I’ve read fiction set in the nineteenth century that references doorbells– and gets it right! (I can’t properly convey how giddy this makes me!) Picture that turnkey doorbell that makes a mechanical clattering sound inside the house.
While bath tubs of various styles were available in cities by the mid-nineteenth century, the American Old West didn’t have easy access to delivery of such finery until after the Transcontinental Railway in 1869 (followed by additional railroads bringing delivery nearer to home) eliminated freight by horse-drawn wagon. Historic images of Montgomery Ward & Co. catalogs and Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogs illustrate available options–some of which are simply too ingenious to miss! Who knew a kitchen sink so easily doubled as a bath tub? Or that a five-and-a-half-foot bathtub could fold up? Price comparisons (then to now) show why it took a good long while for most folks to afford more than a public bath (next post) or a bowl and pitcher to make do.
Along with just about anything a late 19th century household could desire to obtain, Sears, Roebuck & Co. offered telephones for sale. Sears offered the newest telephone technology…until the turn of the century. The 1902 catalog is devoid of telephones. Any idea why?
Pop Quiz! Were screen doors (and window screens) invented BEFORE or AFTER 1870? Do you know?
This article includes images of the screen doors on historic homes (taken recently), images from Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalog and Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalog, as well as historical information about why and how screens were invented during the Victorian era, as well as a solid answer about whether these household basics were invented before or after 1870. The answer just might surprise you.
Historic Silver City, Idaho, was once a bustling boom town with 2500 residents. The conjoined cemeteries tell many tales of the families who lived there. Many of the headstones (and footstones) are very legible and show a slice of Victorian American West life. I share images taken on a sunny day in June and provide the inscriptions from many of the markers. Come, walk through this historic cemetery with me and learn a little about the families who lived. #JacquieRogersAdo16