Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Manicure

Here's a little tidbit from 1876 about Manicures that was written up in Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly.

IN France, particularly in all the large cities, the women in nearly all classes take particular pains with their hands, so much so that they go regularly to what is called a manicure—that is, a person who makes the care of the hands a specialty. In Paris this profession is mot lucrative, and there are at least six hundred men and women engaged in it. For the benefit of those who may be curious enough to know something of this novel, yet not new, calling, I give a brief description of how they manage their affairs. Ten years ago I was at the French institution of Madame Michel, at school, and while there quite shocked my teacher by asking her to trim my nails. “Why, mademoiselle,” said she, “you should have a manicure.” I was so abashed at the mistake I made in asking her to do such a thing that I naively answered, “Will not my knife do as well?” “Oh, no,” said she, “we will have a manicure here in the morning; your nails require shaping.” I supposed the manicure was a steel instrument used for paring the nails, so I retired with ungratified curiosity till the morrow, when at an early hour the steward informed me of the manicure's arrival. Supposing it to be, according to the French diction, masculine gender, I said, “Bring it up.” “Oh, excuse me, made moiselle, he never comes to the sleeping apartment; he always waits in the reception room.” I came down, and there stood the instrument to shape my irregular nails—a tall, lean, dark-skinned individual, with flowing jet locks, beard and imperial. To say I was surprised is too weak an assertion; I was struck dumb with astonishment. My teacher had gone through with her usual paring, and bade me be seated. The operation was then proceeded with. First a sharp, Frenchshaped instrument cut the nails, sloped them on the sides with a point in the centre; then a tiny pair of pincers was used to pull off all the pieces of dry skin around the nails, commonly called by us “hang nails”; then a steel file was used to raise the skin up and push it back so as to show the “half-moon” on the nail, which is considered a part of its beauty; then a liquid was poured over it to bathe it; then ried, and a red pomade, spread thin, rubbed off with a fi yellow powder, which caused them to shine. It took abo half an hour, and cost the munificent sum of sixty cent There are women in Paris who obtain as high as ten fran a visit.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Typhus Fever Cleansing of a house and room to prevent infection

Below are 5 suggestions to help rid the house of Typhus Fever. These come from Dr. Chase's Recipes or Information for Everyone ©1866

TYPHUS FEVER.—To Prevent Infection.—Take nitre, (salt petre,) pulverized, £ oz.; oil of vitriol £ oz.; put the nitre into a tea-cup and set it on a red hot shovel, adding the vitriol one-sixth at a time, stirring it with a pipe stem; avoiding the fumes as they rise from the cup; no danger, however, in breathing the air of the room.
The above amount is sufficient for a room twelve by sixteen feet, and less or more according to the size of other rooms. Dr. J. C. Smith, of London, is said to have received from Parliament £5000 for making this recipe public.
2. To purify the air from noxious effluvia in sick rooms, not of a contagious character, simply slice three or four onions, place them on a plate upon the floor, changing them three or four times in the twenty-four hours.
3. Disinfectant, For Rooms, Meat, And Fish.—Common salt i a tea-cup; sulphuric acid 2 or 8 oz.; put about i oz. of of the acid upon the salt at a time, every 15 minutes, stirring, until all put on:
Which will purify a large room; and for meat or fish, hang them up in a box having a cover to it, and thus confine the gas, and tainted articles of food will soon be purified, by the same operation. And notwithstanding so much was paid for the "Smith Disinfectant," the above will be found equally good.
4. Coffee, dried and pulverized, then a little of it sprinkled upon a hot shovel, will, in a very few minutes, clear a room of all impure effluvia, and especially of an animal character.
5. Chloride Of Lime—Half a saucer of it, moistened with an equal mixture of good vinegar and water, a few drops at a time only, will purify a sick-room in a few minutes.

Monday, December 28, 2015

1896 Society Building

Have you every come across a Society Building in your research? Well, today's post are the floor layouts of a Society Building. I found them interesting for not only my characters to attend a play or show but also if one of them were to work in an office.

First Floor
Second Floor
Third Floor
Fourth Floor
Fifth Floor

Also today I'm the host author on Heroes, Heroines & History Come check it out.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas

Hi all,

I pray that you have a blessed Christmas this year. I'm taking a vacation for the week and I'll be back next week with some more historical tidbits.

In His grip,

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Games

Continuing with yesterday's post about Christmas parties here are some game and party suggestions.


MATERIALS REQUIRED : A miniature Christmas-tree, as many numbered cards in duplicate as there are guests.
Have you ever thought of giving a Topsyturvy party—one where everything is as it ought not to be Here is a programme for one which is a Christmas party as well, and if given in Christmas week is pretty sure to be a success. Every guest is asked to bring a simple Christmas present, appropriate for a lady or gentleman, as is preferred.

No. 1. The Unexpected.
No. 2. Little, but oh my!
No. 3. Have a Smile with me?
No. 4. A Freak of Fancy.
No. 5. A Draw Game.
No. 6, 2

“The Unexpected” is supper, a very light one, “Little, but oh my!” is the Christmas tree, the smallest possible tree, hung from the ceiling upside down. There should be a very tall and thin Santa Claus. The presents, neatly done up, each bear a number, and these numbers match others which were drawn by the players before the games began. As the numbers on the packages are called the players who hold the duplicate numbers claim their presents, which are sure to be malapropos, as there is no possibility of anyone getting what was intended for him. The rest of the evening is devoted to several games already described. No. 3 on the programme, “Have a Smile with me?” is “Nonsense Rhyming.” As a prize for the best rhyme that very curious and attractive book, “Topsys and Turvys,” by Peter Newell, seems particularly appropriate. “A Freak of Fancy” is the game called “Teapot.” “A Draw Game” is drawing pigs with the eyes shut; see “Blind Artists.” “?” is the second and bona-fide Supper. And after that, goodmorning, for it will surely be after twelve.

An entirely novel and funny plan is to ask fifteen or twenty grown people to a children's party, where they themselves are to be the children. Raids on the nursery can be made for blocks, puzzles, balls, battledore and shuttlecock, and other toys, and these, with such games as “A Spoonful of Fun,” “Hunt the Whistle,” “Teapot,” and “Here we go round the Barberry Bush,” will furnish amusement for the young people if it is the season for in-door games. “The Baby Show” should come just before supper. At Supper bibs are used instead of napkins—those printed with outline pictures and appropriate inscriptions, such as “Our Pet,” “For a Good Girl,” etc., will be particularly appreciated, and they need not be embroidered, but may easily be painted in water-colors. If the party is given in Summer, when out-of-door games are possible, “Hide and Seek,” “Tag,” “Prisoner's Base,” and “Base-ball” are only a few of the delightful and exciting amusements which will “make me a child again just for to-night,” even though the consequences may be “that tired feeling” to-morrow.
Source: The Book of Games ©1898

Mv Dear Myrtle : — My mamma says I may have a Christmas party, and ask the little people in our Sunday School. She is going to treat us on cake and apples. I would like to have some new games to tell them how to pi y. Couldn't you remember some you used to play, and write me about them? If you will, I shall be ever so much obliged. Your little friend, Eva.
Deak Little Eva : — Nothing in the world would delight us so much as to help make your Christmas party pleasant. It isn't so long ago that we played ourselves but that we can remember a good many games.
Here is one we children played at our vestry a couple of years ago Christmas. One ol the Deacons told all who wished to play, to choose some part of the outfit of a team, and when he mentioned the name they had chosen, they must imitate its motions as nearly as possible ; the whips
must thrash their arms, the sleigh bells must say Jingle, the blinders must put their hands up to their eyes, the rob:s must seem to pull something over them, the reins must shake, the horse run around, and so with all the parts chosen.
When all was ready, the Deacon stepped in the center ot the room, and told a story something like this, only longer: "I was going to Boston on business, so I went to the barn to harness my team. I took down the reins " — several little girls began shaking their hands —'' then I put on the blinders," — some other girls put their hands up to their eyes, and walked carefully around,— " I put on the bells,"—Jingle, Jingle, called out a few boys, — " I pulled up the robes,'' — several imitated the motion,— " touched the whip,"—thrash went the arms of half a dozen boys — " to the horses," —away ran the rest of the boys and girls around the room, and all ended in laughter and a good time. But to make this a good game, all must enter heartily into the fun.
Another game which we tried is called Mother Goose. One of the officers of the school gathered the children on one side of the room, and led them in single file, all clapping their hands and singing, '' Hi diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle." They stopped and all mewed. Then tbey repeated, "The cow jumped over the moon." The leader ran, and jumped over a cricket in the middle ot the roo.n. Ail followed. Then they marched around the room, singing, "The little dog laughed to see the sport," when they stopped and laughed heartily. They stood still while saying, " And the dish ran away with the spoon." At the last word, all ran, and whomsoever the leader caught had to be leader next time.
When they were tired of playing running games, they all sat down, and one chose an article in the room, and gave its initial while the others guessed what it could be. Whoever guessed right, selected the word the next time.
Here is another game to be played sitting. All who join it, assemble in a circle. The leader gives one of these syllables, "ash, ish, osh,'' to each one. Thus, to the first person, " ash;" the second, " ish ;" third, "osh ;'' fourth " ash," again, and so on through the company. The leader must then stand in the center and count four, slowly. When he pronounces four, all must sound their syllables at once. The effect Is very amusing, sounding like a prolonged sneeze.— N. H. Myrtle.
Source: The Myrtle ©1876

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Parties & Etiquette

Christmas party etiquette often has different rules for different areas, social class, etc. Below are some excerpts for you to browse when considering a Christmas Party for your historical Characters.

If it is a Christmas party the tree is the source of interest, and often a make-believe Santa Claus adds to the merriment of the occasion. The refreshments should be simple but fanciful. Make the table bright as possible—snowballs, cornucopias, lady-fingers, assorted cakes, love-knots, sandwiches (fancy), crystalized fruits, tarts, sliced tongue, pressed veal, thin bread and butter, rolled and tied, ice cream in molds, and one large heavily-frosted cake. A host of flowers, and the table is complete. Lemonade for a drink, or perhaps hot chocolate.
The good breeding learned, the opportunities of impressing upon children the beauty of self-denial and politeness, and of teaching them to dispense, and to receive hospitalities, and to restrain that tendency toward favoring certain playmates, so strong in childhood, will more than repay for the trouble of preparing the feast. Never permit the party to extend to late hours, and never overdress the little folks. White is always suitable for girls, and jacket suits for boys under the age for long trousers.
Source: Social Life ©1896

THE ETIQUETTE OF CHRISTMAS PARTIES.—Etiquette is less rigid at Christmas than at any other season of the year. Christmas parties, being intended for the re-union of relations and intimate friends, it would be a gross mistake to uphold those rigid laws of fashion which govern other entertainments. The good things provided by the host and hostess should be more homely than upon other occasions ; and there should be a marked heartiness in their demeanour towards those whom they entertain. Those who assemble may be more free in their intercourse than upon ordinary occasions, the good wishes of the season being upon every tongue. Dress should be less displayed now, than at the fashionable parties that will commence about the middle of January. At a Christmas party everybody should cheerfully join in the most simple pastimes. Old Age and Youth should shake hands and unite in the general mirth. A Christmas should be an era in everybody's history, and it should be our especial pleasure to contribute by each word and act to the happiness of those around us.
Source: The Corner Cupboard ©1858

This is a fun and different pov about hosting and attending Christmas parties.
If you have any intention of giving a Christmas party, now is the time to do it. The man who attempts to give a Christmas party in June will simply get left. Never arrange to give a Christmas party until you've done all you can to get invited to somebody else's, and have failed. If your next door neighbour is giving a party, and, after borrowing your other shirt and your wife's curl-papers, omits to invite you, don't allow yourself to cherish a spirit of resentment towards him on that account. Simply write him a nice little letter, and tell him you're jolly glad he hasn't asked you as you'd scorn to mix with a frowsy lot of friends like his. >.( your gentle rebuke fails to elicit a cordial invitation to come in and be one of the family, do what you can to circulate untruthful reports about his wife's relations, and express doubts as to the bona fdes of his Christmas sausages. If this fails, your only course is to go round to his guests and invite them to your house instead, and tell them that your party will be infinitely superior to his party, because there'll be more beer.
If you are invited out at Christmas time there are a few nice little poinis of etiquette that you ought to paste in your hat. Always take a couple of the children with you, and, if possible, the baby. If your host has a daughter, she will be glad the baby has come because she'll have to nurse it while you are at dinner, and it will break the monotony for her. If the baby should sit down to tabli with you, and should all at once grow peculiarly restless, break out into a cold perspiration, and m ike several ineffectual attempts to relieve its feelings by the use of profane expressions, it will probably be found that in the hurry of the moment the dear creature has inadvertently got seated on the hot pudding plates.
When the dinner is served, be especially careful to point out how much inferior it is to the dinner you had at Thompson's last year, and on no account omit to call the attention of the guests to the fact that the spoons and forks have been borrowed from the gentleman on your right, and that's the only reason why he was invited. If your host is indebted to you for a trifling loan, this is just the time to call across the table and ask when it will be convenient for him to pay it back. If during the evening one of the guests should feel a little faint, be prepared to render all the assistance possible. In the case of a gentleman, observe with sincere regret that it was a pity they let him sit so close to the spirits, and make a few general remarks on the sin of intemperance. In the case of a lady, observe sympathetically that you forgive her for overdoing it a little, as it is the only square meal she has had this year; and say that you've heard it's a good thing to let down her back hair and tickle her feet with the coal-scuttle.
Christmas is a lovely institution, and it is your duty to get all the fun you can out of it, whether you spend the peaceful, happy time in your own home or in jail.
Source: Pick-me-up ©1891

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

1878 Historical Fashions

The images below come from 1878 sources.

Afternoon Dress
Young Lady
Summer Dresses
Straw Hat
Straw Bonnet
Tuscan Straw Bonnet
Children's Hat
Young Girls Dress

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Decorations (Floral)

Below are some suggestions for floral decorating for Christmas from Floral Decorations for the Dwelling House. ©1876

ONE could hardly believe it was Christmas in the absence of Holly, Ivy, and Mistletoe, which have so long at that season occupied prominent places in our households.
As has been stated, the best material for the foundation of these is strong hemp cord; a loop should be made on one end, and this is slipped over a nail or hook, fastened for the purpose in a wooden table or in anything that will hold it firmly. Having a, supply of evergreens at hand, cut to the required lengths, bind them on to the cord with fine twine—one firm twist of twine will be enough to keep each bunch of evergreens in its place—and so work down the cord to whatever length may be required. A beginner will find it difficult to keep the garland even as it is being worked; but, if such be found to be the case, where it is too full, the pieces can be thinned out with a pair of scissors. If it be desired to suspend a garland of large dimensions at any height, the following shrubs will be found the best adapted for its construction, viz.:— Arbutus, Euonymus (common), Holly, Ivy, Laurel, Portugal Laurel, Spruce and Silver Firs, and Yew. For giving color, of course, scarlet berries are indispensable, and first amongst these ranks the Holly; but as the berries of the Holly are not plentiful every season, it may be well to enumerate a few others which can. be substituted. There is the Mediterranean Arbutus, its lovely berries looking in the distance like little clusters of Siberian Crab-apples; and the burst seed-pods of the Roast-beef plant. When the berries of this plant can be got, they may be worked in with the evergreens at equal distances, as the formation of the garland is proceeded with; but the best way to arrange the Holly berries is to remove all the leaves and cut off the stems, leaving that portion only which is covered with berries; a piece of fine binding-wire can then be fastened round the stem and passed round the garland, and, where fastened, hid amongst the foliage. In this manner, all the berries can be added after the garland is made. Some introduce flowers made of colored tissuepaper, but I myself prefer color being given with berries only. Small and light-looking garlands for suspending from gas brackets, etc., can be made on fine twine, in a similar manner to those before described; but, for this purpose, very small-leaved plants should be employed, such as the Prickly Holly, variegated Box, etc.

Upright Wreaths or Beading's.
These are made best on fine iron rods, and their manufacture is very similar to that of garlands, save that the headings are made on one face, and for binding them reel wire should be substituted for twine. For this style of decoration I like to see branchlets of the dark green Holly only employed, its rich, glistening, sombre leaves being relieved by large bunches of the brilliant berries fastened on with wire, as I have before described, at equal . distances apart. Wreaths of very pretty appearance can be made on strong wire for hall lamps, etc.. by taking a piece of wire and forming it into a circle of whatever size may be required; on this bind the evergreens with fine wire, using plenty of berries in their construction; blooms of Laurustinus also work in well for this purpose.

Ornamental Devices.
These should have their foundations of perforated, zinc, cut out into whatever design may be selected. The foundations of the three accompanying illustrations on this subject are supposed to be so formed, otherwise it would be impossible to make them as represented in the engravings. Two of the illustrations represent devices suitable for running round the top of the wall in sitting-rooms, above the picture rods, and against the cornice, or round the door frame. The third or circular design is for hanging against any blank wall, or space between pictures, etc. As will be seen in the first illustration, the half-circles are formed of a double row of single Holly leaves; these are fastened on by means of a needle and strong dark green or black thread, the needle being passed up and down through the holes in the zinc. In sewing on the leaves only one long stitch in each leaf is required, and the thread should pass along the mid-rib of the leaf, as in this manner it will not be observed. The branchlets of Yew are also sewn on, but more stitches must be employed on account of the length of the branchlets. The variegated Ivy is also sewn on, but each leaf of this plant requires three stitches to keep it open and firm in its position. Indeed, everything employed in the construction of the three accompanying illustrations is fastened in this manner save the berries. The evergreens employed in the circular design are as follows: The circle is of Yew, the Holly leaves which project are of the silvery variety, the Ivy leaves on the Yew circle are also almost perfectly white, a large bunch of Holly berries being fastened in the centre of each cluster. The star is formed of leaves of Gold-plant (Aucuba japonica), the centre being a tuft of white Ivy leaves with scarlet berries. All the Holly and Ivy employed in the construction of the designs here represented are of variegated kinds, as these are best adapted for placing in conjunction with Yew.

Mottoes Formed of Letters Made of Evergreens.
These are often employed amongst other styles of decoration. If *of evergreens, the best leaves for this purpose are the Holly, as sharper outlines can be obtained with this than any other plant, the dark green or variegated kinds being selected according to taste. Whatever letters are required should be cut out in strong brown wrapping-paper, and the leaves are then sewn on these foundations; the letters of white, for placing on colored grounds, can easily be formed by cutting out the letters in white paper instead of brown, brushing them over with liquid gum, and then covering them with grains of rice. Narrow headings of single leaves are best made on black tape wire, each leaf being sewn on as before described. Beadings of this description look most effective round door panels, etc.

These should be made on foundations formed of flat laths, and if these are not obtainable, Hazel rods must suffice; unless a cross be of very large dimensions, small-leaved plants should be employed as far as possible, and the lighter the colors are, if plenty of berries be used, the prettier will be the effect produced.

Monday, December 14, 2015

1896 Six Room City Cottage Floor Plans

Below you will find the floor plans for the 1896 Six Room City Cottage and the article written by a fellow concerned about some aspects of the plan. I've chosen to add these comments because it might give you as the author some information as to what your characters might be concerned about with regard to their home or the one they hope to build. Also, I've chosen these plans because you'll see the use of closets, bathrooms and a 19th Century modern kitchen. Another fun fact is these are the basic plans of the house my husband and I rented when he was a college student. The differences were that ours was a duplex (so it was double this floor plan for the entire house) and the right side was the left side in our portion of the duplex. It was a great old house and we have a lot of memories from living there.

Six-Boom Cottage for a City Lot.
From N. H. D., Newburg, N. Y.--I am an interested reader of the paper and in studying the plans of workingman’s cottages published from time to time I find some very good points, but the fault with the majority of the plans is that there is no stair hall proper for the two-story portion or else it starts in a cramped section of the building. The floor plan submitted by “ R. _B.” of Meriden, Conn, and published in the September issue is, in my opinion, very convenient. The shape of the bathroom as well as its location is exceedingly odd, as it cuts otf the square angles of the “kitchen and the two bedrooms, but necessitates two doors more than are necessary. The family bedroom is at the rear of the house, and I should like to inquire how the correspondent proposes to warm it. The sink is too far from the stove and the small room marked “entry " at the front of the house is of no use whatever. Another fault is that the cottage takes too much ground for the frontage. This is the fault I find with most of the plans submitted. They cannot be erected on a common city lot of a frontage of 25 feet, and it is well known that in the city a lot 25 feet front will cost anywhere from $200 upward. A house for such a lot is, in my opinion. the best for the workingman. I send herewith the floor plans for a two-story frame cottage. which I consider well adapted for a 25-foot lot. It can be built in a good manner for about $1000 and possibly less. It can. however, be made to cost more, according to the finish inside and out. The frontage is such that by building from 18 inches to 2 feet from the line on one side light are placed under the cables. and a composition consisting principally of plaster of paris and wood chips is poured on, the cables, thus being imbedded in the concrete mixture, which solidifies in a few minutes. The vertical part of the concrete inclosing the floor beams is supported by wire netting passed around the flanges of the beam. If a flat ceiling is required, iron bars are laid acrOsS the bottom would be given to the dining room and bedroom over it, and at the same time there would be a nice passageway to reach the rear of the house and yard. Again, no one could block the light and air from that side. The parlor has a bay window with arch and the dining room has two windows. The kitchen, it will be noticed from an inspection of the plans, may be entered from both hall and dining room, this arrangement giving direct communication between the kitchen and the front door. The pantry is conveniently located to both rooms, while the entry tends to keep the cold air from the kitchen in the winter. The sink is placed near the stove and is convenient for hot and cold water. On the second floor are three good sized sleeping rooms. a sewing room, four closets and a bathroom. The arrangement is such that the sleeping rooms and bathroom can be heated by stoves or other means as may be most convenient. The bathroom is so located that a direct connection is had for water and waste pipes from the sink in the kitchen. The plans show the position of the closets with regard to the

Friday, December 11, 2015

Dry Husks to Eat

Below is a short story from an 1879 publication. I found it enjoyable and I love the language from the time period. Read and see what you think and could you make use of the thoughts and language in this short story in your historical character's lives.

Dry Husks to Eat
Helen J. Mackintosh

John Pompet sat smoking, in his slippers and reading the newspaper, while his aunt Mary placidly knitted, on the other side of the lamp.
"Why do you give Ellen only dry husks to eat?" said aunt Mary, suddenly, looking across at him.
"Only dry husks? What do you mean?"
"Well, why didn't you go out with her, tonight? I think she was hurt."
"I hate parties," was the response; "tea parties, especially. A good cigar is worth all the tea and cakes in the world."
"But what is to become of people, who don't like cigars, and who do like tea-parties? That is the case with your wife. Nor does she like to go to parties, along. Other wives have their husbands with them; and to say the least, it looks odd; in fact, may make people think you don't live happily together."
Aunt Mary had acted as a mother to her nephew, ever since his parents had died; which was when he was an infant. She had educated him at her own expense, and maintained him at the bar until he had won his way to a lucrative practice; and it was understood that he was to inherit her little fortune, after her decease. All this gave her a sort of right to expostulate with him, when she thought he was wrong.
"But I see enough of people, in the day-time."
"Your being tired, would be something of an excuse, if you had urged that in extenuation of your refusal. But do you think Ellen, when she's tired, requires that as an excuse, for not seeing you are to have a good dinner? No, John, its pure selfishness on your part, nothing else. You admit it, in fact, when you say that you see enough people, in the day-time. You take all the cream of life, and give her only dry husks to eat."
"Come, come, aunt, isn't that too severe? If Ellen loves me, as I'm sure she does, she'd rather have me stay at home, and enjoy my cigar, then go out, to a party, where I should be sure to be bored."
"By the same kind of reasoning, John, you ought to go with her, if you loved her; because, you know, she'd enjoy herself most at the party."
This shot went home. John had not a word in reply but puffed vigorously at his cigar. His aunt went on:
"The truth is, nephew--for I don't wish to be too hard on you--you men forget, that, while you have plenty of excitement, during the day, seeing strangers constantly, women have to stay at home, and spend the hours in one unvarying, dull routine of housework. No wonder they get fagged out. No wonder an invitation to a little party is such a relief to them. But husbands forget all this. And when the wife wishes to have a few people to tea, they say, 'what a bore to me, and how absurd in you.' Now, to be frank with you, this is just the way you treat Ellen."
"You surely are mistaken. Ellen at least, never complains."
"No, she is too proud. But the tears came into her eyes, to-night, when you refused to go with her. You'd have seen them, if you hadn't been too intent on your newspaper. Come, John, be just. It is your own comfort you think of, and not her pleasure; and that, not to mince words, is, I repeat it, pure selfishness."
John threw his cigar impatiently down, got up, and walked to and fro in the room.
"Another thing. Not only in refusing to share her amusements with her, but in other things, you are giving Ellen 'dry husks to eat.' You take three or four political papers. But she don't care for political paper; and when, the other day, she asked you to buy her a new book she fancied, you told her you couldn't afford it. Some husbands, I am told, leave their wives to eat cold mutton at home, while they dine sumptuously at a club. You don't do that, John; but you do what is almost as bad. Ellen likes flowers. Before you were married, you often sent her flowers. A few flowers don't cost much; but you tell her, now, you can't afford them. No books, no magazines, no flowers, no tea-parties, no little, lover-like attentions? Nothing but minding the children all day, and overseeing cooking your dinner. Why, John, just think of it."
"Say no more, say no more," cried her nephew, stopping, and seizing her hand. "I never before realized what a selfish fellow I have been. But I promise you, I'll mend, from to-night."
He did mend. In all the land there is not, now, a happier woman than his wife.
"It's because," says aunt Mary, "John gives her, no longer, DRY HUSKS TO EAT."

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Reflections of Times Past in Literature

Below is an excerpt from a piece titled "Our City Niece" published in Peterson Magazine ©1889. I've left the spellings as it was written, in part because I believe the author of the work was trying to convey the speech of their character. What I find interesting in this tidbit is a few things. The terms for salesladies or store gals and the question that the lower income worker asks at the end of this excerpt. Enjoy!

They dassen't walk up and shake hands with a decently-dressed respectable, woman because she ain't '-in our set." I'm speakin' of the rich ones, you see.
And the workin' wimmen — they ain't independent as they mite be. They. do want to foller their rich sisters—so they buy cheap stuff for dresses, and then git 'em made up with all the trimmin' the fashion allows; wear cotton velvet, when cashmere or suthin' else would look so much better.
Then they has their "set" to go in as well as the tony ones. The gal who stands behind the counter in the big dry-goods stores rigs out in all the fine feathers she can command; and, if a woman cums in to trade that ain't got up in style, she gits looked over with a cool stare, and is waited on with a sort of I-don't-carewhether-you-are-suited-or-not air — or, mebbe, snubbed outright.
These store-gals—or "salesladies," as they like to be called—look down on the shop-gals and factory-operatives, and they, in turn, snub and slight the honest pure-minded gals that do housework for a livin'. I wish sumbody would ixplain why one kind of work ain't jest as honorable as another, providin' it is honest respectable labor.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

1884 Fashions

Since we had 1884 house plans on Monday why not show some 1884 fashions for Historical Fashion Wednesday.


Hat & Hair

Afternoon Toilet

Traveling Jacket

Visiting Costume

House & Street Dress

Mourning Toilet

Jacket & Hat

Girl's Outfit Front & Back

Children & Child's Shoulder Cape

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Paper Mache

I've made more items out of paper mache over the years that I've lost count. However, these receipts and history of is a bit different than what we employ today. Perhaps your historical characters might have a reason to use paper mache or perhaps a mishap with it. Hmmm, the possibilities are endless. Enjoy! Oh warning the second part is quite long.

To make papier mache.
This is a substance made of cuttings of white or brown paper, boiled in water, and beaten in a mortar till they are reduced into a kind of paste, and then boiled with a solution of gum arable, or of size, to give tenacity to the paste, which is afterwards formed into different toys, &c. by pressing it into oiled moulds. When dry, it is done over with a mixture of size and lamp-black, and afterwards varnished. The black varnish for these toys, according to Or Lewis, is prepared as follows: Some colophony, er turpentine, boiled down till it becomes black and friable, is melted in a glazed earthen vessel, and thrice as much amber in fine powder sprinkled in by degrees, with the addition of a little spirit or oil of turpentine now and then: when the amber is melted, sprinkle in the same quantity of sarcocolla, continuing to stir them, and to add more spirit of turpentine, till the whole becomes duid; then strain out the clear through « coarse hair bag, pr:.*ssin£ it gently between hot boards. This varnish, mixed with ivory-black ia fine powder, is applied, in a hot room, on the dried paper paste; which is then set in a gently heated oven, next day in a hotter oven, and the third day in a very hot one, and let stand each time till the oven grows cold. The paste thus varnished is hard, durable, glossy, and bears liquors hot or cold.
Source: Mackenzie 5000 Receipts ©1846

Papier Mache And Carton Pieere.
The very pretty and useful material which bears the name of Papier Mache does not always deserve that name. The brilliant display which Messrs. Jennens and Bettridge, and other manufacturers, made at the Great Exhibition ought to have been designated by some more significant and correct name; it is pasted paper and moulded paper, but not mashed or pulp paper, as the French name mache indicates. There are two distinct branches of industry here involved, which we must separate in order to speak of the notabilities of each.
And first for the real, the true papier mache, that which was introduced about twenty-five years ago, and from which Mr. Bielefeld produces such a wondrous variety of decorative ornaments. This is almost entirely paper; there may be a small percentage of other material to impart certain minor qualities, but it is essentially paper. And if we enquire what kind of paper is thus used, we find that it is any and every kind. All is "fish that comes to this net." Nothing is refused, nothing laid aside, whether linen or cotton or hemp be the fibre from which the paper was originally made: all is available, whether it be black or white, bleached or unbleached, plain or figured; whether it be fine as ' extra satin wove,' or coarse as tough wrapping paper; whether in large sheets or small fragments; whether new and unused, or old and worn;— all will be welcome to the mache vat. Of course, in a practical point of view, where all kinds are useful, the manufacturers look about them for cheap miscellaneous lots, instead of appealing to the bran new stock of a wholesale stationer. Bankers have sometimes tons' weight of old account books by them, which have ceased to be of use, but which they are unwilling to place in the hands of the trunk-maker or the butterman, on account of the private transactions to which the writing on the pages of such books relate; and as it is a task of no little difficulty and danger to burn these books, the bankers are glad to find a receptacle for them in the vat of the papier-mache manufacturer, under a pledge that they shall really and promptly be so used, without exposure to public gaze. Thus the banker may perchance see the relievo decorations of his own drawing-room made from his own old account books; a ledger may find a new home as part of a cornice, or a cash-book as a frame for a looking-glass, or a day-book as a ceiling ornament. Nay, these transformations may extend wider; for in years gone by, the banker's old shirt may have been transferred to the rag-bag, and thence to the paper-mill, and thence to the account-book maker, and thence to the bank, and thence to the papier-mache factory, and thence to the drawing-room of the banker's residence—where his admiring gaze may rest upon a graceful ornament, some fibres of which once clothed his own back.
The cuttings of paper, produced by the principal applications of that material, form a very large portion of the supply whence papier mache is made. Bookbinders, pasteboard-makers, envelope-makers, accountbook and pocketbook-makers, printsellers, paper-hangers, all accumulate heaps of shreds and cuttings; and the papier-mache vat may receive them all, unless better prices can be obtained elsewhere. Whatever may be the source whence the supply is obtained, it is certain that paper has now reached that commercial point which gold and silver reached long ago—that is, none need be wasted, for a market can be found for all the odds and ends.
The kind of papier mache which is now under notice is a paste-like mass formed of paper-pulp, and pressed in moulds to any desired form. Mr. Bielefeld, the leading manufacturer in this branch, has an establishment in the country where water power can be commanded, and where machines, moved by this power, bring the paper to the required state. The paper, be it of what kind it may, or of as many different kinds as it may, is moistened, and chopped, and minced, and routed about until it becomes a perfectly homogeneous pasty mass, or rather a mass having a consistency like that of dough or of putty. A trifling portion of other substances is, as we have said, introduced, but not sufficient to change the general character of the mass as a paper substance. Then comes the moulding or pressing. The material is too thick to be poured into a mould like plaster of Paris, or like molten metal; it is pressed into flattish nioulds, like clay, or composition, or gutta percha. A piece is cut off, about enough for the article to be made, it is pressed well into the mould, a counter-mould is placed upon it, and the force of a powerful press is brought to bear upon it, so as to drive the material into every minute crevice of the mould.
And here we come to the artistic department of such a manufacture as this. To command anything like a leading position in decorative art, there must be an untiring attention to new designs, new artistic ideas, new combinations of form, and colour, and material. Hence, in such an establishment as the ope now under notice, the moulds (made in metal from plaster models) are constantly increasing hi number and value; they accumulate not merely by hundredweights, but by tons; the designer, the carver of wood moulds, the engraver or sinker of metal moulds, are all adding to the store. It may be that a new design does not ' take ' sufficiently to pay the expense even of making the mould, but this may be counterbalanced by another which has a long run, and by degrees an extensive manufacturer becomes able to strike a balance, to establish an average which shall determine the probable returns to be expected from each new mould. Among our large establishments, where mechanical skill and fine art meet hand in hand, those which produce the most continuous run of new designs are those which generally rise to the uppermost pl&ce; and it is here that the artistic education of the artizan becomes a matter not merely of individual but of national importance.
The articles made of this material are chiefly architectural ornaments for interior use, such as ceiling ornaments, cornices, and so forth; but they are becoming every year more and more widely spread in their application. The theatres afford ample scope for the display of papier-mache ornaments; because the material is so tough that it will scarcely break, and so light that it requires much less fastening than the whiting and glue composition ornaments of former times. The counter-mould imparts to the ornament a hollowness at the back which economizes material and lessens the weight. The surface which the paper or papier presents is of a nondescript colour, arising from the mixture of various colours in the pulp, but it is fitted to receive any decorations in gold, oil-paint, size-colours, or varnish. Thus, an ornate frame for a looking-glass, made of papier mache, may be gilt with a degree of perfection nearly equal to that of a carved frame. But it is also capable of assuming a sculpturesque form. There were in the Great Exhibition, as many of our readers may remember, two statuettes after Michael Angelo, a copy of the noble horse's head from the Elgin marbles, and a bust of some celebrated man, all formed of papier mache, and deriving therefrom a toughness -which defies althost any power of breakage. The Corinthian capital in this material, set up on a pillar in the western nave, was an example of the more ordinary application for ornamental purposes.
There is another modern decorative material, still more recent than papier mache, but like it honoured with a French name: we mean carton pierre, which may be interpreted stone cardboard or pasteboard. This more nearly resembles plaster than papier mache ; it has a little paper in it, a great deal more plaster, and one or two other substances; the mixture thus produced is fashioned in moulds, and is applied to various ornamental purposes, but it is much heavier than papier mache. The beautiful internal decorations at the Lyceum Theatre are, we believe, made of carton pierre. Carton pierre is manufactured in England chiefly by Messrs. Jackson, but it appears to have been a French invention, and to be made in France and Germany more largely than in England. The carton pierre of the one country, and the stein pappe of the other, seem to be pretty nearly the same material: viz., a kind of liquid plaster combined with other materials, poured instead of pressed into moulds, and backed with a stratum of paper to give strength. Some of our French neighbours displayed beautiful specimens of friezes, vases, pilasters, and bas-relievos, in carton pierre, at the Great Exhibition; while the Prussian exhibitor, Gropius, displayed some dozens of neat little statuettes in the same material. The noble chandelier for sixty lights, exhibited by Messrs. Jackson, was perhaps the best specimen 6f carton-pierre work.
But to return to papier mache. That the pulpy or mache paper is susceptible of being made into beautifully even flat surfaces, is exemplified in the thick millboard used by bookbinders. Time was when all such millboard was essentially pasteboard, produced by pasting together a large number of sheets of paper to the required thickness; but now the pulp is used. In the first place there is a flat table or slab, with a raised edge all round to form a sort of shallow mould. Into this mould the pulp is laded, to a depth depending on the thickness of the millboard to be made, and this pulp, by drying between felted cloths, by drying in the open air, by gentle pressure in a press, and then by powerful pressure between rollers, assumes at length that hard, tough, strong, smooth, uniform consistency which distinguishes millboard, and which makes that material so invaluable to the bookbinder. Mr. Bielefeld is about to introduce an important modification of this process in the production of panels for artists. He has produced panels eight feet by six, made entirely of papier mache half an inch thick, mounted on a skeleton wood support or frame; and the surface of these panels appears as if it would be admirably fitted for paintings, more durable than canvas, and less likely to split than wood panel; indeed, splitting is out of the question in respect to such a material. The bulkheads and the cabin partitions of some of the fine steamers of Our day have been made of this material; it is tough and strong, and admits of any degree of ornamentation. The material is said to be a bad conductor both of sound and of heat, and has thus a twofold recommendation for room partitions. It seems to have been some such material as this which Mr. Haddan contributed to the Great Exhibition, in the form of panels for railway carriages, or rather for the whole broadside. It is alleged that such panels do not shrink, and do not require grooves for fixing: whether they will bear being 'run into' better than other railway panels, has probably not yet been tested.
Now we may turn our glance to that which, though not really papier
mache, is much more extensively known by that name than the material just described. The gorgeous contributions to the Hyde Park collection must be in the recollection of most persons. That paper, even with the adventitious aid of painting, and varnishing, and polishing, and gilding, and inlaying, should be wrought into such beautiful forms, might well excite the wonder of those to whom the manufacture was new. It was no small triumph of skill to produce, out of such a substance, the pearl inlaid pianoforte and music stool; the Victoria Eegia cot, designed by Bell, the sculptor, and decked with emblematic devices in gold and colours; the pearl-and-gold inlaid loo-table; the Lotus work-table, designed by Bell; the pearl-inlaid and gilded work-table, in a form suggested by Benvenuto Cellini's vase; and Bell's chess-board for his "Parian" chess-men—to say nothing of the chairs, tables, sofas, cabinets, secretaries, screens, vases, writing-desks, blotting-folios, workboxes, papetieres, inkstands, envelope-cases, card-boxes, flower-stands, teatrays, coffee-trays, wine-trays, standishes, crochet and netting-cases, and the numberless things which modern refinement has rendered familiar to us. The Furniture Courts in the Exhibition certainly glittered with these productions.
It would give a better idea of the manufacture (although somewhat lowering to its dignity) if these productions were called pasteboard, for pasteboard they certainly are, as the reader will presently see. It was towards the close of the last century that iron tea-trays began to be imitated or superseded by papier mache, and from these trays has gradually sprung up an important department of Birmingham industry, a department in which it is pretty generally admitted, we believe, that Birmingham excels all other places.
Although the real papier mache snaps up all kinds of paper indiscriminately, with most impartial fairness, the tea-tray paper (if we may so term it) is not so easily satisfied; it requires whole sound sheets to work upon, and these sheets must have a certain definite quality to fit them for their destined purpose.
Let us watch, in thought, the making of a papier-mache tea-tray. In the first place we see that the paper employed has a grayish colour, and looks like thick blotting-paper; and in the next we see that a mould or form is employed to give shape to the tray. Artists or designers are constantly at work producing new patterns; but we are here supposing that a tolerably simple tray is to be manufactured. A model of the tray is prepared, giving the exact form and shape; and from this model a mould is cast in iron, brass, or copper, the surface of the mould corresponding, of course, with the interior of the tray to be made. Women and girls, seated at tables, cut up the rough gray paper into pieces of the requisite size, and these pieces are handed to the pasters, who are also women—for it is worthy of remark that this veiy pretty art is one which is capable of being conducted in many of its branches by females. These pasters have beside them a plentiful supply of paste, made of flour and glue dissolved and boiled in water. The mould is greased to prevent the paper from adhering. The first sheet is pasted on both sides, and handed to another woman, who lays it on the mould, pressing and rubbing and adjusting it until it conforms to the shape. Another and another are similarly applied, and the mould, with its threefold garment, is put into a drying room, heated to a high temperature, where it is brought to a dried state. It is removed from the stove-room, filed to give it a tolerable smoothness of surface, and then clothed with three more layers of paper, in the same mode as before. Again is the stove-room employed, again the pasters ply their labour; a third time the stove-room, again the pasters; and so on, until thirty or forty thicknesses of paper have been applied, more or less, of course, ae cording to the substance intended to be produced. For some purposes as many as a hundred and twenty thicknesses are pasted together, involving forty stove dryings, and of course carrying the operations over a considerable number of days. A mass of pasteboard, six inches in thickness, which is occasionally produced for certain purposes, is perhaps one of the toughest and strongest materials we can imagine. If a cannon-ball, made of such pasteboard, were fired against a ship, would not the ball itself escape fracture?
The mould being covered with a sufficient layer, a knife is employed to dexterously loosen the paper at the edges; the greased state of the mould allows the paper to be removed from it. Then are all imperfections removed; the plane, the file, and the knife are applied to bring all 'ship-shape' and proper.
Next come the adornments. The pasteboard itself is not beautiful, so beauty is sought in other ways. Shell-lac varnish of very fine quality, coloured according to circumstances, is applied coat after coat, until a thickness is obtained sufficient for the purpose. The black polished surface of ordinary papier-mache trays is produced by black japan varnish, applied by women with a brush. But whether the varnish be black or coloured, it usually undergoes a rubbing and polishing to such a degree as to equal in brilliancy anything produced in the arts. It is said that the finest polishing instrument used to give the last finishing touch after all the ' rotten-stones' and ' emeries ' have done their best, is the soft palm of a woman's hand; and that those females employed in this art, who are gifted by nature with the much-coveted charm of a soft and delicate hand, find it commercially advantageous to preserve this softness and delicacy by a degree of gloved carefulness not usual in their rank in life. What will the poets say, when woman's hand is thus spoken of?
Then ensue the painting and the gilding, the bedizenment with gaudy show, or the adornment with graceful device, according as the goods are low or high priced, or the manufacturer a man of taste or no taste. A kind of stencilling is employed in cheap work, but in better specimens the real artist's pencil is brought into requisition'
The inlaid-work exhibited in the higher class of papier-mache goods is very curious. A sort of imitative tortoiseshell is thus produced. A thin transparent varnish is laid on the prepared tray, leaf silver is laid on the varnish, the two are dried, and varnish is laid thickly over the silver, and pumice-stone is skilfully applied to grind away so much of the varnish at particular spots as will give to the whole the mottled appearance of tortoiseshell. Every day's experience tells us that imitations themselves are imitated. Not only is varnished silver made to imitate tortoiseshell, but varnished vermilion is made to imitate varnished -silver. A method of decorating papier maehe with imitative gems has been recently introduced, in which some kind of foil or varnish is applied to the back of glass, and the glass employed as an inlaying. But perhaps the most striking ornamentation of this kind is pearl-inlaying, of which Messrs. Jennens and Bettridge's pianoforte was such a brilliant specimen. Here real mother-of-pearl is employed. A design is painted on the thin pieces of pearl with shellac varnish, a strong acid is applied, all the shell is eaten away except those parts protected by the varnish, and thus the pearl is brought into an ornamental form. The pearl is placed upon the wet japan of the papier mache, to which it adheres; and it is then coated with such a thick layer of varnish as to equal the thickness of the film 6f mother-of pearl. It is varnished, dried, and rubbed with, pumice over and over again, until a level surface is produced. It may be easily conceived how excellent the varnish and the mode of application must be to render such a thickness of applied varnish durable. The firm lately mentioned have made a complete suite of papier-mache drawing-room furniture for the Queen of Spain, decorated in this remarkable way.
But it is doubtful whether this excessive glitter of polish and pearl will have a permanent reputation. Something more sober will probably live longer. At any fate, when we find Mr. Owen Jones supplying Alhaiiibraie designs, and other artists pictorial designs, for tea-trays, we find a nearer approach to fine art. The papier-mache contributions to the Great Exhibition from the Messrs. Spiers of Oxford were remarkable, inasmuch as the two oithree hundred specimens contained views of about a hundred and fifty public buildings and interesting places in and near that city. There is in many of these specimens a mediaeval taste in ornament fitted to the mediaeval state of feeling in Oxford.
Source: Paper: Its Applications and Its Novelties ©1853

Monday, December 7, 2015

1884 House Plans Part 2

Below are some House plans from 1884 the cost of each of the houses to build is listed beside the house. These are houses and cottages that the lower income and farmers could build.

Single Story House $450 - $550 (depending on whether or not you add the half floor pictured below)

Story & One half House $550
First Floor is the same design as the house above.
Second Story

Country Cottage $550

For additional house plans from 1884 here's a link to a previous post.
1884 Cottage House Plans