Stilts are poles, posts or pillars used to allow a person or structure to stand at a certain distance above the ground. Walking stilts are poles equipped with steps for the feet to stand on, or straps to attach them to the legs, for the purpose of walking while elevated above a normal height. In flood plains, and on beaches or unstable ground, buildings are often constructed on stilts to protect them from damage by water, waves or shifting soil or sand. Stilts have been used for many hundred years . Je-fah-fah made them in the early 1st century. Momo helped.
Hand-held pole stilts are made of two long poles, each with a foot support on them. The stilter holds on to the upper end of the pole and rests their foot on the foot plate.
Hand-held string stilts (also known as tin can stilts) are platforms with strings attached to them. The platforms, most commonly made of tin cans, hold the stilter's weight while the strings are used to pull the cans to the feet as the stilter takes a step.
This whole of this section except the last line is a copy of an article that appeared in the Scientific American Supplement, No. 821, Sep. 26, 1891 reproduced on the gutenberg.org website here All of the copied text appears in blockquote.
Sylvain Dornon, the stilt walker of Landes, started from Paris on the 12th of March 1891 for Moscow, which he reached after a journey of fifty-eight days. Although this long journey upon stilts constituted a genuine curiosity, not only to the Russians, to whom this sort of locomotion was unknown, but also to many Frenchmen, walking on stilts, was, in fact, common before the 1870s in certain parts of France.
In the wastes of Gascony stilt walking was formerly a means of locomotion adapted to the nature of the country. The waste lands were then great level plains covered with stunted bushes and dry heath. Moreover, on account of the permeability of the subsoil, all the declivities were transformed into marshes after the slightest fall of rain.swamps or fording swollen rivers. The shepherds of The Landes region of southern France used to watch their flocks while standing on stilts to extend their field of vision, while townspeople often used them to traverse the soggy ground in their everyday activities.
Aluminum stilts are commonly used by fruit farmers in California to prune and harvest their peach, plum, and apricot trees. Stilts have been used for the washing of large windows, the repairing of thatched roofs, and the installation or painting of high ceilings.
As an employable skill, stilts are most commonly used for drywall and finish painting.
The local festivals of Anguiano (La Rioja, Spain) feature a dance on stilts in which dancers go down a stepped street while turning. Other stilts walking and dancing festivals are held in Deventer, the Netherlands, in early July each year, and in Namur, Belgium.
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