Victorian Americans adored novelty parties, with new fashions cropping up regularly. In the 1890s, amateur photography soared in popularity. With more and more professional and amateur photographers around, more people had cabinet card photos of themselves… which led to the fun of parlor guessing games. But Victorian photograph parties were so much more!
We know original Coca-Cola (debuted 1886) did have cocaine in it–and not “a trivial amount”. The product began as a replacement for coca wine (just what it sounds like), when temperance laws outlaws alcohol, and Pemberton needed a replacement vector for his coca leaves. Looking back at vintage sources, it’s easy to see when cocaine was removed from Coca-Cola, and how the owners ensured their not-yet-trademarked product remained protected. Numerous credible scientists analyzed the syrup (from various retail locations), swearing to Coca-Cola’s freedom from cocaine, but the attacks didn’t stop overnight. Decades later, Coca-Cola maintained its status as a substance-free “refreshing drink”, a 180Â° switch from its Patent Medicine beginning.
Coca-Cola was born in Atlanta, and quickly gained popularity at drugstores and soda fountains, showing up very quickly a thousand miles away in mid-Kansas! Coca-Cola was touted for a wide variety of medicinal benefits, including nervous affections and sick headache. In less than fifteen years, Coca-Cola was widely known from New England to Los Angeles. Coca-Cola belongs on the long list of American Victorian Inventions.
During the latter half of the nineteenth century, Letters to Santa Claus were a common appearance in newspapers. Whether the practice alerted parents, shared heartwarming tales of postal employees gathering nickles from among their department to stand in as a “Secret Santa” (modern lingo), or perhaps brought about by a store’s advertisements in the newspaper, Letters to Santa Claus provide a unique glimpse into the past. Want to know what toys children found appealing in the 1870’s? Or what dolls were fashioned of? Take a peek inside!
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.