While researching for my current WIP, "The Way of Impressions", I've come across a lot of information about life in the 18th century, and thought I would share my findings :-)
A pistol could only fire one shot before it had to be re-loaded. A bullet was called a "ball".
A rich man's servants wore a uniform called a "livery".
A "Post-Chaise" was an enclosed carriage with scenic front and side windows. Instead of being driven by a coachman sitting at the front, it was guided by a "postillion"or post-boy, who rode on one of the horses. There was only one-forward facing seat inside the carriage, and an additional rear seat outside the carriage, usually occupied by the important accompanying servants. The luggage was stowed in the "boot" where the coachman's bench would have been, on a platform. There were no handles on the inside of the carriage. You were inside of it until someone opened the door for you (unless you didn't care to break the door and kick it open).
Because of dangerous highwaymen (thieves), it was unwise to travel without guards. Especially if you were wealthy.
While people of this time period weren't every day bathers, they did bathe. It was believed that cold water was good for the body and could cure illnesses. The wealthy often had cold baths or plunge pools on their properties, and enjoyed spas almost as much as the Romans did their bath complexes. They also flocked to the seaside, believing that saltwater had healing properties. Ladies wore a tunic-like undergarment called a "chemise" as a bathing suit, although, if a lady was seen in her chemise, it was the equivalent of being seen naked.
Women were still viewed as simpletons, and treated as the property of a father or husband.
Women wore hair pieces or extensions instead of wigs, and greased both their natural hair and hair pieces to blend the color and encourage the hair powder to stick. Hair powder began to die out toward the last part of the century in favor of natural hair, but hair powder was still used for court socials and balls.
It was more scandalous for a woman to show any part of her legs or ankles than to expose her breasts.
A wealthy woman carried necessities such as a watch, seals or keys in a chatelaine, a gilded purse-like contraption she tied to her waist.
Sleeve cuffs were not permanently fixed to a woman's gown. They were pinned on to vary the style.
A person did not call upon an a friend or acquaintance's residence without a personal or business card. To do so would be to risk the embarrassment of being turned away at the door. Calling cards were the Facebook of the 18th century. They were displayed on a tray in public view, so that the host could show off their connections.
It was a widely held belief that country air carried diseases.
The difference between pirates and privateers was only this: privateers had a license to kill and pillage ships, granted by a country's ruling authority.
If you were one of the 500 babies out of 1,000 to survive the age of two, you're average life expectancy was thirty-five years. Fifty was a ripe old age.