What Is It? #2

So, how did you do? Were you able to guess any of the objects from the last “What Is It?” post (click here for a refresher)?

All of them are American objects and all are dated to the Victorian era (1837-1901). They highlight a time period when life was quite a bit different than it is today.

mystery 2Electricity in homes was still in its infancy, if it was in use at all. Instead candles and oil lamps were in regular use. Did you spot the candle snuffer? It looks a bit like a pair of scissors because it could be used to trim the candle wick too.


mystery 4Fireplaces and wood or coal stoves provided the main source of heat in the home and were also used for cooking. To keep the fires burning, literally, households had many tools on hand. Did you spot the bellows? (This was used to blow air on the fire.)


Clothing was quite a bit different too. Women wore long skirts and dresses often with a crinoline or hoop skirt as part of their undergarments (think of all those layers!). This would make the skirt fuller and was considered very fashionable. Because these can be so large, we have to hang ours on the wall so it takes up less space. Did you spot it?


mystery 3Even shoes were made differently back then. Instead of mass production like today, shoes were often constructed by hand and made to fit an individual’s foot. Wooden shoe lasts were used to shape the materials to the foot. Did you notice that ours is marked 10 ½ C? Sizes gradually become standardized so the same last could be used to make many pairs of shoes.


Going through collections here is all about going back in time or to a different place. It’s fun to imagine what life would have been like, but just as nice to come back to today.

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