About a month ago, I toured a local historic home that had been built in the 1870s. The house was filled with the requisite Victorian furniture and décor, but also had a few things I’d never seen before. I don’t pretend to be a historian, but I like to think I have a pretty good grasp of that time period. Imagine my surprise when I came across something that looked like the picture below.
Now, many of you may know what it is, but I didn’t. It was placed on a dresser in a bedroom. Any guesses? No? It was filled with sugar water. Can you guess now?
I’ll have pity on those of you who don’t know. It’s a fly trap. Flies go in, but can’t get back out. I can only imagine what a gross mess it must have been to clean one out.
The other item that caught my interest was similar to the piece depicted below.
The one I saw was on a lady’s vanity. It measured about three inches in diameter. They usually are a part of a matching vanity dresser set. I thought it looked like something you put cotton balls in, but that wasn’t it. They were often made of ceramic or glass with a silver top. Can you guess? It’s a hair receiver. (Above photo courtesy of http://www.hairarchives.com)
Ladies would take shedded hair or hair left in the bristles of a brush and store it in this container. The hair was used to make jewelry, to memorialize a deceased loved one, or braided into designs. It was also used to make a rat or ratt—a large amount of hair was rolled into a tube shape, then put into a hair net and sewn shut. This was used to add fullness to the elaborate hair-dos of the time period.
Needless to say, I had no idea our ancestors were so creative. It makes me wish I could travel through time to experience daily Victorian life in person.