Advertisements from vintage newspapers and periodicals shed much light on the tobacco habits of our nineteenth century United States ancestors. Each ad cites sources, dates, and provides everything from brand names to prices to general categories to help us draw conclusions about tobacco use in the Victorian United States.
Why? Because accurate backdrops make for exciting fiction!
I’ve read fiction set in the nineteenth century that references doorbells– and gets it right! (I can’t properly convey how giddy this makes me!) Picture that turnkey doorbell that makes a mechanical clattering sound inside the house.
Victorian Americans favored many different kinds of puddings for desserts, during all seasons of the year. One type was tapioca–which hasn’t changed much in the intervening hundred-plus years. See many similar recipes in vintage era cook books and newspapers; plain, apple, peach, (and early in the 20th century, caramel).
In Victorian men’s fashion, Collars and Cuffs were something altogether separate and different than a shirt. A whole different paradigm, given today’s men’s dress shirts are one solid piece, with the collar and cuffs attached. See vintage images of the styles and reasons why tailors (and factory producers) bothered to make the collars separate–and why some were made of PAPER rather than fabric.
Cocaine, together with its significant benefits and significant addiction potential, was discovered in the late 19th century (1884 to 1885). Dentists were quick to put cocaine to work for their patients to numb previously excruciating dental work. Citations from vintage publications illustrate the importance of this discovery, attitudes that surrounded cocaine’s use in dentistry and medicine, and the ease with which patients (and parents) accepted the use.