Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in North America, but also the birthplace of the American chemical enterprise.

Episode 19 | April 11, 2008

Episode 19: Jamestown by Distillations Podcast

Jamestown celebrated its 400th anniversary last year. Many people may know that it was the first permanent English settlement in North America, but less commonly known is that Jamestown was also the birthplace of the American chemical enterprise. Today we learn why the settlers of Jamestown purposely packed copper waste products to bring to the New World with them. Also explore a centuries-old murder mystery and how strontium can help solve it. Finally, producer Amy Mayer takes us into the modern-day glassblowing studio of Josh Simpson—the art of which has not changed much since the first settlers at Jamestown set up their own glassblowing works. Element of the Week: Strontium.

Show Clock

00:00     Opening Credits
00:32     Introduction
01:16     Mystery Solved
04:00     Element of the Week: Strontium
06:24     Visiting Josh Simpson’s Glassblowing Studio
10:13     Quote: Captain John Smith
10:23     Closing Credits

Resources and References

On JR, the mystery man: the Jamestown Rediscovery website.

On strontium: this helpful entry on Wikipedia.

For more about Josh Simpson’s work, visit his Web site.


Special thanks to Robert Hicks for researching the show.

Our theme music is composed by Dave Kaufman. Additional music was provided by Jon Sayles. The music underneath the monologue is “Fly not so fast my dear,” by John Wilbye. The music for the Mystery Solved segment is “My Lady Carey’s Dompe,” by Anonymous. The music for the Element of the Week is “You that wont to my pipes sound,” by Thomas Morley. Underneath the quote of the week is “The Witches’ Dance,” by Anonymous.

Both images of Simpson’s platters are courtesy of Tommy Olof Elder.