Shave Ice & Milk Shakes–in the Old West?

Shave Ice & Milk Shakes–in the Old West?

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.

Victorians at the Seashore

Victorians at the Seashore

You’re likely familiar with Victorian-era “bathing costumes”–puffy dresses with pantaloons that still leave much to the imagination, thereby protecting the  Victorian sense of propriety and decency. Inside this article, I share images of men’s bathing suits, attitudes (about bathing suits) expressed in United States newspapers of the day, and informative glimpses into a man’s view of a woman’s reasons for bathing in the sea before an audience…or not. A romantic tragedy on Coney Island in 1875 illustrates the dangers of the Victorian’s passion with immersing themselves in the sea.

Paper: Common in the Old West?

Paper: Common in the Old West?

I’ve read books where the intrepid hero has to reuse brown paper the mercantile owner used to wrap a purchase in order to leave the heroine an all-important note. I read another novel where a would-be bride’s employer deducted the cost of paper and envelope from her wages. Was paper that expensive? Did expense translate to scarcity?