The Old West Barber Shop Blog Series continues. This article includes images of historic barber chairs, an antique towel steamer (and hot water dispenser), line art of the era illustrating the pedestal used in lieu of a barber’s chair, images from mail-order catalogues showing tools of the trade available for home purchase, and patents for barber chairs and devices. This series’ upcoming posts will detail Victorian-era men’s hairstyles, bath houses, bath tubs, shower baths, ingenious furniture-bath-tub combinations, and ladies’ hair salons.
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.
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.
American women in the late Victorian Era often cut and curled bangs at the forehead. Many photographs (cabinet cards) show this hairstyle, with the rest being upswept and pinned, as women grew their hair to amazing lengths–all except those stylish bangs. If the curls about the forehead were not a hair piece (purchased by mail), then they most often required a curl. Victorian curling irons (their prices, designs, and heating methods) might surprise you–after all, it’s not (only) like Laura Ingalls Wilder described in her fictionalized memoirs of coming of age and cutting her hair in this style.
Mail-order catalogs didn’t show up in America as early as you might think… and couldn’t have impacted the mail-order bride phenomenon as early as today’s popular fiction market makes it seem.