Advertisements from vintage newspapers and periodicals shed much light on the tobacco habits of our nineteenth century United States ancestors. Each ad cites sources, dates, and provides everything from brand names to prices to general categories to help us draw conclusions about tobacco use in the Victorian United States.
Why? Because accurate backdrops make for exciting fiction!
Milk Shakes, a frothy, cold beverage was all the rage in the late 19th century (though made without ice cream until the 20th century). Machines shook the beverage until the milk-fat whipped and the flavorings mixed in. Ice cream sodas and shave ice (first snow cones, sold as “snow balls”) became popular, too. Victorians, even in the Old West, enjoyed icy treats and drinks in the heat of the summer.
Our Victorian American ancestors were inventive people. They needed a solution for perishable food in the worst of summer’s heat (and beyond). They came up with a remarkably well-insulated icebox (officially called a refrigerator far earlier than you might guess), designed to be a beautiful piece of furniture and functional. Some iceboxes went so far as to serve the melted ice water by silver tap. This article contains Victorian instructions for care and cleaning of 19th century refrigerators, advertisements, a crime committed with an industrial-sized (believe it or not: a walk-in) refrigerator, current images of antique iceboxes (both family size and commercial size), the icebox’s impact on beer, and so much more.
Our 19th Century (Victorian) American ancestors celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in many ways that mirror current / modern observations. The ‘holiday’ has morphed a bit, too, as is to be expected over a 150 to 100 year time span. Many of the 19th century modes of celebration have disappeared and are no longer in vogue.