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The Victorian Era was so called because of the reign of Queen Victoria who was ruler over the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Her reign was the longest in the history of the United Kingdom and lasted between the years June 1837 and January 1901. Thus the years 1840-1900 became known as the Victorian Era. You can browse the topics below to explore the variety of the Victorian lifestyle of that period.

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Pineapple Cheese

An old newspaper ad, published right after the civil war ended simply stated, "Pine Apple Cheese. 50 Boxes received by mail-boat, and for sale by Geo. C. Hunter & Co. Agents for Manufacturers." Pine Apple Cheese? What kind of cheese is that? Does it taste like pineapple? Was it made from pineapple? I had never heard of this cheese before. So I sought out, but in vain, to find a modern counterpart. I was left to go back in time and read up on this mystery cheese. The History Behind Pineapple Cheese In 1808...Continue Reading

Back to School Series: Slate Pencils

Slate pencils were simliar to the chalk we use today. Slate pencils were made to use on slate boards, which were the predecessor to chalkboards. At least two varieties of slate pencils could be found in America in the 1870's or before. A black variety, manufactored in Germany, which was described as being hard, black and full of grit. Then there was the soft lighter colored slate pencil which had been termed 'Light or Soap Stone'. In the early days these would have looked like they had been whittled out with a knife but...Continue Reading

How Fish-Hooks are Made

This article was found in The Manufacturer and Builder - Februray 1870 issue. It looks at how fish hooks were still being produced in the 1870s and near the end of the article it briefly compares to how they were made many years before this. The wire for making fish-hooks is procured in coils from Sheffield or Birmingham, of different qualities, varying with the kind of goods required. All first- class hooks are made from the very best cast-steel wire; other qualities are made of steel, but inferior; while the common sorts of large...Continue Reading

Fashions August 1842

LATEST PARIS FASHIONS. {from the The New York Visitor and Lady's Album} Bonnets there is but little change in ; they are not worn quite so forward as last month; the crowns are a little raised, and the brims shorter. The most fashionable are those of lace, crape lisse, tule, and plain and fancy rice straw. Poult de soi is mostly used for drawn bonnets. Mantelets And Scarfs, of cashmere and silk, are not so generally worn as those of muslin and lace. Those of richly embroidered China silk are very fashionable. Shot silks...Continue Reading

Fashions July 1842

SUMMER FASHIONS. {from the The New York Visitor and Lady's Album} Morning Dress.--Striped foulard robe; the bodice quite high, tight to the shape, and the front ornamented in a novel style with silk cord. Demi-long sleeves, made tight except at the elbow, below which they terminate, displaying a long undersleeve of muslin puffs. The skirt is trimmed on each side of the front, and round the border, with two deep tucks, each surmounted by a trimming composed of cord. Light green silk bonnet; a small shape, trimmed with ribbon to correspond, and a white...Continue Reading

Victorian Shoe Pattern

Here is the other shoe pattern I found in Peterson's Magazine of 1860. Like the previous one this does not have instructions thus leaving a lot of room for your own creativity....Continue Reading

Fashions June 1842

LATEST PARIS FASHIONS {from the The New York Visitor and Lady's Album} Selected from the French and English Monthlies, brought by the Steamer Acadia. Hats.--The only alteration in hats is that the crown inclines a little more forward, and the brims spread out more on the temples, to show as much of the hair as possible. Drawn Capotes are very fashionable, composed of shot Gros de Naples* of the many and varied colours for the Spring, ornamented with rows of notched ribbon, arranged over each drawing. The strings are composed of the same material,...Continue Reading

Victorian Shoe Pattern

I ran across a couple of Victorian shoe patterns. They did not come with instructions but they are pretty straight forward. This is the first one. They were found in the Peterson's Magazine of 1860....Continue Reading

Fashions December 1881

Fig. 1.--(301).--The Daisy Ball Toilette, for a young lady. It may be made of pink alpaca, satin, or silk; trimmed with blonde lace. The body of polonaise is frilled and gathered at waist, front, and back, and at the shoulders. The skirt is well draped in front and back, edged with blonde and trimmed with ribbons. The underskirt consists of a tablier laid in deep pleats. The sides and back are formed of numerous plisse' flounces. It will require 14yds.alpaca; 5yds. blonde; 8 yds. ribbon. Fig. 2.--(302).--Theatre and Dinner Costume of black velvet and...Continue Reading

How to Enlarge A Pattern

This article appeared in the Peterson's Magazine in 1860. I thought it could be useful to those looking to size these patterns into dolls clothes or costumes. Or it could just be interesting to know how the ladies did that back in those days. How to enlarge a diagram - A new subscriber asks us how to enlarge the patterns in out diagrams. The process is quite simple. Suppose No. II, in the first of the two diagrams, in this number, (for the Louis the Fourteenth cloak) is to be enlarged. First take a...Continue Reading

Architecture & Building

Gothic Cottage 1860

A Gothic cottage houseplan from the Godey's Ladies Book for the year 1860. The houseplan is "From original design of Samuel Sloan, Architect, Philadelphia"....Continue Reading

Painting the House Exterior in 1859

- Fawn [web equivalent #C8B08F] | Drab [web equivalent #A48D6B] | Dark Green [web equivalent #465141] The following from The House: A pocket manual of Rural Architecture 1859 - Exterior Color.-For the outside painting of country houses, quiet, neutral tints should generally be chosen. The various shades of fawn, drab, gray, and brown, are all very suitable. All the positive colors, such as red, yellow, blue, green, black, and white, should always be avoided. Nothing can be in worse taste than the very common practice of painting country houses white. This color is glaring...Continue Reading

How to Plan a Convenient Dwelling.

Click on image to enlarge "WHEN we do mean to build a domicil, We first survey the plot, then draw the model; And when we see the figure of the house, We then compute the cost of the erection, Which, if we find outweighs ability, What do we then but draw again the model ?" SHAKESPEARE. WHY is our country so full of large, costly, and inconvenient dwelling-houses? The answer is so obvious that every intelligent person will understand and appreciate the reason as soon as it is announced, namely, those who planned such...Continue Reading

Improved Window-Screen Frame.

The Stuart window-screen frame herewith illustrated, is manufactured by E. C. Stearns & Co., of Syracuse, N. Y., and has become an article in the leading wholesale and retail hardware trade. The unique appearance of this frame, and the ease with which it can be made or put together, are specially notable features. The moldings are furnished 36 inches long, and coped on one end to engage the adjoining piece, as shown in sectional view, Fig. 1. All that is necessary in making a frame, is to slide the moldings along on one another...Continue Reading

How to Build a Brick House - PAINTING, ETC.

In districts where the color of the brick is of a sombre hue, and not too bright a red, you need not resort to painting; it certainly is not necessary for the preservation of the material, and if left in its natural state is productive of a very pleasing effect, when used in combination with an appropriate colored stone for the window dressings and ether ornamental portions. For cottage residences, and small villas, it certainly produces a fine appearance to leave the brickwork in its natural state, having the joints pointed with blue or dark...Continue Reading

Hints on the Color of Country Houses.

The choice of color for country houses requires the exercise of taste, judgment, and an eye for harmonious combinations. Keeping always in view the general effect, when the fancy begins to range beyond the safe line of the neutral tints, the field for error is so large disastrous that the house may be?as we have known certain houses to be?of all the colors of the rainbow before the decorative portions of it are finished. Before the building is finished, the whole subject of color should be carefully considered. Afterward, as the eye becomes accustomed to...Continue Reading

French Sash Windows.

These windows, so very elegant in appearance, and convenient in domestic architecture, have long labored under the disadvantage of not being weather-tight; and, as the same form of window properly prevails in English Gothic and Italian styles, it has been a source of much trouble to builders. The difficulty arising from shrinkage was deemed insurmountable; and architects were forced to insert casings in the walls over their windows, into which the lower sash, being one third longer than the upper one, could slide up, so as to leave an entrance to a balcony or...Continue Reading

The History of Windows.

THE origin of the word window is suggestive of the primary intention of that very essential feature in building. It is derived from the Welsh wyntdor, which means a passage for the wind; showing clearly that time first office of the window was ventilation, and not lighting, although it is used for both purposes in these latter days. Its early history is one of curious interest, now that plate-glass has assumed almost illimitable dimensions and surpassing beauty. It is beyond all doubt that these apertures in buildings were, in early times, mostly filled with paper,...Continue Reading

Plank Walls for Cottages.

In localities where lumber is plenty and saw-mills conveniently near, the strongest, most weather-tight walls, as well as those most easy of construction, are formed of plank of any thickness, and three and four inches wide, laid alternately on their sides, every other plank to project on the inside, and all to be flush on the outside. Thus the projecting courses on the inside will serve to hold the plastering, and the expense of lathing will be saved. The object of the two breadths of plank, namely, three inches and four inches, will be easily...Continue Reading

Designs for Brackets.

CHASTE yet neat ornaments add much to the appearance of any building, while nakedness on the one hand, and meretricious display on the other are equally displeasing. In very few of the brackets which are seen attached to houses are elegance and simplicity so combined as to produce a pleasing result, and we therefore submit, with great pleasure, the following designs which are from the hand of a well known New York architect. Fig.1. is a scroll piazza bracket, while in Figs. 2, 3, 4, are given designs for cornice brackets of great simplicity...Continue Reading

Babies & Children

Back to School Series: Slate Pencils

Slate pencils were simliar to the chalk we use today. Slate pencils were made to use on slate boards, which were the predecessor to chalkboards. At least two varieties of slate pencils could be found in America in the 1870's or before. A black variety, manufactored in Germany, which was described as being hard, black and full of grit. Then there was the soft lighter colored slate pencil which had been termed 'Light or Soap Stone'. In the early days these would have looked like they had been whittled out with a knife but...Continue Reading

Victorian Dress For A Little Girl

From the Lady's Home Magazine of 1858. This is a charming costume for a miss. It is of pink silk, delicately tinted as a rose leaf. The skirt is composed of six flounces, the upper one forming a sort of basquine to the waist. These flounces are button-holed on the edges in small scallops, and embroidered in tiny rose buds. The waist is plain, and open to the bodice, disclosing a stomacher composed of puffings of white Swiss, separated by bands of rich needlework insertion. Each side of the stomacher is finished with lapelles...Continue Reading

The Baby Carriage

A tintype of a baby in a baby carriage dating to around to the early to mid 1870's. Early baby carriages took on the form of miniature horse drawn carriages. During the early to mid 1870s they began to take on a distinct style of thier own that eventually gave way to the ever so popular wicker type found in the latter part of the 19th century. This article from the American Agriculturist of 1875 gives us some insight into the early forms of baby carriages. The Baby Carriage. We can do very well...Continue Reading

The Story of a Doll-House

Every house has a story - even a doll's house. This nostalgic story of a doll-house owned by a little girl named Ann, which was built around 1814, gets told in an article found in the St.Nicholas magazine published 1889. The author of the story was a woman named Katherine Pyle. Seventy-five years ago, a little brother and sister had a play-house in a cupboard. It was a sheet-closet; and on the upper shelves were piled great rolls of home-spun linen, with bunches of lavender between their smooth folds to make them smell sweet....Continue Reading

The Baby Carriage and its Appointments

I found this article from Babyhood published in the November 1888 issue which gives us a closer look at the Victorian baby carriage from the 1880's and 1890's. The article gives us details from how they are made, how comfortable they are, how to furnish a carriage to dangers like brass nails and arsenic poisoning. WHEN we remember that Baby takes most of his exercise in his baby carriage, that he often remains in it as long as three hours at a time, and that he takes many naps while lying in it, it...Continue Reading

Two Old Fashioned Dolls.

One of them, as you see,is a boy-doll.He is made of wood, and has joints at the elbows, the thighs, and the knees. The features of the face are painted. He wears a coat cut in style of sixty years ago, and the coat and trousers both are of black silk. The vest is short-waisted, and made of some white material. An old-fashioned "stock" and shirt-collar add a touch of elegance to the little gentleman's costume. The hat is quite remarkable for a boy-doll. It is made upon a frame, which is covered with...Continue Reading

The Children's Toys and a Pleasant Place for the Little Ones

Having two boys myself and the problem of toys always being spread all over creation I could really appreciate this article. It's dated November 1887 - It is the first rainy days of autumn that bring the children -- happily occupied out of doors during the summer -- into the house, with their hands full of clay to be baked, their pockets full of shells, pebbles, and sand, their muddy shoes, loud voices, and boisterous, upsetting ways. They troop into the sitting-room, where their mother has established herself to sew quietly, and in five...Continue Reading

Time Line of the Sand Box.

Baby's Sand Pile {1904} In a great wooden box, Nice and smooth to save her frocks, Is the baby's sand-pile, where all day she plays; And the things she thinks and makes, From a house and barn to cakes, Would keep, I think, her family all their days. Once she said she'd make a pie, - Or, at least, she'd like to try, - So up she straightway rolled each tiny sleeve; For her plums she used some stones, Made a fire of cedar cones - Not a real fire, you know, by make-believe....Continue Reading

Children's Toys.

IT is by no means a matter of indifference what toys are put into the hands of children, since their young minds receive permanent impressions from the objects with which they are surrounded in early years. We think a few hints, addressed to parents, on this subject, will not be out of place. 1. At the present day, when the dignity of labor is coming to be more and more acknowledged, and those sciences which touch the workshop are taking their place as the equals of the ?learned professions,? it is highly important that...Continue Reading

THE SECOND BABY.

An interesting article from the perspective of a "bachelor uncle" on the pros and cons of being the second born. Of course at the end of the article he gives his reason of why he is such an expert on the topic. His article was published 1855 in Harper's Monthly Magazine. Between the first baby and the second what a falling off is there, my countrywomen! Not in intrinsic value, for the second may chance to be "as pretty a piece of flesh as any in Messina," but in the imaginary value with which...Continue Reading

Fashion

Fashions August 1842

LATEST PARIS FASHIONS. {from the The New York Visitor and Lady's Album} Bonnets there is but little change in ; they are not worn quite so forward as last month; the crowns are a little raised, and the brims shorter. The most fashionable are those of lace, crape lisse, tule, and plain and fancy rice straw. Poult de soi is mostly used for drawn bonnets. Mantelets And Scarfs, of cashmere and silk, are not so generally worn as those of muslin and lace. Those of richly embroidered China silk are very fashionable. Shot silks...Continue Reading

Fashions July 1842

SUMMER FASHIONS. {from the The New York Visitor and Lady's Album} Morning Dress.--Striped foulard robe; the bodice quite high, tight to the shape, and the front ornamented in a novel style with silk cord. Demi-long sleeves, made tight except at the elbow, below which they terminate, displaying a long undersleeve of muslin puffs. The skirt is trimmed on each side of the front, and round the border, with two deep tucks, each surmounted by a trimming composed of cord. Light green silk bonnet; a small shape, trimmed with ribbon to correspond, and a white...Continue Reading

Fashions June 1842

LATEST PARIS FASHIONS {from the The New York Visitor and Lady's Album} Selected from the French and English Monthlies, brought by the Steamer Acadia. Hats.--The only alteration in hats is that the crown inclines a little more forward, and the brims spread out more on the temples, to show as much of the hair as possible. Drawn Capotes are very fashionable, composed of shot Gros de Naples* of the many and varied colours for the Spring, ornamented with rows of notched ribbon, arranged over each drawing. The strings are composed of the same material,...Continue Reading

Fashions December 1881

Fig. 1.--(301).--The Daisy Ball Toilette, for a young lady. It may be made of pink alpaca, satin, or silk; trimmed with blonde lace. The body of polonaise is frilled and gathered at waist, front, and back, and at the shoulders. The skirt is well draped in front and back, edged with blonde and trimmed with ribbons. The underskirt consists of a tablier laid in deep pleats. The sides and back are formed of numerous plisse' flounces. It will require 14yds.alpaca; 5yds. blonde; 8 yds. ribbon. Fig. 2.--(302).--Theatre and Dinner Costume of black velvet and...Continue Reading

Fashions December 1881

Back view of above plate. Fig. 1.--(298.)--The Alicia Promenade Costume, of brown cachemire, trimmed with embroidery worked on the material: this toilette is very pretty; both at back and front the jacket is made long, and is buttoned to the bottom of skirt: it is trimmed with collar, revers, and puffed sleeves. The overskirt is well draped in front; at back the retrousse' forms a pouff over a deep plaited underskirt. Quantities required : 14 yards cachemire ; if a separate trimming is used, 14 yds. embroidery will be required ; 12 buttons. Fig....Continue Reading

Men and Women Fashions January 1844

This colorful fashion plate found in the Graham's American Monthly Magazine of January 1844. I haven't run across too many plates that feature men's fashion's at all let alone alongside women's. GENTLEMAN'S DRESS Fig. 1.--The entirely new style of coats with standing collar--vests of buff cassimer--pants dark brown, with stripe. LADY'S EVENING DRESS Fig. 2.--A dress of white satin, trimmed with volants of broad white lace. Paletot of dark violet velvet, edged all round with sable; cape, collar, and loose long sleeve, all bordered with sable; the backs of the open sleeve being closed...Continue Reading

Victorian Dress For A Little Girl

From the Lady's Home Magazine of 1858. This is a charming costume for a miss. It is of pink silk, delicately tinted as a rose leaf. The skirt is composed of six flounces, the upper one forming a sort of basquine to the waist. These flounces are button-holed on the edges in small scallops, and embroidered in tiny rose buds. The waist is plain, and open to the bodice, disclosing a stomacher composed of puffings of white Swiss, separated by bands of rich needlework insertion. Each side of the stomacher is finished with lapelles...Continue Reading

Fashions May 1842

LATEST PARIS FASHIONS {from the The New York Visitor and Lady's Album} Selected from the French and English Monthlies, brought ,by the Steamer Britainnia. Walking Dresses. -- In promenade dresses the skirts are quite plain, while the corsages are tight, and a little busques*. Many dresses are made high up to the throat; and with regard to the sleeves they differ materially in the shape; but the most remarkable are les manches a caitles, or, as you would call them, tubes, having the appearance of scales ; another plan is, having the sleeves fulled...Continue Reading

Victorian Shoes in the Making

Different regions were known for wanting different characteristics in shoes. For example in the United States the Northerner liked shoes that were comfortable, neat but also stylish. The southerner was known to desire a pair that were fancy and handsome. Then the westerners would demand a shoe that had solidity and fullness to deal with the rough terrain. There were many resources were put into the shoes of Victorian times. There were the herds roaming on the Western plains or in their backyard that provided leather. The hemlock and oak that help to tan...Continue Reading

Fashions for December - 1856

Exactly 150 years ago this was the fashion for December Click on image to enlarge FIGURE 1 is a dress of rich light-blue taffeta, with flounces of velours epingle, representing tangled beds of roses, in their natural colors. The berthe and sleeves are similar in design, but narrower. The berthe forms epaulettes on the shoulders, and meets in a point about the mid-depth of the corsage, which is pointed. The skirt is full, with three flounces, of which only the upper one appears in the figure. Upon the edge is woven a narrow fringe, and...Continue Reading

The Manufacture of Cloth Buttons.

The Manufacture of Cloth Buttons. THE history of this manufacture is a subject of sufficient interest to claim a place in our pages, although we can hardly agree with the writer of the following, when he says that iron of the required character can not be manufactured in this country. We lately gave an account of sheets of iron so thin that they were used instead of letter-paper, and we may here add that they were remarkably tough and flexible. Of course it would be an easy matter to give them any required degree of...Continue Reading

Decline of the Paper Collar.

It is hardly twenty-five years since the advent of the paper collar. Prior to that time the average man wore neck-gear made from linen fabric, or was content to go without collars, except on Sundays and legal holidays. Then the collar was frequently built in with the shirt and worn with a loose, limp and decidedly comfortable manner. The mechanic going to his daily work despised collars altogether, and in order to see an aggregation of white linen, stiffly starched and held about the neck with satin stocks, it was necessary to attend church or...Continue Reading

Dress Goods.

IT seems as if there could be nothing new in fabrics, so great has been the variety before; but beautiful new goods, with soft twills, fine diagonal reps, rough surfaces, and wrought figures lie temptingly on every counter. Cashmere will not be quite so fashionable this season as it has been, notwithstanding its wonderful capacity for wear. A fresh material called camel?s hair cashmere takes its place for street suits. This resembles both its namesakes, having the hairiness of the one and the twill of the other, with a degree of thickness between the two....Continue Reading

Furniture

Cottage Furniture - Bedroom Set

Still on the topic of an early Victorian bedroom, it was suggested in the book The Architecture of Country Houses good furniture could be purchased from Edward Hennessey of Boston. It described a small bedroom set like this: "This furniture is remarkable for its combination of lightness and strength, and its essentially cottage-like character. It is very highly finished and is usually painted drab, white, gray, a delicate lilac, or a fine blue - the surface polished and hard, like enamel. Some of the better sets have groups of flowers or other designs painted upon...Continue Reading

Cottage Furniture - Wardrobe

When most of us think of the early Victorian era, we think of highly ornamental furniture and decor. However the book 'The Architecture of Country Houses' published in 1859, suggests that the highly gilded, ornate furnishings and details should be left to city dwellings. The mindset of cottage homes was to have a more subdued and peaceful surrounding. The book goes as far as to say that decoration is uncalled for in small cottage homes. The book suggests the decor should include a simple and classic design when furnishing the country cottage home. Included in...Continue Reading

Kitchen Furniture

NEVER have dark furniture for a kitchen. It shows the dust much more than light and requires double the care. Never have extra shelves or mantels painted dark if you can help it. If it is your misfortune to have dark painted furniture, wipe it once in a few days with a damp cloth, and have it varnished often. Have your sink in a convenient place, but never under a window if you can avoid it, as much work is caused by greasy dish-water spattering upon the windows as it necessarily must. Back of your...Continue Reading

Furnishing a House.

A newly-married young couple, just about taking and furnishing a house, anticipate a great deal of pleasure in the choice and selection of their furniture, carpets, paper-hangings, etc. Both being persons of good taste, they never for one moment imagine that anything but the most complete success will crown their choice; but it very often happens that the carpet which looked very handsome in the shop is of much too large a pattern for a small room, and the paper which seemed very bright when exposed to view in the rear room, lighted from the...Continue Reading

Julius Ives & Co [Lamps]

You can order a reprint of this company's catalogue at Sirlampsalot Publications . The reprint includes 5 catalogues between the years 1868 to 1883. - Taken from Manufacturer and Builder Jan 1869...Continue Reading

Black-Walnut Polish.

TAKE asphaltum, pulverize it, place it in a jar or bottle, pour over it about twice its bulk of turpentine or benzole, put it in a warm place, and shake it from time to time. When dissolved, strain it and apply it to time wood with a cloth or stiff brush. If it should make too dark a stain, thin it with turpentine or benzole. This will dry in a few hours. If it is desired to bring out the grain still more, apply a mixture of boiled oil and turpentine; this is better than...Continue Reading

Games & Amusements

Games and Gaming

An article by Milton Bradley, the now widely known game manufacturer, published in 1894 by Good Housekeeping. Few realize that Milton Bradley was a publisher, manufacturer of games, an author, and even developed a system for teaching color in schools known as the Bradley system. This article specifically deals with a certain stigma that was evidently attached to games esp in some New England communities. His article is interesting as it sheds light into the thinking of the time. * * * The return of long winter evenings brings to light the stores of...Continue Reading

Calendar on Your Fingers

I couldn't resist publishing the following little "lingo", as it's called, from an 1887 Almanac. Someone long ago devised a special way to find the first day of the month. This dates before 1837 according to the narrative, so it is quite old and very interesting. I haven't run across this one before. So once again its published so it may not be "lost". "This is the way that an old timer manages to keep the days of the week that months open with. It will be found correct and interesting to such people who...Continue Reading

Pig Latin, Goose Latin and all those Secret Languages

One of my favorite things to do is read articles from old magazines and periodicals. I find it intriguing to get a 19th century view on things, including their own recollections of their past. I was searching for articles about school houses since I had read some rather inspiring verses of prose so that I wanted to explore that theme a little more. While searching I ran across a rather unusual article that I couldn't resist pondering over. It dealt with a very uncommon subject - that of the secret languages of children. Have you...Continue Reading

Bouquet

MATERIALS REQUIRED : Sheets of colored tissue-paper of light yellow, orange, rose-color, red, light and dark violet, deep crimson, purple, light and dark blue, and white, two of each; also a fourth as many sheets of light and dark green tissue-paper as there are players; one spool of fine wire, such as tissue-paper manufactorers sell; No. 8 needles and Nu 70 white and black cotton; one bottle of mucilage (adhesive, glue or glue sticks would probably work good here); at least one third as many pairs of scissors as there are players. As the...Continue Reading

Gardens & Agriculture

Transplanting Trees.

As soon as the foliage has dropped, transplant ornamental, shade or fruit trees. There will be a saving of one year?s growth between those planted now and those in the spring. In taking up trees, great care should be taken not to mutilate their roots, for every fibre of the root lost, the growth of the tree will be retarded so much, and its life endangered. Whenever it is absolutely necessary to part with any of the roots, take off the top in proportion. Let the holes be larger than the roots and never bend...Continue Reading

CUT FLOWERS.

Image courtesy of The Old Design Shop The first thing to be considered in arranging cut flowers is the vase. If it is scarlet, blue, or many-colored, it must necessarily conflict with some hue in your bouquet. Choose rather pure white, green, or transparent glass, which allows the delicate stems to be seen. Brown Swiss wood, silver, bronze, or yellow straw conflict with nothing. The vase must be subordinate to what it holds. A bowl for roses. Tall-spreading vases for gladiolus, fern, white lilies, and the like. Cups for violets and tiny wood flowers....Continue Reading

Health & Beauty

The Family Medicine Chest

A Victorian medicine chest is described along with common contents and how to use them. This certainly provides a sharp contrast to what kind of supplies are kept in household medicine cabinets today. The article was originally published in 1887 of the Good Housekeeping magazine. Every family should be supplied with a small medicine chest, especially in the country where the drug store cannot be promptly reached or a doctor visited. These chests can be bought at prices ranging from $3 to $25, according to size, kind of material used and beauty of finish....Continue Reading

FRECKLES.

-The favorite cosmetic for removing freckles in Paris is an ounce of alum and an ounce of lemon-juice in a pint of rose-water. Taken from Godey's Ladies Book 1855...Continue Reading

MILK OF ROSES

Taken from Godey's Ladies Book 1855 MILK OF ROSES is made thus: Put two ounces of rose-water, a teaspoon of oil of almonds, and twelve drops of oil of tartar, into a bottle, and shake the whole till well mixed....Continue Reading

ELDER FLOWER OIL FOR THE HAIR.

Taken from Godey's Ladies Book 1855 -Take of the best almond or olive oil, one pound; elder flowers (free from stalk), two ounces; place the flowers in the oil in a jar or wide-mouthed bottle; let them remain forty eight hours; then strain. The oil must now stand in a quiet and cool place at least a month, in order to clear itself. The bright part being poured off, is fit for use. If considered too strong, plain oil may be added....Continue Reading

TOOTHACHE.

Taken from Godey's Ladies Book 1855 -A correspondent (to whom we are obliged) strongly recommends the following simple remedy for toothache, from her own experience of it benefit. It is simply two or three drops of oil of juniper used every morning on the toothbrush after washing the teeth. We may say here that we are always very glad to receive receipts tested by correspondents....Continue Reading

TO RESTORE HAIR.

Hair, when removed by illness or old age has been restored by the following simple means; though they are not likely too prove efficacious to all cases. Rub the bald places frequently with an onion. - Taken from Godey's Ladies Book 1855...Continue Reading

House Cleaning and Organizing

Cleaning Bottles

Many persons clean bottles by putting in some small shot and shaking them around. Water dissolves lead to a certain extent, and a film of this lead attaches itself to the sides of the bottle so closely that the shaking or rinsing with water does not detach it, and it remains to be dissolved by any liquid which has the least sourness in it, and if drank, lead poison may be the result; sometimes a shot becomes wedged in at the bottom of a bottle, to be dissolved by wine or cider. Therefore it...Continue Reading

The Shoe Bag

"A Place for Every Shoe, and Every Shoe in its Place." A spicy magazine article, entitled "Skeletons in Closets," enters complaint against the omnipresent shoe bag; protesting against " wall pockets nailed inside closet doors, for holding boots and shoes," saying, " It is the worst possible plan yet devised for keeping them," and inviting suggestions for something better in its place. An old housekeeper of over thirty years' experience, with whom the shoe bag has been a sine qua non, proving not only a great convenience but a household necessity, cannot agree with...Continue Reading

Advice in Regard to Kerosene Lamps.

Antiquated article on the dangers of Kerosene Lamps.... As at present so many parties are abolishing the use of gas and substituting kerosene lamps, a few words of warning and advice about their use may be welcome to many. Frequent accidents show that kerosene lamps are more or less dangerous from a tendency to explode, and if they do, it is always caused by the vapor or gas that collects in the space above the oil. When full of oil, of course a lamp contains no gas; but immediately on lighting the lamp, consumption...Continue Reading

Cleaning House Fronts

IN Paris, a municipal regulation requires the periodical cleaning of the house-fronts; and a due regard to the appearance of the buildings, from the street would suggest a similar practice in many cities on this side of the water. The plan most approved in Paris, where it has been in use for the past two years, is to throw against the house-front a jet of water forcibly projected by steam pressure. The advantages of this mode are cheapness, the avoidance of injury to the more fragile ornamental or sculptural portions of the building, and...Continue Reading

Spring House Cleaning

Now comes the season of general cleaning, when all the corners and closets are overturned and hidden things are brought to light. Early in the months before the moths-millers show themselves all the woolen sheets, blankets, etc., are to be washed, and the extra ones packed carefully away in deep chests, and cedar boughs strewn over them, or camphor gum. If you possess a camphor-wood trunk, you can defy the moths, but without that convenience, special heed must be paid to their dislikes, or you may have your blankets destroyed. Carpets that do not...Continue Reading

IMITATING Dark Woods

The appearance of walnut may be given to white woods, by painting or sponging them with a concentrated warm solution of permanganate of potassa. The effect is different on different kinds of timber, some becoming stained very rapidly, others requiring more time for this result. The permanganate is decomposed by the woody fibre; brown peroxyd of manganese is precipitated, which is afterward removed by washing with water. The wood, when dry, may be varnished, and will be found to resemble very closely the natural dark woods. - Taken from Manufacturer and Builder Oct 1870...Continue Reading

To Fit a Key.

When it is not convenient to take a lock apart to fit a new key, the key blank should be smoked over a candle, inserted in the keyhole, and pressed firmly against the opposing wards of the lock. The indentations in the smoked portion made by the wards will show where to file. - Taken from Manufacturer and Builder Aug 1875...Continue Reading

Black-Walnut Polish.

TAKE asphaltum, pulverize it, place it in a jar or bottle, pour over it about twice its bulk of turpentine or benzole, put it in a warm place, and shake it from time to time. When dissolved, strain it and apply it to time wood with a cloth or stiff brush. If it should make too dark a stain, thin it with turpentine or benzole. This will dry in a few hours. If it is desired to bring out the grain still more, apply a mixture of boiled oil and turpentine; this is better than...Continue Reading

Wooden Floors - How to Cleanse them.

This is a very important matter in a country like the United States, where there is so much change of domicile, and that particularly in a city like New York on the first of May. Floors dirty enough to make housekeepers desperate when they think of the bare possibility of being able to clean them, are first scrubbed with sand, then rubbed with the aid of a stiff brush with a lye of caustic soda, and washed with hot water. Then, after the lapse of an hour or so, and before the floor is dry,...Continue Reading

How to Paper a Room.

SEVERAL lengths of paper should be laid one on another upon the floor or bench, allowing the fair edges to project over, so that the paste may not touch the figured surface. The back should then be smartly brushed over with paste, covering every part, taking especial care not to soak the paper. The more quickly and dexterously this operation can be performed, the better will be the result, and no time should be lost in at once placing time wet paper upon the wall. The more common papers have less power of resisting water...Continue Reading

TO RENOVATE TORTOISE-SHELL COMBS.

Taken from Godey's Ladies Book 1855 -When plain tortoise-shell combs are defaced, the polish may be removed by rubbing them with pulverized rotten-stone and oil. The rotten-stone should be sifted through muslin; then polish with jeweller's rouge, or with sifted magnesia. Meanings of Word or Phrases used Jeweller's rouge-Red powdered haematite, iron(III) oxide. It is a mild abrasive used in metal cleaners and polishes....Continue Reading

HAIR BRUSHES.

Taken from Godey's Ladies Book 1855 -To clean hair-brushes, put a spoonful of pearlash into a pint of boiling water, then fasten a bit of sponge to the end of a stick, dip it into the solution, and wash the brush. Next pour some hot water over it, and dry before the fire. Meanings of Word or Phrases used Pearlash- This is a refined form of potash....Continue Reading

In The Bathroom

Improved Porcelain Bath Closets.

For a number of years past there has been a steadily growing demand among the well-to-do class for a higher grade of sanitary appliances for the household, and the demand has extended not merely to the comparatively unimportant features of greater elegance of form or better taste in decoration, but also to the quality of the appliances and their adaptation for their intended uses. As a consequence of this, there has been a vast improvement in this direction in the fitting up of dwellings of the better class, and to a great extent the crude...Continue Reading

Toilet Roll Holder

This Victorian toilet roll holder dates around 1891. It was originally in a blackened finish and it measures around 8" x 6 1/2"....Continue Reading

Bathroom Decor - Soap Dish & Faucet

Examples of Soap Dish and Bathroom Sink Faucet - Taken from Manufacturer and Builder Nov 1880...Continue Reading

Plumbing Improvements.

Every one will agree that the ordinary arrangement of wash-basins and bath-tubs, consisting of a stopper and chain attached, is objectionable; the chain is often in the way, it will pull the stopper out when this is not desired, and soon look dirty and unsightly, and no doubt it would be far better if they could be dispensed with. This now may be accomplished by Foley's patent valve, of which Fig. 1 gives an exterior view, and Fig. 2 a section, with its application to a wash-basin. Its top comes flush with the marble slab,...Continue Reading

Plumbers' Cabinet Wood-Work. [Sink Cabinets]

ONE of the signs of industrial progress is the continually increasing formation of specialties in trades. Thus we have piano-makers' hardware, barrel-makers' tools, etc. At present we call attention to a branch of business established by Messrs. Win. S. Carr & Co., of 106, 108, and 110 Center street, New York, of plumbers' cabinet wood-work. As might be expected, if progressive and intelligent parties undertake a new specialty, two important results are gained; first, cheapness, as they produce everything as far as possible by the aid of machinery especially constructed for the purpose; and...Continue Reading

Improved Sanitary Appliances. (Water-Closet)

We exhibit in the accompanying illustration one of the recent improvements in water-closets manufactured by the J. L. Mott Iron Works, of 88 and 90 Beekman street, New York, one of the leading houses in this country in this branch of manufacture. The closet shown is of the wash-out pattern, with back outlet, and is provided with simple and effective water-seal, and patented improvements for providing sewer and seat ventilation of the most positive and reliable kind. The present form and construction of this closet?which the makers call the Inodoro?is claimed to be the...Continue Reading

The Modern Bath-Room. (1885)

Click Image for a Larger View We have pleasure in being able to lay before our readers, from advance sheets of a new catalogue about to be issued by the J. L. Mott Iron Works, of 88 and 90 Beckman street, New York, the accompanying beautiful illustration representing the appointments of a modern?and, we might add, model -bath-room, the whole making a most harmonious and effective combination. The immediate purpose of or which the illustration was prepared, was to show the manner in which certain articles, which figure in the pages of the catalogue,...Continue Reading

A Modern Bath-Room Interior. (1884)

Click Image for a Larger View The accompanying illustration, which represents a bath-room interior fitted with the latest and most approved modern conveniences and sanitary appliances, forces directly upon the mind a realization of the great progress that has been made in all that relates to household sanitation during the past ten years. The revolution that has been made within this brief period is simply astonishing. Such subjects as the piping, plumbing, bath-room, water-closet and other household conveniences but a few years ago were not esteemed worthy the attention of the architect or house...Continue Reading

Bath-Room Interior, with Approved Modern (1883)

Click Image for a Larger View The attention that of late years has been bestowed upon all matters relating to public and domestic sanitation, has given us not only healtheir towns and dwellings, but has had the incidental advantage of educating the public up to a better appreciation of the character and importance of sanitary measures and appliances. The result is that public buildings and private dwellings to-day are supplied with improvements and conveniences of this character that a few years ago were quite unknown. The public have come to know and understand their...Continue Reading

Improved Domestic Sanitary Appliances. (Tub)

We illustrate and describe herewith some representative specimens of a very superior class of domestic sanitary appliances and conveniences, which are manufactured exclusively for the J. L. Mott Iron Works, of this city, by Messrs. Joseph Cliff & Sons, England. We have repeatedly had occasion to invite the attention of our readers to the high rank occupied by this well-known house as manufacturers of highly artistic iron work of every description for domestic uses, and the appliances we are about to describe, which are the latest additions to their already large and comprehensive sanitary...Continue Reading

In The Kitchen

Pineapple Cheese

An old newspaper ad, published right after the civil war ended simply stated, "Pine Apple Cheese. 50 Boxes received by mail-boat, and for sale by Geo. C. Hunter & Co. Agents for Manufacturers." Pine Apple Cheese? What kind of cheese is that? Does it taste like pineapple? Was it made from pineapple? I had never heard of this cheese before. So I sought out, but in vain, to find a modern counterpart. I was left to go back in time and read up on this mystery cheese. The History Behind Pineapple Cheese In 1808...Continue Reading

The Strawberry

June and Strawberries Half a dozen people, more or less, have been credited with the saying, "Doubtless, God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did;" and the declaration regarding this most delicious and wholesome of all berries, goes without questioning, no matter by whom it was first uttered. The strawberry, whose name is probably derived from the common and ancient practice of laying straw between the plants to keep the berries clean, is a native of the temperate latitudes of both hemispheres--Europe, Asia, North and South America--and though well known...Continue Reading

The Lunch Table - Some Suggestions as to its Decoration

In the country, where the hostess does not depend on the tender mercies of the florist and the caterer, the decoration of the lunch table grows to be a kind of cult. One's wits are so sharpened by necessity, that what to a city woman would seem a great trouble becomes a pleasure to the country entertainer. Perhaps there may be some readers of GOOD HOUSEKEEPING who have not lived long enough in the country to feel their emancipation from florist and caterer, and to them these suggestions may not some amiss. The arrangement...Continue Reading

Covering Jam.

Jam Jars, Glass Jars, Tumblers, and Pails from 1894 A SERIOUS JAR. If Jem is the same as Jim, And G sounds the same as J, Then between a Gem, and Jim, and Jem, What is the difference, pray ? We read about Gem Jars, -- Jars made for holding jam. Then, are these Gem jars jim jam jars? (Be calm, my mind, be calm.) - The Popular Speaker 1885 Few of the rising generation remember the world before the "gem jar," but the middle aged remember with sorrow the many golden summer hours...Continue Reading

Civil War Era Kitchen Utensils

A kitchen should always be well furnished; there is no necessity that it should be profusely so, but there should be a sufficiency of every thing which can aid in producing the dishes preparing, with the success which is so essential to the gratification of the palate. In furnishing a kitchen there should be everything likely to be required, but not one article more than is wanted; unnecessary profusion creates a litter; a deficiency too often sacrifices the perfection of a dish, there should be a sufficiency and no more. The following articles, of which...Continue Reading

Aluminum Cooking Ware.

This article from Manufacture and Builder March 1894 - From present indications, there is one important field which the metal aluminum has just fairly invaded, and which it will shortly occupy to the exclusion of all other materials. We refer to kitchen and cooking utensils. It has only been within the past year or two that any special attention has been directed to the eminent fitness of this metal for such implements, and that any systematic effort has been made to manufacture such wares and bring their merits to the notice of the public....Continue Reading

The Dawn of the Egg Beater

AN advertisement in 1899 showing the coveted family size Dover Egg Beater. In the last half of the 19th century a new kind of egg beater came on the scene with the intent of reducing the time a cook needed to beat, whip or froth eggs. At first many of these devices were cumbersome, difficult and most didn't even live up to the claims of reducing its time. Gradually, however, as they improved the designs, one finally emerged that could do the work nearly perfectly. It didn't require much muscle, it did the job...Continue Reading

Advice about the Woodburning Oven

The following from Jennie June's American Cookery Book 1870 - In nine out of ten kitchens, when there is any cooking to be done the range is made red hot; when the cooking is done, the fire is left to go down to ashes, and is then raised by means of a wasteful pile of kindling wood. When no cooking is going on, and a large fire is not needed, the dampers will frequently be left open, and the fuel allowed to blaze itself out up the chimney instead of being kept in reserve...Continue Reading

Interior Decoration...

The Bathroom

Improved Porcelain Bath Closets.

For a number of years past there has been a steadily growing demand among the well-to-do class for a higher grade of sanitary appliances for the household, and the demand has extended not merely to the comparatively unimportant features of greater elegance of form or better taste in decoration, but also to the quality of the appliances and their adaptation for their intended uses. As a consequence of this, there has been a vast improvement in this direction in the fitting up of dwellings of the better class, and to a great extent the crude...Continue Reading

Toilet Roll Holder

This Victorian toilet roll holder dates around 1891. It was originally in a blackened finish and it measures around 8" x 6 1/2"....Continue Reading

Bathroom Decor - Soap Dish & Faucet

Examples of Soap Dish and Bathroom Sink Faucet - Taken from Manufacturer and Builder Nov 1880...Continue Reading

Plumbing Improvements.

Every one will agree that the ordinary arrangement of wash-basins and bath-tubs, consisting of a stopper and chain attached, is objectionable; the chain is often in the way, it will pull the stopper out when this is not desired, and soon look dirty and unsightly, and no doubt it would be far better if they could be dispensed with. This now may be accomplished by Foley's patent valve, of which Fig. 1 gives an exterior view, and Fig. 2 a section, with its application to a wash-basin. Its top comes flush with the marble slab,...Continue Reading

Plumbers' Cabinet Wood-Work. [Sink Cabinets]

ONE of the signs of industrial progress is the continually increasing formation of specialties in trades. Thus we have piano-makers' hardware, barrel-makers' tools, etc. At present we call attention to a branch of business established by Messrs. Win. S. Carr & Co., of 106, 108, and 110 Center street, New York, of plumbers' cabinet wood-work. As might be expected, if progressive and intelligent parties undertake a new specialty, two important results are gained; first, cheapness, as they produce everything as far as possible by the aid of machinery especially constructed for the purpose; and...Continue Reading

Improved Sanitary Appliances. (Water-Closet)

We exhibit in the accompanying illustration one of the recent improvements in water-closets manufactured by the J. L. Mott Iron Works, of 88 and 90 Beekman street, New York, one of the leading houses in this country in this branch of manufacture. The closet shown is of the wash-out pattern, with back outlet, and is provided with simple and effective water-seal, and patented improvements for providing sewer and seat ventilation of the most positive and reliable kind. The present form and construction of this closet?which the makers call the Inodoro?is claimed to be the...Continue Reading

The Modern Bath-Room. (1885)

Click Image for a Larger View We have pleasure in being able to lay before our readers, from advance sheets of a new catalogue about to be issued by the J. L. Mott Iron Works, of 88 and 90 Beckman street, New York, the accompanying beautiful illustration representing the appointments of a modern?and, we might add, model -bath-room, the whole making a most harmonious and effective combination. The immediate purpose of or which the illustration was prepared, was to show the manner in which certain articles, which figure in the pages of the catalogue,...Continue Reading

A Modern Bath-Room Interior. (1884)

Click Image for a Larger View The accompanying illustration, which represents a bath-room interior fitted with the latest and most approved modern conveniences and sanitary appliances, forces directly upon the mind a realization of the great progress that has been made in all that relates to household sanitation during the past ten years. The revolution that has been made within this brief period is simply astonishing. Such subjects as the piping, plumbing, bath-room, water-closet and other household conveniences but a few years ago were not esteemed worthy the attention of the architect or house...Continue Reading

Bath-Room Interior, with Approved Modern (1883)

Click Image for a Larger View The attention that of late years has been bestowed upon all matters relating to public and domestic sanitation, has given us not only healtheir towns and dwellings, but has had the incidental advantage of educating the public up to a better appreciation of the character and importance of sanitary measures and appliances. The result is that public buildings and private dwellings to-day are supplied with improvements and conveniences of this character that a few years ago were quite unknown. The public have come to know and understand their...Continue Reading

Improved Domestic Sanitary Appliances. (Tub)

We illustrate and describe herewith some representative specimens of a very superior class of domestic sanitary appliances and conveniences, which are manufactured exclusively for the J. L. Mott Iron Works, of this city, by Messrs. Joseph Cliff & Sons, England. We have repeatedly had occasion to invite the attention of our readers to the high rank occupied by this well-known house as manufacturers of highly artistic iron work of every description for domestic uses, and the appliances we are about to describe, which are the latest additions to their already large and comprehensive sanitary...Continue Reading

The Bedroom

Sweet Dreams - A Look at the Bed and Bedroom of the 1850's

This being a cold and snowy afternoon has me drowsy and looking over at my feather pillows and covers wishing to slip off into slumber. So with that said and the fact that we have had some recent articles on bedroom cottage furniture, we are going to go over some advice from the book The Practical Housekeeper, about this topic. We have mentioned before how iron bedsteads were becoming more popular because of their cheapness and lovely designs. A few years before the civil war iron and brass bedsteads were made in nearly every size...Continue Reading

Cottage Furniture - Bedroom Set

Still on the topic of an early Victorian bedroom, it was suggested in the book The Architecture of Country Houses good furniture could be purchased from Edward Hennessey of Boston. It described a small bedroom set like this: "This furniture is remarkable for its combination of lightness and strength, and its essentially cottage-like character. It is very highly finished and is usually painted drab, white, gray, a delicate lilac, or a fine blue - the surface polished and hard, like enamel. Some of the better sets have groups of flowers or other designs painted upon...Continue Reading

Cottage Furniture - Wardrobe

When most of us think of the early Victorian era, we think of highly ornamental furniture and decor. However the book 'The Architecture of Country Houses' published in 1859, suggests that the highly gilded, ornate furnishings and details should be left to city dwellings. The mindset of cottage homes was to have a more subdued and peaceful surrounding. The book goes as far as to say that decoration is uncalled for in small cottage homes. The book suggests the decor should include a simple and classic design when furnishing the country cottage home. Included in...Continue Reading

Home Decoration - The Chambers

"Chambers" The walls of bedrooms should be decorated in light tints and shadings, with a narrow rail and deep frieze. Most housekeepers prefer rugs and oiled floors to carpets, but this is a matter of individual taste. Rugs are as fashionable as they are wholesome and tidy. These floor coverings should be darker than the furniture, yet blending in shade. If carpets are chosen they should be the lightest shades and in bright field-flower patterns. Avoid anything dark and somber for the sleeping room. Pink and ceil-blue combined are very pretty, scarlet and gray,...Continue Reading

The Dining Room

Decoration of a Dining-Room.

The following suggestions applied to a breakfast or dining-room may be of service: The flat of ceiling a vellum tint, cornice of the same, but deeper in tone, in pleasing contrast with the ceiling. The prominent members of the cornice may be picked out in color to harmonize with the wall - paper. Ornamental cornices, with breaks and connecting-lines in color, may be put upon a flat ceiling. The aspect of the room should be considered in the choice of the wall-paper; if northerly, warmth of color is advisable. As a background for pictures, the...Continue Reading

Home Decoration - Dining Room

"Dining Room" The dining-room should be furnished with a view to convenience, richness, and comfort. Choose deep rich grounds for the walls-bronze-maroon, black, Pompeiian red, and deep olive-and the designs and traceries in old gold, olive or moss green, with dado and frieze to correspond. Or, the walls may be wainscoted with oak, walnut, maple, ect. Some are finished in plain panels, with different kinds of wood; others, again, are elaborately carved, with fruit, flowers, and emblems of the chase. The floor is the next point of consideration. It may be of tile or laid...Continue Reading

The Kitchen

Soapstone, Wash-Tubs and Sinks

AMONG the mineral productions the usefulness of which has for centuries remained unknown, and only recently has become to be appreciated, is undoubtedly soapstone, by mineralogists called steatite, and by chemists hydrated silicate of magnesia. The pure material is white, translucent, and looks like soap, while all the varieties have a. greasy feeling, whence the name soapstone. The ordinary variety has a bluish or greenish-gray appearance, which is caused by slight traces of foreign ingredients, and as these vary with the locality, so does the color of the soapstone. A beautiful variety is now...Continue Reading

Kitchen Furniture

NEVER have dark furniture for a kitchen. It shows the dust much more than light and requires double the care. Never have extra shelves or mantels painted dark if you can help it. If it is your misfortune to have dark painted furniture, wipe it once in a few days with a damp cloth, and have it varnished often. Have your sink in a convenient place, but never under a window if you can avoid it, as much work is caused by greasy dish-water spattering upon the windows as it necessarily must. Back of your...Continue Reading

Improved Kitchen Sink.

We represent on this page an important improvement in one of the most essential contrivances necessary in housekeeping, namely, a kitchen sink, which can also be used as a wash-basin, dish-pan, laundry wash-tub, and drainer. It possesses a valve, which is opened by raising the pull P; 0 is an overflow, and Q an adjustable partition, while S is the outlet and valve seat. If it is used as a sink, the water is let out entirely; by raising the handle or knob P, and turning the valve half way round, the valve S...Continue Reading

Kitchen Sinks.

THE sink is without doubt one of the most essential features in a modern kitchen, but at the same time it has, unfortunately, thus far been a neglected piece of manufacture, being made after a certain accepted form, without any attempt at improvement to overcome the inherent defects of that form. Let us see what these defects are. First, the grate over the waste pipe gets very easily choked up, when at once the whole sink is changed into a puddle of dirty water, and anything placed in it to drain is inundated. Second,...Continue Reading

A Woman's Idea of what a Kitchen should be.

To begin with, I would have a kitchen well lighted; yes a great deal of the broad, expansive sunlight shining in boldly, as if it had a perfect right to be there. That would, of course, necessitate large windows. And then I would give as much attention to the ventilation of a kitchen as I would to a sleeping-room. I would have a large circular device suspended over the cooking stove, with a hole In the centre, and a tube leading to the top of the house, to carry off the savory smells which the...Continue Reading

Improved Sanitary Appliances. (Kitchen Sink)

We have had occasion in former articles to describe some of the admirable novelties in sanitary appliances for the household made by the J. L. Mott Iron Works, of this city. Of the several improved appliances of this nature which received favorable notice at our hands, the Imperial porcelain bath tubs will doubtless be recalled by our readers; and we have the pleasure now of calling attention to another said sanitary appliance, the cleanliness of which is perhaps of even more importance than that of the bath tubs, and which possesses the same advantages...Continue Reading

Home Decoration - The Kitchen

"The Kitchen" It is a remark too often made that this or that "is good enough for a servant." If all knew that unpleasant surroundings made unpleasant servants and ill-prepared meals, we think more pains would be taken to have pleasant and comfortable kitchens. There should be a pleasant window or two through which fresh air and floods of sunlight may come, a few plants on the window sill, a small stand for a workbasket, an easy chair that the servant may "drop into" when an opportunity offers, the walls painted or calcimined with some...Continue Reading

General

Plaster Ceiling Medallions

Plaster ceiling medallions were first introduced in America in the 18th century. Some know them as rosettes and occasionally they were referred to as "Plaster Centers". These ceiling centerpieces reached a zenith of popularity in the 19th century. The bigger the room the bigger the medallion was. However, the lower the ceiling the smaller the medallion would get so as to not overwhelm its occupants. The rims of the medallions went in and out of fashion through the years. The early periods of colonial and regency times found rims quite in fashion. However, during...Continue Reading

Braided Rug

The braided rug is still ever so popular today. Even in my babyhood I sat playing on a very large braided rug at my grandmother's house. They have found their place in homes for generations now. They have indeed stood the test of time in practicality, charm, and sturdiness. I found these instructions on making a braided rug in Beautiful homes: Or, Hints in house furnishing, 1878, that may be of interest. A rug which is not only neat and even tasteful, but economical withal; as it may be made of old garments or...Continue Reading

Interior Decoration - Management of Colors.

PAINTERS, as a general rule, acknowledge but three primary colors--blue, red, and yellow; and whatever exception ninny be taken to such a statement on scientific grounds, there is no question that such a view of the subject does afford certain practical advantages. It is further assumed, that all other tints are mere mixtures of these three colors. For instance, green is made up of blue and yellow; violet, of blue and red; and orange, of red and yellow. If one has no taste and no power of discrimination between colors, it is a useless...Continue Reading

Wall Papers

If a paneled effect is desired for a room that is intended to be particularly dainty, .such as a boudoir, nothing would be prettier than to use a plain paper at the top and bottom of the wall, and to separate the panels. This should be delicate in tone, buff, cream or pale blue, and used in strips from fifteen to eighteen inches wide. The panels themselves should be large, not less than four or five feet across, if possible, and hung with paper in a Dresden design, one of those dainty floral patterns, such...Continue Reading

Sanitary Science and Domestic Architecture.

By John Crowell, M.D., in the Popular Science News. NO. IV. Nearly every well-appointed dwelling has a room called the library, and it is quite apt to be located in some obscure and dark coiner or angle of the house, shut out from the light and air of street or courtyard. Many city libraries are so dark that it is difficult to read or write on a cloudy day without the aid of artificial light. To people of literary tastes the library is an important room. It is a convenient place for quiet work, and...Continue Reading

Stencil Designs for Ceilings, etc.

Click Image for a Larger View Until lately, it was the prevailing fashion, in all houses of any pretension to elegance of interior finish, to introduce more or less elaborate ornamentation of the ceilings with the aid of stucco, which was then finished in colors, giving a florid, but, for apartments of good size, a general attractive appearance. This fashion has to some extent been supplanted by others, but still retains much of its popularity. The taste for decoration, however, is so strongly on the increase, that, to gratify it, a number of appropriate...Continue Reading

Household Conveniences.

WE have received from our various correspondents quite a number of requests for us to publish something about the minor household conveniences. In compliance therewith we present the following details with explanatory illustrations, for which we are indebted to the American Agriculturist, for the particular benefit of those residing remote from cities, who are desirous of learning how such commodities are arranged. Fig. 1 gives a general view of a 2 1/2 story house with the main apparatus in the first story. Though this is usually placed in the basement, we can easily imagine the...Continue Reading

The Rochester Lamp

Click Image for a Larger View The attention devoted to the construction of lamps, electroliers and chandeliers for gas and electric lighting, has had the effect of greatly improving the artistic merits of these fixtures, which afford so inviting a field for the exercise of the skill and good taste of the designer. The same improvement may be remarked in the production of artistic lamps and fixtures for oil-burning. The fact should be kept in mind, that, in spite of the enormous strides in electric lighting, the oil lamp must remain for years to...Continue Reading

Furnishing a House.

A newly-married young couple, just about taking and furnishing a house, anticipate a great deal of pleasure in the choice and selection of their furniture, carpets, paper-hangings, etc. Both being persons of good taste, they never for one moment imagine that anything but the most complete success will crown their choice; but it very often happens that the carpet which looked very handsome in the shop is of much too large a pattern for a small room, and the paper which seemed very bright when exposed to view in the rear room, lighted from the...Continue Reading

Interior Decorations.

IT is a singular fact that amid all that is being constantly written upon matters of art but little is said in reference to the interior decoration of ordinary country or city dwellings. By ordinary we mean dwellings that cost 4000 dollars or there-abouts. The art of internal decoration has received very little attention at the hands of men calling themselves practical decorators, intending thereby that their ideas may be so used, practically, as to produce beautiful effects, whether the ornamentation or mouldings are executed in color or plaster, and at the same time afforded...Continue Reading

Old and New Fire Grates.

THERE is a constant tendency toward the revival of old fashions, old styles, and old methods. These are improved, it is true, just as the crinoline of modern belle is a very different affair from the hoops which encased the fair ones of the court of Queen Anne. When our forefathers landed on these shores, they found that the grates and fire-places of Britain were utterly inadequate to maintain a proper degree of warmth during our cold winters. So the grate and the fire-place were abandoned, and stoves for burning wood and coal took...Continue Reading

The Selection of Wall-Paper.

ONE of the most important features in the decoration of the interior of dwelling-houses is undoubtedly the adorning of rooms by means of wall-paper. In this respect people do not always exhibit good taste. It is therefore proposed to make some suggestions in regard to the proper selection of colors. In the first place, it ought to be remembered that here can never be an opportunity for too much light in a room ; for if at any moment a moderate amount is desired, a ready means to effect that object is always at hand....Continue Reading

Portable Wainscoting.

Click Image for a Larger View IT is always a peculiarity of all valuable inventions that no sooner are they once explained than every body wonders why nobody ever thought of a thing so very simple before; and to this law very few exceptions are ever presented in its application to the common matters of every-day life. An invention has been recently brought before the public, which illustrates this principle, in the portable wainscoting and wood floor covering, specimens of which have lately been put on exhibition, manufactured after Furscheim?s idea. The invention consists...Continue Reading

A Cabinet Refrigerator.

A FEW days ago, while passing up Sixth avenue, we saw at the store of Mr. Lesley?No. 605?a very neat and useful little article with which the readers of our home department can hardly fail to be pleased. It is nothing more or less than a small, portable refrigerator, which can be carried from room to room as circumstances may require. It has a reservoir for ice at the top, with a silver-plated faucet for drawing off the water. Below the ice is the cooling apartment, which is chilled to a low degree by...Continue Reading

Shall our Houses be Painted or Plastered?

Of course, says the American Builder, everybody knows, or ought to? know, that walls and ceilings are finished with plaster. But everybody may not be aware that plaster has the property of absorbing moisture. This, perhaps, will not take place in rooms where a fire is kept steadily; but in rooms left, as is often the case, for weeks without a fire, the walls will take up a considerable quantity of damp. The effect will be injurious to the health of the inmates. There are few persons who have not suffered from a mysterious cold,...Continue Reading

Color in House Interiors.

The principles of the proper use of color in house interiors are not difficult to master. It is unthinking, unreflective action which makes so many un-restful interiors of homes. The creator of a home should consider, in the first place, that it is matter as important as climate, and as difficult to get away from, and that the first shades of color used in the house, on walls or ceiling, must govern everything else that enters in the way of furnishing?that the color of walls prescribes that which must be used in floors, curtains and...Continue Reading

Home Decoration - Overview

Taken from Useful Information for Ladies 1897 "Overview" The chief features to be observed in house furnishing are color, form, and proportion. All stiffness of design in furniture should be avoided. Do not attempt to match articles, but rather carry out the same idea as to color and form in the whole. It is not en regle to have decorations in sets or pairs ; the arrangements should all be done with odd pieces. Every room in the house should be arranged for occupancy, having nothing too good for use, and the judicious housewife will...Continue Reading

On Colors...

Taken from Miss Beecher's Housekeeper and Healthkeeper 1873 Much of the beauty of furniture is secured by the tasteful combination of colors. There usually should only be two colors in addition to the white of the ceiling. Blue unites well with buff or corn color, or a yellow brown. Green combines well with drab, or white, or yellow. Scarlet or crimson unites well with gray or drab....Continue Reading

On Curtains...

Taken from Miss Beecher's Housekeeper and Healthkeeper 1873 The cornices to your windows can be simply strips of wood covered with paper to match the bordering of your room, and the lambrequins, made of chintz like the lounge, could be trimmed with fringe of gimp of the same color. The patterns of these can be varied according to fancy but simple designs are usually the prettiest. A tassel at the lowest point greatly improves the appearance of the entire curtain. The curtains can be made of plain white muslin, of some of the many styles...Continue Reading

Walls and their Coverings

Taken from Scribner's Monthly May 1872 In the old days of wainscots, when every room of any pretensions to elegance was banded with light or dark wood to height of three or four feet from the base, it was far easier to effectively ornament the portion of wall left uncovered, than it is when an unbroken surface sweeps, as now, from floor to ceiling. If the pattern which covers this surface be large and positive, the effect is to lessen the apparent size of the room, and confuse with vulgar repetition. If, on the contrary,...Continue Reading

Floors

Taken from Scribner's Monthly September 1871 WHEN Mr. Ruskin chronicled the "Ethics of Dust," he should have devoted a large portion of his space to the modern floor. The popular theory of a floor, reduced to practice, amounts to this: it is the principal dust-trap of the room. Being of soft and porous wood, its cracks open easily for the admission of dust, from furnace, cellar, or whatever is underneath. This dust insinuates itself into the carpet from the under side, while from above the chimney, windows, and doors pour a fine insensible stream into...Continue Reading

The Hallway

Remodelled Hallway

We offer the accompanying illustration as an example of remodelling. In the original house the stairway was narrow and enclosed. This has been removed, and a new staircase in hard wood introduced, with fireplace and settle at the foot of the same, and at the end of the settle the old hall clock. The upper portion of this fire-place has the brick-work exposed, the lower portion being encased for mirror, etc., and above the mirror a small sconce mirror. As will be noticed, the doorways into time principal rooms from this hall are without...Continue Reading

Home Decoration - The Hall

"The Hall" The hall being the index to the whole house, due care should therefore be given to its furnishing. Light colors and gilding should be avoided. The wall and ceiling decorations now mostly used are in dark rich colors, shaded in maroons or deep reds. Plain tinted walls and ceilings in fresco or wainscot are also frequently used. The latest shades of wall paper come in wood colors, dark olive-greens, stone color, and grays, in tile, arabesque and landscape designs, and with these are used a corresponding dado and frieze. A tile of...Continue Reading

The Library

Home Decoration - The Library

"The Library" The walls of the library should be hung with rich, dark colors, the latest style in wall paper being a black ground with old gold and olive-green designs. The carpet comes in Pompeiian red, with moss-green and peacock-blue patterns. Statuary and the best pictures should find a place in the library. The library table should be massive and the top laid with crimson baize. There should be a few high-backed chairs, upholstered in leather, a reading-chair, soft rugs, foot-rests, a mantel mirror, a few mantel ornaments, and the piece de resistance-the bookcase....Continue Reading

The Living Room

Home Decoration - The Sitting Room

"The Sitting Room" The sitting or everyday room should be the brightest and most attractive room in the house. Its beauty of decoration should not be so much in the richness and variety of material as in its comfort, simplicity, and the harmony in its tints-the main features being the fitness of each article to the needs of the room. In these days of so many advantages much can be done in adornment by simple means. The wall papers mostly used come in grounds of cream, amber, rose, pale olive, fawn, ceil blue, and...Continue Reading

The Parlor

Home Decoration - The Parlor

"The Parlor" The furnishing of the parlor should be subject to its architectural finish. The first things to be considered are the walls and floor. The former may be decorated in fresco or papered, according to the individual taste and means. The prettiest styles of parlor paper are light tints of gray, olive, pearl, and lavender grounds, and in small scroll patterns, panels, birds, and vines, finished in heavy gold traceries, with dado and frieze to correspond. The styles of carpet mostly used are Brussels, Wilton, tapestry, and Axminister. A tapestry carpet in light...Continue Reading

Laundry

What Is Bluing?

If you open any cookbook or other domestic book for house keepers you will usually find instructions on how to do laundry. Inevitably you will come upon the rinsing of clothes to be done by putting into bluing. This is what was commonly used to brighten whites. In it's earliest forms it was used by having indigo tied in a thin muslin bag and shaken in the water until the right shade was produced to brighten whites. But natural indigo was of a darker blue color and dull according to some. In addition it...Continue Reading

How Blue Monday was Named

An Advertisement for Pearline washing Soap - 1892 The custom of having wash-day on Monday has probably caused more inconvenience to the housekeeper's servants, in fact to the whole household, than they dream of, thereby making it a day to be dreaded, and causing it to be called "blue Monday." Every member of a household feels it, from the darling babe to the pater familias. Of course in very wealthy homes it is different. Rich people are supposed to live without domestic care, but in a home where but one servant is kept, and...Continue Reading

The Art of Washing Clothes.

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 20, 1849. Messrs. EDITORS?The remarks in your excellent paper of Dec. 15th, upon washing and labor-saving soap, induce me to send for insertion the following recipe, which I have followed for a long time with complete success 1 lb. of sal soda, 1 lb. common bar soap, and 6 quarts soft water; boil all together 2 hours, stirring frequently, then set the mixture away to cool for use. In washing take a pint of this mixture for the largest pail of water, and heat till it boils, having previously soaked the clothes in...Continue Reading

To Clean Kid Gloves

Item for the Ladies. To clean kid gloves, have ready a little new milk in one saucer, a piece of white soap in another, and a clean cloth folded two or three times. On the cloth spread out the glove smooth and neat. Take a piece of flannel, dip it in the milk, then rub off a good quantity of soap on the wetted flannel, and commence to rub the glove toward the fingers, holding it firmly with the left hand. Continue this process until the glove, if white, looks of a dingy yellow, though...Continue Reading

Linen Closet

The Linen Press

To those who love housekeeping or who feel an interest in it for duty's sake, the charge of linen and the great care it requires is one of equal importance with the store-closet. It is a pity to trust to finding a linen-closet in any house. If you do find one in a house that has been occupied it forms part of that delightful category of articles and fixtures which demand a premium. Therefore we should advise people when they furnish to have a really good linen-closet made of cedar wood or polished pine...Continue Reading

The Linen Closet - Tablecloths and Napkins

Most young housekeepers take a deep interest in the furnishing and equipment of their tables -- not alone with the food supplies which are there to be served, the dishes which are to contain them, the appointments which are to make everything neat and cozy but as well and especially with the cloth by which the table is to be covered, the napkins which are to be placed beside each plate, whether for the members of her own household or for the visitor -- friendly or critical as the case may be -- who...Continue Reading

Bed Sheets and Blankets

So much has recently been written and printed regarding sheets, pillow-slips and other white clothes for the bed that it may be quite as well to dismiss them with a few words. In the great majority of cases, even those favored housewives who have GOOD HOUSEKEEPING as a guide, are content for the most part with plain, serviceable cotton. This if neatly made up and kept tidy, contains all the elements of comfort-- and that is the first consideration for the equipment of the bed. Something a little finer, more attractive -- perhaps set...Continue Reading

Napkins; to Fold them.

One of the true luxuries of the modern dinner table is the table napkin; but the difficulty with most young housekeepers is how to fold it. Numerous designs have been adopted from time to time, but the following are simple and efficient. A napkin should be laid to every plate. To properly fold the napkins, they should be starched. Тhe Mitre. -- Fold the napkin into three parts, lengthwise, one side towards, and the other from you. Turn down the right hand corner, and turn up the left one, as in fig. 2 A and...Continue Reading

Misc

Household Conveniences.

WE have received from our various correspondents quite a number of requests for us to publish something about the minor household conveniences. In compliance therewith we present the following details with explanatory illustrations, for which we are indebted to the American Agriculturist, for the particular benefit of those residing remote from cities, who are desirous of learning how such commodities are arranged. Fig. 1 gives a general view of a 2 1/2 story house with the main apparatus in the first story. Though this is usually placed in the basement, we can easily imagine the...Continue Reading

To Fit a Key.

When it is not convenient to take a lock apart to fit a new key, the key blank should be smoked over a candle, inserted in the keyhole, and pressed firmly against the opposing wards of the lock. The indentations in the smoked portion made by the wards will show where to file. - Taken from Manufacturer and Builder Aug 1875...Continue Reading

New Demand For Tin Plates.

After making a variety of experiments, extending over a considerable time, a Paris house has at last patented a process for the ornamentation of tin plates. By means of colors, prepared in a way which is as yet a secret, the tin plate is printed. All kinds of neat patterns, such as plaids, names, devices of various kinds, etc., the effects heightened by embossing, can be durably placed on the tin plate by a kind of printing-press, and the article afterward made up by the workman into the desired shape, since the printed surface is...Continue Reading

Sewing and Crafts

Social Life & Etiquette

Unfolding the Mysteries of Sealing Wax and Wafers

Introduction To Sealing Wax and Wafers In the 19th century, sealing wax was a material made by the melting of lac or rosin with turpentine and pigments. In it's earliest forms it would have been made of beeswax and resin. The sealing wax was used to "seal" the letters or envelopes, with or without a wafer. During the early to mid 19th century the use of the wafer became popular in less formal correspondence. Often times people would imprint their sealing wax with initials, coat of arms, or other insignia as their personal mark...Continue Reading

Baby's Announcement Cards.

It is quite common now to have cards printed in tiny form, announcing the birth of infants, and giving thereon the name of the new arrival, and weight and day of birth. We have recently received cards from a mother having "two of 'em," and the cards of each are so neat and unique, that we are led to reproduce them here for the suggestions they may convey to other mothers who are anxious to send out something different from the commonplace. No. 1 is that of a boy baby, and is printed in gold...Continue Reading

19th Century Diaries

Many of our 19th century ancestors kept diaries, scrapbooks or even autograph books. The reasons varied from person to person, but one article on the subject noted that it would be a wise idea to keep a diary of the events that played out. This was true even in the common man [or woman's] life, since after all "every man's life is of importance to him and to his". And just think what a great record would be left for the future generations! As the family "genealogist" this would mean I hit the jackpot...Continue Reading

The Correct Thing In Good Society

In Shopping The Correct Thing For employees to be patient, cheerful, and obliging. For employees to remember that it is their business to wait upon customers, and to be civil to them. For a salesman to prove that he respects himself by showing due respect to others. For a salesman to advise a customer, or assist her in making a choice, if asked to do so. For a shopkeeper to be as polite to a poor customer as to a rich one. For a salesman to remember that customers cannot always know just what they...Continue Reading

The Correct Thing In Good Society

At The Writing-Desk The Correct Thing To use good jet black ink. To use handsome, thick, plain white paper. To fold and direct a letter neatly, and to put on the stamp evenly, and in the proper corner. To put on as many stamps as the weight of the letter or parcel demands. For the autograph fiend to enclose a stamped and directed envelope when writing to his intended victim. To enclose a stamp when writing to a stranger on your own business. To use sealing-wax, if you know how to make a fair and...Continue Reading

A Little About Calling Cards

I love the form of etiquette used by the Victorians. One way they kept social graces was by calling cards. I have a book on etiquette and when I ran across the chapter on Making Calls I was rather surprised to read the following: "It is the correct thing to use perfectly plain visiting cards, of fine pasteboard, engraved in plain script." Example below: Very simple and no fuss were the proper calling cards for 1888. There is something always so elegant in simplicity. The book went on to say: "It is not the correct...Continue Reading

THE MOTHER'S FIRST DUTY.

I WOULD wish every mother to pay attention to the difference between a course of action, adopted in compliance with the authority, and between a conduct pursued for the sake of another. The first proceeds from reasoning; the second flows from affection. The first may be abandoned, when the immediate cause may have ceased to exist; the latter will be permanent, as it did not depend upon circumstances, or accidental considerations, but is founded in a moral and constant principle. In the case now before us, if the infant does not disappoint the hope of...Continue Reading

A Few Feet Under

According to Dr.Harmon K. Root, in his book entitled 'The People's Medical Lighthouse' published in 1852, there were some offensive burial proceedures occuring. He first makes light of how the secrets of the ancients in embalming their dead remained a mystery. Then he speaks about how some of his contemporaries have found a few formulas for embalming that have met with some limited success in slowing the decay process in the dead. He further goes on to relate how a century or even half a century prior to his time had seen the custom, in...Continue Reading

Tools & Machines

How Fish-Hooks are Made

This article was found in The Manufacturer and Builder - Februray 1870 issue. It looks at how fish hooks were still being produced in the 1870s and near the end of the article it briefly compares to how they were made many years before this. The wire for making fish-hooks is procured in coils from Sheffield or Birmingham, of different qualities, varying with the kind of goods required. All first- class hooks are made from the very best cast-steel wire; other qualities are made of steel, but inferior; while the common sorts of large...Continue Reading

Wooden Toothpicks.

Every eating-house visitor of this city and other leading cities of the Union has doubtless noticed a small tumbler of wooden toothpicks upon the counter of the cashier, for the use of customers. These toothpicks are a good feature of the present day. The wooden toothpicks have to a considerable extent superseded the gold, horn, ivory, and other articles of the kind formerly in use. Their manufacture is carried on by but one establishment, which has been in operation four years. It is near Boston, and employs thirty hands of both sexes. The machinery...Continue Reading

Improved Pipe-Wrench.

The defects of many of the ordinary pipe-wrenches are that they are heavy, not easy of adjustment, apt to slip, and even sometimes crush the pipe. A pipe-wrench not subject to these drawbacks, but light, easily adjusted, and of such a form that it cannot possibly either slip or crush the pipe, is therefore a much to be desired tool, and such it is claimed is the pipe-wrench which we represent in the adjoined engraving. It is made of the best tool steel, carefully tempered, and handsomely finished and polished. The smallest size is...Continue Reading

New Demand For Tin Plates.

After making a variety of experiments, extending over a considerable time, a Paris house has at last patented a process for the ornamentation of tin plates. By means of colors, prepared in a way which is as yet a secret, the tin plate is printed. All kinds of neat patterns, such as plaids, names, devices of various kinds, etc., the effects heightened by embossing, can be durably placed on the tin plate by a kind of printing-press, and the article afterward made up by the workman into the desired shape, since the printed surface is...Continue Reading

The Albee Champion Router.

This valuable machine, by reason of the multifarious functions it is capable of exercising, will be found a most desirable addition to the outfit of the wood-working factory. In a former issue of this journal we gave some account of this machine, with an illustration of specimens of its work. Since that time, arrangements have been perfected by which the machine has been taken in hand by W. H. Purdy, Lincoln Building, in Nos. 1 and 3 Union Square, (W.) New York, and placed upon the market. Two sizes of the machine are at...Continue Reading