Our Victorian American ancestors were inventive people. They needed a solution for perishable food in the worst of summer’s heat (and beyond). They came up with a remarkably well-insulated icebox (officially called a refrigerator far earlier than you might guess), designed to be a beautiful piece of furniture and functional. Some iceboxes went so far as to serve the melted ice water by silver tap. This article contains Victorian instructions for care and cleaning of 19th century refrigerators, advertisements, a crime committed with an industrial-sized (believe it or not: a walk-in) refrigerator, current images of antique iceboxes (both family size and commercial size), the icebox’s impact on beer, and so much more.
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.
The Idaho Hotel was built in 1863–and is still open for business (in the summer months). Jacquie’s Much Ado About Silver City was held at this historic hotel. This article contains many images taken in June 2016 (and some historic images). Lots of amazing history and preserved elements of the past in this hotel! #JacquieRogersAdo16
Chamber pots were a necessary accompaniment to the outhouse (a.k.a “the necessary”). Illness, foul weather, the elderly, emergencies–all credible reasons to need a ready source of relief. It’s one of the least glamorous aspects of everyday life in Victorian America. Who knew such fancy chamber pots could be purchased through Sears Roebuck & Co. catalog?
My husband’s brother inherited a piece of antique Victorian-era furniture originally belonging to his great-grandfather. The piece has stood in the living room of my brother- and sister-in-law for many years since Grandma (the original owner’s daughter-in-law) passed away. I’ve admired the piece but didn’t recognize it was more than a glass-fronted cabinet–a writing desk!–until I saw an historic advertisement for a nearly identical piece in a nineteenth century newspaper advertisement.
This article contains newspaper advertisements with engravings, images of current antique combination desk bookcases, and our family heirloom piece. Victorian prices are compared with the modern dollar (accounting for inflation).