Dandelions were so much more than weeds to our Victorian ancestors. Not only were the tender plants sought for springtime vegetables and salads, but for tea, coffee, wine, beer, and prominent medicinal value. 19th century cook books and newspapers share the Victorian-American viewpoint on the value of dandelions from blossom to root. Recipes for edibles and curatives, advertisements, and more!
In Part 2 of this blog series, I share 70 newspaper clippings from Victorian America, wherein reports abound that husbands have sold their wives. Prices range from $0.05 (5 cents) to thousands of dollars (US, Victorian). I provided price comparisons, just for impact. Throughout, I provided my opinions regarding TRUTH or JOKE. Ultimately, there had to be some of both. What a bizarre practice!
Despite the voice of reason from scientists of the day, medical doctors, dress reformers, nineteenth century women continued to cling to advertisements claiming health depended upon corsets and laced tightly to achieve the beautiful figure they desired. Advertisements didn’t promote mere beauty–they went so far as to claim health. A newspaper article published in Chicago Daily Tribune of Chicago, Illinois, on April 24, 1897 spoke of Roentgen’s Light–X-rays–and the malformation caused by lacing. Today, the argument seems sound, prudent, and almost laughable that anyone fell for corsets.
The rotary lawnmower was first patented in England in 1830. The new invention replaced the centuries’ reliable scythe in keeping lawns trimmed and neat. Americans jumped on that bandwagon, and lawnmowers became popular by the late 1860’s. Lawnmowers were advertised in newspapers of the day as well as mail-order catalogs like Sears and Montgomery Ward’s.
Victorian Americans celebrated Independence Day much like we do today…with some notable differences. Many historic occasions coincided with Independence Day (intentionally, I imagine), and patriotism swelled from small western towns to historic cities like Philadelphia. This review of Victorian-era Fourths of July may spark your patriotism while it enlightens your view of America’s past.