have a screen in front of you that can mix lights together and create any existing color, right, and because people can make any color, they often don’t care which one to make. That is why we have digital films today where everything is flat gray or where people want it to be Really noble, they make things black.

But believe it or not, your phone tilt Produce the best colors out there. If you don’t believe us, go to a museum and check out some oil paintings and stained glass – or just wait for the next phone to come out and claim it has colors so good yours look like crap. So yes, color can be underestimated now. However, it’s also possible that people are a little too crazy about color. How do you react to this little guy?

We only ask because three are crawling on your neck.
The difference between Martirosyan
We only ask because three are crawling on your neck.

If you were the Spanish conquerors, you would respond with joy and greed. Because this beetle is the cochineal, the source of a precious shade of red. The dye was used on European officer’s robes, the clothing of kings (and, a while later, the first American flags). The red substance that was produced when the beetles were crushed became the most valuable export of the Spanish from America after silver. Pirates attacked their ships, tried to steal the expensive insects and breed them. That wasn’t so good for her. The insects died outside the Mexican climate, as did the cacti that fed them.

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