A Table of Contents


This site was put together from notes and pictures I had saved from the many books I’d read over the years.
As a favor to members of several online forums, I started putting my notes into cohesive sentences and paragraphs, and I put together this website. It just grew and grew.
Recently I had planned to spruce up and add a bit more, but I found I just didn’t have the free time.
Please check the  From the Bookstore Section. Much, but not all, of the information on this site came from those books. If you want to learn more, read them.

FROM THE BOOKSTORE
A few good books about Victorian life and decor, available from libraries and bookstores.

DOING THE LAUNDRY

PUTTING UP THE STOVE-1871

CONTENTS OF A HOUSE IN THE 1850'S

THE VICTORIAN KITCHEN

VICTORIAN DINING Food of the middle class

THE DINING ROOM CIRCA 1880

THE FRONT HALL CIRCA 1880

VICTORIAN DECORATING 1830-50

VICTORIAN DECORATING 1850-70

VICTORIAN DECORATING 1870-1890, PART 1 AND INTRODUCTION

1870-90 PART II, COLORS, WALLPAPERS, FLOORS & WINDOWS

DECORATING IN THE 1890'S
Colors, wallpapers, flooring and window treatments.


THE BEDROOM AND BOUDOIR CIRCA 1880

THE VICTORIAN BEDROOM

THE VICTORIAN BATHROOM

GREEK REVIVAL & 19TH C. HEATING, PLUMBING, ETC.

WHAT A HOUSE SHOULD BE???
A humorous excerpt from the book, THE HOUSE THAT JILL BUILT AFTER JACK’S HAD PROVED A FAILURE, published in 1882

IN THE VICTORIAN DRAWING ROOM, a bit about Victorian life.

THE VICTORIAN HOME, perhaps not quite what you thought it was
A general background about life in the Victorian home.

LIFE IN A MAINE HAMLET 1894-1904

LIFE IN LONDON, 1849

A VIEW OF 19TH C. ARCHITECTURE AS SEEN FROM 1907

VICTORIAN VIEW OF THE HOUSE OF THE FUTURE

MISCELLANY

THE SERVANT'S QUARTERS

THE PARLOR AND DRAWING ROOM, CIRCA 1880

19TH C. AMERICAN TOWNHOUSES

PORTABLE WAINSCOTING 1869

A DINING ROOM CEILING DESIGN, 1869

PORTIERS,1897

INTERIOR TRIM AND WOOD FINISHES 1897

AN 1890'S MODEL KITCHEN

MAKING A BEAUTIFUL HOME 1870

A WOMAN'S IDEA OF WHAT A KITCHEN SHOULD BE, 1870

USING A NEW KIND OF TACK, 1870

THE AMERICAN WOMAN'S HOME, 1869

CONTENTS OF A HOUSE IN THE 1850'S






Doing the Laundry

From A Treatise on Domestic Economy, by Catherine Esther Beecher, 1845

To do laundry you needed plenty of water. If your water was hard, you'd add lye or soda to it, but not too much, or you'd injure your hands and the clothes. You'd also need an assortment of tubs, a large wooden dipper (metal ones were apt to rust), 2 or 3 pails, a wash board, a clothes line, a wash stick to move clothes around in the tub while boiling, and a wooden fork to take them out.
Soap dishes, made to hook on the tubs saved soap and time.
You'd need a clothes bag, in which you boiled clothes, an indigo bag made of double flannel, a linen starch strainer, starch (which you made yourself), clothespins (described as cleft sticks), a bottle of dissolved gum Arabic,
two clothes baskets, and a brass or copper kettle, for boiling clothes, as iron tended to rust.
Catherine Beecher suggested a laundry storage closet, six feet high, three feet deep, and four feet wide, with a lock and key, in which to keep all your paraphernalia. To quote her, If the mistress of the family requests the washerwoman to notify her, when she is through, and then ascertains if all these articles are put in their places, it (the lock and key) will prove useful.

Victorians never trusted the help, everything was kept under lock and key.

She also noted that: Tubs, pails, and all hooped wooden ware, should be kept out of the sun, and in a cool place, or they will fall to pieces.

To start:
Assort the clothes, and put them in soak, the night before. Never pour
hot water on them, as it sets the dirt. In assorting clothes, put the
flannels in one lot, the colored clothes in another, the coarse white
ones in a third, and the fine clothes in a fourth lot. Wash the fine
clothes in one tub of suds; and throw them, when wrung, into another.
Then wash them, in the second suds, turning them wrong side out. Put
them in the boiling-bag, and boil them in strong suds, for half an hour,
and not much more. Move them, while boiling, with the clothes-stick.
Take them out of the boiling-bag, and put them into a tub of water, and
rub the dirtiest places, again, if need be. Throw them into the rinsing-water, and then wring them out, and put them into the blueing-water.

Put the articles to be stiffened, into a clothes-basket, by themselves, and, just before hanging out, dip them in starch, clapping it in, so as to have them equally stiff, in all parts.
Hang white clothes in the sun, and colored ones, (wrong side out,) in the
shade. Fasten them with clothes-pins.

Then wash the coarser white articles, in the same manner. Then wash the colored clothes. These must not be soaked, nor have lye or soda put in the water, and they ought not to lie wet long before hanging out, as it injures their colors.
Beef's-gall, (*prepared from the bile from a cow's gall bladder) one spoonful to two pailfuls of suds, improves calicoes.
Lastly, wash the flannels, in suds as hot as the hand can bear. Never
rub on soap, as this shrinks them in spots. Wring them out of the first
suds, and throw them into another tub of hot suds, turning them wrong
side out. Then throw them into hot blueing-water. Do not put blueing
into suds, as it makes specks in the flannel. Never leave flannels long
in water, nor put them in cold or lukewarm water. Before hanging them
out, shake and stretch them.
Some housekeepers have a close closet, made with slats across the top. On these slats, they put their flannels, when ready to hang out, and then burn brimstone under them, for ten minutes. It is but little trouble, and keeps the flannels as white as new.
Wash the colored flannels, and hose, after the white, adding more hot water.
Some persons dry woollen hose on stocking-boards, shaped like a foot and
leg, with strings to tie them on the line. This keeps them from shrinking, and makes them look better than if ironed. It is also less work, than to iron them properly.

Bedding should be washed in long days, and in hot weather. Pound
blankets in two different tubs or barrels of hot suds, first well mixing
the soap and water. Rinse in hot suds; and, after wringing, let two
persons shake them thoroughly, and then hang them out. If not dry, at
night, fold them, and hang them out the next morning. Bedquilts should
be pounded in warm suds; and, after rinsing, be wrung as dry as
possible. Bolsters and pillows can be pounded in hot suds, without
taking out the feathers, rinsing them in fair water. It is usually best,
however, for nice feathers, to take them out, wash them, and dry them on
a garret floor. Cotton comforters should have the cases taken off and
washed. Wash bedticks, after the feathers are removed, like other
things. Empty straw beds once a year.


To Cleanse Gentlemen's Broadcloths (Suits- before there were dry cleaners in every neighborhood)

The common mode, is, to shake, and brush the articles, and rip out linings and pockets; then to wash them in strong suds, adding a teacupful of lye, using white soap for light cloth; rolling and then pressing, instead of wringing, them; when dry, sprinkling them, and letting them lie all night; and ironing on the wrong side, or with a thin dark cloth over the article, until perfectly dry.
But a far better way, which the writer has repeatedly tried, with unfailing success, is the following: Take one beef's-gall, half a pound of salæratus (bicarbonate of soda), and four gallons of warm water. Lay the article on a table, and scour it thoroughly, in every part, with a clothes-brush, dipped in this mixture. The collar of a coat, and the grease-spots, (previously marked by stitches of white thread,) must be repeatedly brushed. Then, take the article, and rinse it up and down in the mixture. Then, rinse it up and down in a tub of soft cold water.
Then, without wringing or pressing, hang it to drain and dry. Fasten a
coat up by the collar. When perfectly dry, it is sometimes the case,
with coats, that nothing more is needed. In other cases, it is necessary
to dampen the parts, which look wrinkled, with a sponge, and either pull
them smooth, with the fingers, or press them with an iron, having a
piece of bombazine, or thin woollen cloth, between the iron and the
article.

Practical Housekeeping, by Estelle Woods Wilcox, published in 1887, (40 years later) gives pretty much the same instructions on doing laundry.

If you'd like to delve further into the Victorian laundering process, read Miss Beecher's book.

Putting Up The Stove 1871

It's getting to be that time of year. Chillier weather approaches, especially here in New England, and it seems the perfect time to reprint this article published in the Manufacturer and Builder, Dec. 1871 issue.

WE do not remember the exact date of the invention of stoves; but it was several years ago. Since then mankind have been tormented, once a year, by the difficulties that beset the task of putting them up, and getting the pipes "fixed." With all our Yankee ingenuity, no American has ever invented any method by which the labor of putting up a stove can be lessened. The job is now almost as severe and vexatious as humanity can possibly endure.
Men always put up their stoves on a rainy day. Why, we know not; but we never heard of an exception to the rule. The first step to be taken is to put on a very old and ragged coat, under the impression that when the operator gets his mouth full of plaster it will keep his shirt—bosom clean. Next, he gets his hand inside the place where the pipe ought to go, and blacks his fingers; then he carefully makes a black mark down one side of his nose. Having got his face properly marked, the victim—usually "paterfamilias" ——is ready to begin the ceremony. The "head of the family" grasps one side of the bottom of the stove, and his wife and his hired girl take hold of the other side. In this way the stove is started from the wood—shed toward the parlor. Going through the door, the chief operator carefully swings his side of the stove around and jams his thumb—nail against the door-post. Having got the
"family comfort" in place, the next thing is to find the legs. Two of these are left inside the stove since the spring before. The other two must be hunted after for twenty- five minutes. They are usually found under the coal. Then the "head of the family” holds up one side of the stove while his wife puts two of the legs in place, and next he holds up the other side while the other two are fixed, and, one of the first two falls out. By the time the stove is on its legs he gets reckless, and takes off his old coat, regardless of his linen.
"Paterfamilias" then goes for the pipe, and gets two cinders in his eye. It don’t make any difference how well the pipe was put up last year, it will always be found a little too short or a little too long. "The head off the family” jams his hat over his eyes, and taking a pipe under each arm goes to the tin-shop to have it fixed. When he gets back, he steps upon one of the best parlor chairs to see if the pipe fits, and his wife makes him get down for fear he will scratch the varnish off from the chair with the nails in his boot-heel. In getting down, he will surely step on the cat, and may thank his stars that it is not the baby. Then he gets an old chair and climbs up to the chimney again, to find that in cutting the pipe off the end has been left too big for the hole in the chimney. So he goes to the wood—shed and
splits one side of the end of the pipe with an old ax, and squeezes it in his hands to make it smaller. The chief operator at length gets the pipe in shape, and finds that the stove does not stand true. Then himself and his wife and the hired girl move the stove to the left, and the legs fall out again. Next it is to be moved to the right. More difficulty now with the legs. Move to the front a little. Elbow not even with the hole in the chimney, and the "head of the family” goes again to the wood-shed after some little blocks. While putting the blocks under the legs the pipe comes out of the chimney. That remedied, the elbow keeps tipping over, to the great alarm of the wife. "Paterfamilias" gets the dinner-table out, puts the old chair on it, makes his wife take hold of the chair, and balances himself on it to drive some nails into the ceiling but in doing this he drops the hammer on his wife’s head. At last he gets the nails driven, makes a wire swing to hold the pipe, hammers a little
here, pulls a little there, takes a long breath, and announces the ceremony concluded. Job never put up any stoves. It would have ruined his reputation if he had.

Contents of a house in the 1850's

Some time ago I found a site that listed personal belongings of some early 19th century Virginians as culled from wills or other legal documents.
Following are the listed contents of two wealthy men both of whom died in the 1850's.
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Personal estate of the late Samuel Alsop, 1859,Spotsylvania Co, VA

Samuel Alsop Jr was born in Spotsylvania County in March of 1776.
Alsop began to accumulate land beginning with an inheritance of acreage from his grandfather. He continued to acquire large land holdings in Spotsylvania and Caroline Counties as well as in other parts of the state.
A noted architect and builder, he oversaw the building of the Old Berea Church in Spotsylvania and is buried in the cemetary.
(original spellings are used)
Household furniture
Parlors
1 Mahogany sofa
1 Cane seat rocking chair
30 ditto chairs
1 small Mahogany table
1 Spring seat sofa
2 small sofas
2 mahogany rocking chairs
16 curtains & fixtures for 6 windows
1 carpet & rug
fender, andirons, shovel & tongs
carpet & rug
fender, andirons, &c.
mantle lamps
Hall
1 Side board
2 lounges
1 chair
carpet & matting
2 candle stands
Chamber
1 wardrobe
1 bureaw
looking Glafs
1 mantle mirror
1 lounge
bed & furniture (the bedding,sheets,etc)
6 cane seat chairs
2 rocking ditto
1 small table
wash stand &c.
3 window curtains
carpet & rug
Nursery
1 Bed & furniture
1 lounge
5 flag chairs
1 clock
1 case
1 looking glafs
1 wardrobe
1 bureaw & medicine stand
pine chest,
table & candle stand
2 pair andirons & fenders
6 sad irons
2 small pine tables
3 old chairs
matting in crofs pafsage
Upstairs
Room 1

3 bedsteads, beds & beding
1 set draws & looking glafs
1 wash stand, pitcher & Ewer
1 table & 2 slop buckets
andirons, fender, &c.
carpet
4 curtains
10 chairs
Room 2
2 bedsteads, beds & beding
9 chairs
1 wash stand, Pitcher &
1 small table, pitcher & Ewer
1 table & water bucket
andirons, fender, shovel, & tongs
mantle mirror & pitcher
drefsing table & glafs
carpet & rug
window curtains
Room 3
2 beds, beding &c. at
1 trumble bed &c.
1 bureaw & mirror
1 settee
4 chairs
andirons, fender, &c
carpet, rug &c.
wash stand, pitcher, basin
table & bucket
window curtains
Room 4
2 Beds, beadsteads, & beding
2 chairs
table & looking glafs
wash stand &c.
andirons & fender &c.
carpet
curtains
1 corner table in crofs pafsage 1
1 wardrobe
2 trunks & stand
Passage?
1 bed &c.
2 wardrobes
1 crib &c.
1 walnut chest
1 box
matting
1 arm chair & 6 common ditto
2 half round tables
Cellar
2 silver ladles
22 table spoons
12 desert ditto
3 Sugar tongs
2 butter knives & 2 pickle ditto & forks
4 salt spoons 2
12 plated forks
2 plated cake baskets
20 glafs
castors (sugar castors,mustard pots, spice dredgers, oil & vinegar bottles)
12 knives & forks (horn handles)
12 ditto & ditto (buckhorn handles)
24 ivory handle ditto
6 plane ditto
2 tea set, China & glafs
common castors
ditto cups & saucers
2 sets white China
1 set common blue ditto
goblets, wine glafses &c.
Bratania coffee & Tea pots &c.
Preserve bowl & salver
14 waiters (trays)
side board & glafs prefs
3 tin safes (probably a food keeper)
1 glafs prefs
1 walnut dinner table & half rounds
1 pine table
14 chairs & small table
1 clock
fender, andirons & shovel & tongs
carpet & mat
6 brafs candle sticks
tin safe, tables & water stand

To read the complete listing, go HERE.
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Below is a listing from the personal estate of Warren A. Wiglesworth, died 1853, Spotsylvania County
He too, was a wealthy man, though not as rich as S.Alsop Jr.

New Room
1 bedstead & furniture
toilet table
1 pr andirons, glass,
3 chairs,
underbed & matrass
Chamber
1 Bedstead & furniture
1 Bed, stead & furniture (his children were planning on taking both of these beds)
1 secretary & bookcase
1 easy chair
1 bedstead
candlestand
1 miror
4 chairs
1 pr andirons
shovel & tongs
Books in bookcase
Dining Room
1 sideboard
2 folding tables
clock
andirons,
3 chairs
1 shotgun
Passage
1 crib
8 chairs
1 bench
old books &c
Parlour
2 Mahogany Tables
andirons
old sofa
8 chairs
Large map of U.S.
1 bench
Table ware, Stone & Tin ware
old books &c
Room over Parlor
4 beds with bedsteads & under beds
candlestand
washstand
looking glass
carpet
andirons & Tongs
Passage
1 Chest
5 white counterpanes
4 table cloths
1 table
old trunk
2 chairs
Old Stairs
2 Beds, steads & underbeds
washstand
andirons
table
tongs & poker
Garrett
3 chests
2 fenders
old barrels
tin boiler &c
Kitchen
4 pots
4 ovens
tea kettle
Preserving stove
2 trivits
2 pails
3 trays
1 churn
pothooks
ladles
gridles
skilletts
copper kettle &c

To read the complete listing go  HERE.

The American Woman's Home 1869

This book, by Catharine E.Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe included a chapter about the ideal home, one which I've always found interesting.
I've reprinted most of this chapter below.


In the following drawings are presented modes of economizing time, labor, and expense by the close packing of conveniences. By such methods, small and economical houses can be made to secure most of the comforts and many of the refinements of large and expensive ones. The cottage at the head of this chapter is projected on a plan which can be adapted to a warm or cold climate with little change. By adding another story, it would serve a large family.
Fig. 1 shows the ground-plan of the first floor. On the inside it is forty-three feet long and twenty-five wide, excluding conservatories and front and back projections. Its inside height from floor to ceiling is ten feet. The piazzas each side of the front projection have sliding-windows to the floor, and can, by glazed sashes, be made green-houses in winter. In a warm climate, piazzas can be made at the back side also.
In the description and arrangement, the leading aim is to show how time, labor, and expense are saved, not only in the building but in furniture and its arrangement. With this aim, the ground-floor and its furniture will first be shown, then the second story and its furniture, and then the basement and its conveniences. The conservatories are appendages not necessary to housekeeping, but useful in many ways pointed out more at large in other chapters.

The entry has arched recesses behind the front doors, (Fig. 2,) furnished with hooks for over-clothes in both--a box for over-shoes in one, and a stand for umbrellas in the other. The roof of the recess is for statuettes, busts, or flowers. The stairs turn twice with broad steps, making a recess at the lower landing, where a table is set with a vase of flowers, (Fig. 3.) On one side of the recess is a closet, arched to correspond with the arch over the stairs. A bracket over the first broad stair, with flowers or statuettes, is visible from the entrance, and pictures can be hung as in the illustration.


The large room on the left can be made to serve the purpose of several rooms by means of a movable screen. By shifting this rolling screen from one part of the room to another, two apartments are always available, of any desired size within the limits of the large room. One side of the screen fronts what may be used as the parlor or sitting-room; the other side is arranged for bedroom conveniences. Of this, Fig. 4 shows the front side; covered first with strong canvas, stretched and nailed on. Over this is pasted panel-paper, and the upper part is made to resemble an ornamental cornice by fresco-paper. Pictures can be hung in the panels, or be pasted on and varnished with white varnish. To prevent the absorption of the varnish, a wash of gum isinglass (fish-glue) must be applied twice.

Fig. 5 shows the back or inside of the movable screen, toward the part of the room used as the bedroom. On one side, and at the top and bottom, it has shelves with shelf-boxes, which are cheaper and better than drawers, and much preferred by those using them. Handles are cut in the front and back side, as seen in Fig. 6. Half an inch space must be between the box and the shelf over it, and as much each side, so that it can be taken out and put in easily. The central part of the screen's interior is a wardrobe

This screen must be so high as nearly to reach the ceiling, in order to prevent it from overturning. It is to fill the width of the room, except two feet on each side. A projecting cleat or strip, reaching nearly to the top of the screen, three inches wide, is to be screwed to the front sides, on which light frame doors are to be hung, covered with canvas and panel-paper like the front of the screen. The inside of these doors is furnished with hooks for clothing, for which the projection makes room. The whole screen is to be eighteen inches deep at the top and two feet deep at the base, giving a solid foundation. It is moved on four wooden rollers, one foot long and four inches in diameter. The pivots of the rollers and the parts where there is friction must be rubbed with hard soap, and then a child can move the whole easily.
A curtain is to be hung across the whole interior of the screen by rings, on a strong wire. The curtain should be in three parts, with lead or large nails in the hems to keep it in place. The wood-work must be put together with screws, as the screen is too large to pass through a door.

At the end of the room, behind the screen, are two couches, to be run one under the other, as in Fig. 7. The upper one is made with four posts, each three feet high and three inches square, set on casters two inches high. The frame is to be fourteen inches from the floor, seven feet long, two feet four inches wide, and three inches in thickness. At the head, and at the foot, is to be screwed a notched two-inch board, three inches wide, as in Fig. 8. The mortises are to be one inch wide and deep, and one inch apart, to receive slats made of ash, oak, or spruce, one inch square, placed lengthewise of the couch. The slats being small, and so near together, and running lengthwise, make a better spring frame than wire coils. If they warp, they can be turned. They must not be fastened at the ends, except by insertion in the notches. Across the posts, and of equal height with them, are to be screwed head and foot-boards.
The under couch is like the upper, except these dimensions: posts, nine inches high, including castors; frame, six feet two inches long, two feet four inches wide. The frame should be as near the floor as possible, resting on the casters.

The most healthful and comfortable mattress is made by a case, open in the centre and fastened together with buttons, as in Fig. 9; to be filled with oat straw, which is softer than wheat or rye. This can be adjusted to the figure, and often renewed.
Fig. 10 represents the upper couch when covered, with the under couch put beneath it. The coverlid should match the curtain of the screen; and the pillows, by day, should have a case of the same.

Fig. 11 is an ottoman, made as a box, with a lid on hinges. A cushion is fastened to this lid by strings at each corner, passing through holes in the box lid and tied inside. The cushion to be cut square, with side pieces; stuffed with hair, and stitched through like a mattress. Side handles are made by cords fastened inside with knots. The box must be two inches larger at the bottom than at the top, and the lid and cushion the same size as the bottom, to give it a tasteful shape. This ottoman is set on casters, and is a great convenience for holding articles, while serving also as a seat.
The expense of the screen, where lumber averages $4 a hundred, and carpenter labor $3a day, would be about $30, and the two couches about $6. The material for covering might be cheap and yet pretty. A woman with these directions, and a son or husband who would use plane and saw, could thus secure much additional room, and also what amounts to two bureaus, two large trunks, one large wardrobe, and a wash-stand, for less than $20--the mere cost of materials. The screen and couches can be so arranged as to have one room serve first as a large and airy sleeping-room; then, in the morning, it may be used as sitting-room one side of the screen, and breakfast-room the other; and lastly, through the day it can be made a large parlor on the front side and a sewing or retiring-room the other side. The needless spaces usually devoted to kitchen, entries, halls, back-stairs, pantries, store-rooms, and closets, by this method would be used in adding to the size of the large room, so variously used by day and by night.
Fig. 12 is an enlarged plan of the kitchen and stove-room. The chimney and stove-room are contrived to ventilate the whole house, by a mode exhibited in another chapter.

Between the two rooms glazed sliding-doors, passing each other, serve to shut out heat and smells from the kitchen. The sides of the stove-room must be lined with shelves; those on the side by the cellar stairs, to be one foot wide, and eighteen inches apart; on the other side, shelves may be narrower, eight inches wide and nine inches apart. Boxes with lids, to receive stove utensils, must be placed near the stove.
On these shelves, and in the closet and boxes, can be placed every material used for cooking, all the table and cooking utensils, and all the articles used in house work, and yet much spare room will be left. The cook's galley in a steamship has every article and utensil used in cooking for two hundred persons, in a space not larger than this stove-room, and so arranged that with one or two steps the cook can reach all he uses.
In contrast to this, in most large houses, the table furniture, the cooking materials and utensils, the sink, and the eating-room, are at such distances apart, that half the time and strength is employed in walking back and forth to collect and return the articles used.

Fig. 13 is an enlarged plan of the sink and cooking-form. Two windows make a better circulation of air in warm weather, by having one open at top and the other at the bottom, while the light is better adjusted for working, in case of weak eyes.


The flour-barrel just fills the closet, which has a door for admission, and a lid to raise when used. Beside it, is the form for cooking, with a moulding-board laid on it; one side used for preparing vegetables and meat, and the other for moulding bread. The sink has two pumps, for well and for rain-water--one having a forcing power to throw water into the reservoir in the garret, which supplies the water-closet and bath-room. On the other side of the sink is the dish-drainer, with a ledge on the edge next to the sink, to hold the dishes, and grooves cut to let the water drain into the sink. It has hinges, so that it can either rest on the cook-form or be turned over and cover the sink. Under the sink are shelf-boxes placed on two shelves run into grooves, with other grooves above and below, so that one may move the shelves and increase or diminish the spaces between. The shelf-boxes can be used for scouring-materials, dish-towels, and dish-cloths; also to hold bowls for bits of butter, fats, etc. Under these two shelves is room for two pails, and a jar for soap-grease.
Under the cook-form are shelves and shelf-boxes for unbolted wheat, corn-meal, rye, etc. Beneath these, for white and brown sugar, are wooden can-pails, which are the best articles in which to keep these constant necessities. Beside them is the tin molasses-can with a tight, movable cover, and a cork in the spout. This is much better than a jug for molasses, and also for vinegar and oil, being easier to clean and to handle. Other articles and implements for cooking can be arranged on or under the shelves at the side and front. A small cooking-tray, holding pepper, salt, dredging-box, knife and spoon, should stand close at hand by the stove, (Fig. 14.)
The articles used for setting tables are to be placed on the shelves at the front and side of the sink. Two tumbler-trays, made of pasteboard, covered with varnished fancy papers and divided by wires, (as shown in Fig. 15,) save many steps in setting and clearing table.
Similar trays, (Fig. 16,) for knives and forks and spoons, serve the same purpose.

The sink should be three feet long and three inches deep, its width matching the cook-form.


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Fig. 17 is the second or attic story.

The main objection to attic rooms is their warmth in summer, owing to the heated roof. This is prevented by so enlarging the closets each side that their walls meet the ceiling under the garret floor, thus excluding all the roof. In the bed-chambers, corner dressing-tables, as Fig. 18, instead of projecting bureaus, save much space for use, and give a handsome form and finish to the room. In the bath-room must be the opening to the garret, and a step-ladder to reach it. A reservoir in the garret, supplied by a forcing-pump in the cellar or at the sink, must be well supported by timbers, and the plumbing must be well done, or much annoyance will ensue.

The large chambers are to be lighted by large windows or glazed sliding-doors, opening upon the balcony. A roof can be put over the balcony and its sides inclosed by windows, and the chamber extend into it, and be thus much enlarged.
The water-closets must have the latest improvements for safe discharge, and there will be no trouble. They cost no more than an out-door building, and save from the most disagreeable house-labor.
A great improvement, called earth-closets, will probably take the place of water-closets to some extent; though at present the water is the more convenient. A description of the earth-closet will be given in another chapter relating to tenement-houses for the poor in large cities.
The method of ventilating all the chambers, and also the cellar, will be described in another chapter.
Fig. 19 represents a shoe-bag, that can be fastened to the side of a closet or closet-door.

Fig. 20 represents a piece-bag, and is a very great labor and space-saving invention. It is made of calico, and fastened to the side of a closet or a door, to hold all the bundles that are usually stowed in trunks and drawers. India-rubber or elastic tape drawn into hems to hold the contents of the bag is better than tape-strings. Each bag should be labeled with the name of its contents, written with indelible ink on white tape sewed on to the bag. Such systematic arrangement saves much time and annoyance. Drawers or trunks to hold these articles can not be kept so easily in good order, and moreover, occupy spaces saved by this contrivance.

Fig. 21 is the basement. It has the floor and sides plastered, and is lighted with glazed doors. A form is raised close by the cellar stairs, for baskets, pails, and tubs.

Here, also, the refrigerator can be placed, or, what is better, an ice-closet can be made, as designated in the illustration. The floor of the basement must be an inclined plane toward a drain, and be plastered with water-lime. The wash-tubs have plugs in the bottom to let off water, and cocks and pipes over them bringing cold water from the reservoir in the garret and hot water from the laundry stove. This saves much heavy labor of emptying tubs and carrying water.
The laundry closet has a stove for heating irons, and also a kettle on top for heating water. Slides or clothes-frames are made to draw out to receive wet clothes, and then run into the closet to dry. This saves health as well as time and money, and the clothes are as white as when dried outdoors.
The wood-work of the house, for doors, windows, etc., should be oiled chestnut, butternut, whitewood, and pine. This is cheaper, handsomer, and more easy to keep clean than painted wood.
In Fig. 21 are planned two conservatories, and few understand their value in the training of the young. They provide soil, in which children, through the winter months, can be starting seeds and plants for their gardens and raising valuable, tender plants. Every child should cultivate flowers and fruits to sell and to give away, and thus be taught to learn the value of money and to practice both economy and benevolence.
According to the calculation of a house-carpenter, in a place where the average price of lumber is $4 a hundred, and carpenter work $3 a day, such a house can be built for $1600. For those practicing the closest economy, two small families could occupy it, by dividing the kitchen, and yet have room enough. Or one large room and the chamber over it can be left till increase of family and means require enlargement.
A strong horse and carryall, with a cow, garden, vineyard, and orchard, on a few acres, would secure all the substantial comforts found in great establishments, without the trouble of ill-qualified servants.
And if the parents and children were united in the daily labors of the house, garden, and fruit culture, such thrift, health, and happiness would be secured as is but rarely found among the rich.
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The kitchen stove
Another chapter dwells on the care of stoves, furnaces and chimneys. The section about the kitchen range is rather interesting.
Those who are taught to manage the stove properly keep the fire going all night, and equally well with wood or coal, thus saving the expense of kindling and the trouble of starting a new fire. When the fuel is of good quality, all that is needed in the morning is to draw the back-damper, shake the grate, and add more fuel.
Another remarkable feature of this stove is the extension-top, on which is placed a water reservoir, constantly heated by the smoke as it passes from the stove, through one or two uniting passages, to the smoke-pipe. Under this is placed a closet for warming and keeping hot the dishes, vegetables, meats, etc., while preparing for dinner. It is also very useful in drying fruit; and when large baking is required, a small appended pot for charcoal turns it into a fine large oven, that bakes as nicely as a brick oven.
Another useful appendage is a common tin oven, in which roasting can be done in front of the stove, the oven-doors being removed for the purpose. The roast will be done as perfectly as by an open fire.
This stove is furnished with pipes for heating water, like the water-back of ranges, and these can be taken or left out at pleasure. So also the top covers, the baking-stool and pot, and the summer-back, bottom, and side-casings can be used or omitted as preferred.
Fig. 37 exhibits the stove completed, with all its appendages, as they might be employed in cooking for a large number.
A large stove that includes a roaster, range, hot water reservoir, and baking compartment, among other amenities. The various features of the stove are labeled in the illustration.

Its capacity, convenience, and economy as a stove may be estimated by the following fact: With proper management of dampers, one ordinary-sized coal-hod of anthracite coal will, for twenty-four hours, keep the stove running, keep seventeen gallons of water hot at all hours, bake pies and puddings in the warm closet, heat flat-irons under the back cover, boil tea-kettle and one pot under the front cover, bake bread in the oven, and cook a turkey in the tin roaster in front. The author has numerous friends, who, after trying the best ranges, have dismissed them for this stove, and in two or three years cleared the whole expense by the saving of fuel.

from
The American Woman's Home: or, Principles of Domestic Science


Using a new kind of tack, Jan 1870

The first illustration shows how carpet or matting was put down without sewing the pieces together. Recall that in 1870 even even if carpets completely covered a floor wall to wall, they still came in separate rolls that were pieced together in the home.

The second illustration shows the edge of a carpet being secured to the floor with the new type of tacks.

The picture shows a window shade secured with the new style tacks. The tacks were also recommended as an excellent substitute for stair-rods.



Portieres, 1897

Also from How to Build Furnish and Decorate...

In portieres, change the color for each opening, even if in the same room, unless an entire color scheme is carried throughout the room in decoration and furniture. Half the artistic effect of an apartment depends upon its portieres, and so it behooves the wise woman to look well to the selection of her draperies. In buying portieres it is not so much a question of money as of good taste. Some of the inexpensive denims answer the purpose quite as well as more costly material. It can be obtained in quite a number of colors ; blue, green, etc. By using the right side for the curtain and the reverse side for a border a very pretty effect is obtained. In many of the new fabrics for portieres changeable effects are seen. A new material called satin lambell shows the two-toned effect. This fabric is much like damask, but it has a wide border and dado, with a design in detached figures in the center It may be bought in a variety of soft shades. In dull rose and reseda green it is most effective. Damask will be much used for portieres for the parlor, and also embroidered silk velours.
As for the beautiful liberty velvets they are more in fashion than ever. Dark grounds are used with large designs in lighter shades.
A material which looks much like the dress fabric called Bedford cord will be much used for inexpensive portieres. Many of the old-style shawls make very handsome hangings, their soft texture drapes well and in many cases their colors are exquisite.