Trees that grow in a colder environment produce much denser wood and when it is used for reclaimed flooring they produce a product that is second to none. Many of the barns that Aged Woods uses for reclaimed hardwood flooring were built in the 19th Century or the early 20th century from trees that were several hundred years old when they were cut down to be used. These trees lived through what was known as the Little Ice Age.

Scientists are not quite sure when the Little Ice Age began. Pack ice and Greenland’s glaciers began to advance sometime in the 13th century they believe. Plant material collected on Baffin Island in northern Canada and Iceland suggest ice growth began sometime around 1275 and intensified in the mid-15th century. By 1550 glaciers worldwide were expanding and while not a true ice age the world was getting colder.

Encroaching glaciers destroyed whole villages in the French and Swiss Alps. Rivers in Great Britain and the Netherlands froze solid and the frozen Thames hosted a winter festival every year from 1607 thru 1814. In warmer climate areas parts of the Bosporus Strait in modern day Turkey froze and permanent snow was reported in Ethiopia. Modern testing of the Great Barrier Reef show signs of a colder ocean there and in New Zealand evidence shows that glaciers in the Southern Alps extended into what is rain forest today. Tree ring data in Patagonia in Argentina also show evidence of a colder climate. Settlers in Manhattan could walk across the harbor to Staten Island and along the same lines in 1658 the Swedish army marched across the Great Belt to attack neighboring Denmark.

Snowfall increased leading to more crop failures not only in places like Iceland and Greenland but much further south like Portugal and France. The Norse were forced to abandon their settlements in Greenland in 1408 and Iceland’s population suffered a major decline. Storms intensified destroying crops and in some nations their populations dropped by one third. A rise in tyrannical leaders combined with failing agriculture lead to dispirited populations all across Europe. Peasants searched for anything to eat to avoid starvation like nut shells. Later during the Little Ice Age many felt there was nothing left for them in Europe and emigrated to the New World. It was not much better there as many Native American tribes were also starving forcing the natives and the new arrivals to work together for self preservation. Warm weather crops in China were also abandoned for several centuries.

Searching for a reason for their suffering, the ever religious population of Europe believed they were under a witch’s spell. Witch hunts intensified and a reign of terror spread across the continent. There are modern scientific theories as to why this occurred that don’t involve witches. Perhaps the Moon changed its cycle or a solar flare hit the planet though the most plausible is volcanic activity. Mt. Salamas in Indonesia erupted in 1257 with three smaller eruptions in the next 30 years that prevented a recovery. Several other eruptions from other volcanoes over the next few centuries contributed to the global cooling. It came to a head in 1815 with Tambora’s eruption leading to the Year Without a Summer in 1816. It was during this that Mary Shelley wrote her horror novel Frankenstein.

The planet began to recover and by 1850 glaciers were beginning to retreat. For the trees though the colder climate had made their wood denser so when farmers were building their barns in Europe and North America they were building with an extremely strong wood. Those are many of the barns that Aged Woods use for reclaimed wood so not only is the wood that goes into the flooring old but it has a unique character and grain.