While dimples and beauty marks were seen as attractive and stylish, Victorian Americans deplored freckles, “moth marks”, suntans, and sunburns–most unfeminine! Commercial products promised to eradicate such unwelcome blemishes and guaranteed beauty! If potions and powders failed, one photographer promised no freckles showed in his cabinet cards.
While bath tubs of various styles were available in cities by the mid-nineteenth century, the American Old West didn’t have easy access to delivery of such finery until after the Transcontinental Railway in 1869 (followed by additional railroads bringing delivery nearer to home) eliminated freight by horse-drawn wagon. Historic images of Montgomery Ward & Co. catalogs and Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogs illustrate available options–some of which are simply too ingenious to miss! Who knew a kitchen sink so easily doubled as a bath tub? Or that a five-and-a-half-foot bathtub could fold up? Price comparisons (then to now) show why it took a good long while for most folks to afford more than a public bath (next post) or a bowl and pitcher to make do.
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.
Old West (and simply Victorian-American) Barber Shops offered shaves as well as haircut services. This article focuses on straight-blade razors of the era, how a barber shaved his patrons with a straight blade, and how to strop (sharpen) a straight-blade razor. This article is part of a many-part blog series about Victorian-era Barber Shops and Ladies Hair Salons.
“Mason Jars” (glass bottles for home food preservation) were invented and patented in the United Sates in the Victorian Era. Industrious homemakers grew large gardens, tended fruit trees, and bottled everything from jams and jellies to grape juice, apple sauce to soups, tomatoes to green beans. How did women accomplish this work?