Tag Archives: Victorian

What is this “Halloween” holiday anyway??!

Like many holiday’s these days, we play the marketing game and buy, buy, buy everything they tell us and end up broke until January. Also, like many holidays, most people do not know the history and origins of many of our traditions.  Here are some fun Halloween facts for you to get hip on and hopefully share with your kids so they also know what Halloween is all about!

Halloween’s roots can be traced back to Celtic culture in Ireland.  According to their “Druid” religion, November 1st was New Years’ on their calendar.   The celebration would begin on October 31st ,and last into the following day. The spirits of all who died in the prior year, would rise up and roam the earth on this night.  This is an evil night when spirits roamed the streets and villages. Lord Samhain, the lord of Darkness, would arrive in search of the spirits to take  them to the underworld.

  • Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.
  • Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday.
  • Pumpkins also come in white, blue and green. Great for unique monster carvings!
  • Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.
  • Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.
  • The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.
  • Halloween candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the United States.
  • Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters with Snickers #1.
  • Halloween is the 2nd most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first.
  • Bobbing for apples is thought to have originated from the roman harvest festival that honors Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees.
  • Black cats were once believed to be witch’s familiars who protected their powers.

Some people view Halloween as a time for fun, putting on costumes, trick-or-treating, and having theme parties. Others view it as a time of superstitions, ghosts, goblins and evil spirits that should be avoided at all costs.

As the Christian debate goes on, celebrating Halloween is a preference that is not always viewed as participating in an evil holiday. Halloween is often celebrated with no reference to pagan rituals or the occult.

Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting “haunted houses” and carving jack-o-lanterns. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century including Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom as well as of Australia and New Zealand.

Have a safe and fun holiday season.


Victorian tea cups for men??! Who knew?


Many Victorian men where known for their mustaches.  As a mater of fact they were judged by the size of their mustaches, so obviously this caused for embarrassing moments during tea time. 😉 So, the teacup for men was invented!


“The moustache cup is a drinking cup with a semicircular ledge inside. The ledge has a half moon-shaped opening to allow the passage of liquids and serves as a guard to keep moustaches dry. It is generally acknowledged to have been invented in the 1860s by British potter Harvey Adams (born 1835).

Moustaches flourished throughout the Victorian era. Often, moustache wax was applied to the moustache to keep it nice and stiff, with every hair in place. And therein lay a problem that cropped up when steaming hot cups of tea or coffee were carried up to the mouth for sipping: the steam melted the wax and sent it right into the cup. Another problem soon became apparent. Sipping hot tea or coffee, moustaches also often became stained. Finally, Harvey Adams, an innovative Englishman, in 1860 came up with an unusual invention, “the moustache cup”. The latter had a ledge, called a moustache guard, across the cup. The ledge had one semicircular opening against the side of the cup. The pampered moustache then rested safe and dry on the guard while sipping a hot beverage through the opening. The new invention spread all over the European continent and soon, every famous potter was making the new cups. A multiplicity of moustache cups were made by famous manufactories such as Meissen, Royal Crown Derby, Imari, Royal Bayreuth, Limoges and others. Each potter created his own version of this masculine tableware and the news of that invention soon spread to America.”

Vintage Victorian Image Digital Download Tag Advertisement Card Scrapbook - Moustache Mustache Wax

Vintage boxing – Just for fun :)

Bathing Beauties Barely Bare?!

  • Expansion of the railway system meant traveling to the coast became accessible to all
  • Reveal the demure all-in-one outfits worn by both men and women, including caps and shoes
  • The bathing machine was used to change into the cumbersome outfits in privacy
  • It was then wheeled right into the sea to allow bathers to enter the water in ease

100 years ago shows how people used to frolic in the sand in near head-to-toe outfits, complete with hats.

Before the 1900s women hit the waves in full gowns and bloomers but the impracticality of this meant that the all-in-one fitted beach suit began to be introduced for women as well as men.

Bathing belles show off the modest white cotton calf length long sleeved dresses, complete with bathing caps adorned with bobbles, on the beach at Southend-on-Sea, Essex in August 1919

A woman perches on the edge of a bathing machine parked in shallow sea on Ostend beach in July 1911

Ostend beach in Belgium in around 1900 when beach holidays began to become popular as the new railways allowed long distance travel at ease

The bathing machines would we wheeled right down into the water to allow the bather to enter the water with ease, a reduce the stares of other bathers

The bathing machines would we wheeled right down into the water to allow the bather to enter the water with ease, a reduce the stares of other bathers

Bathers dance hand in hand on the beach at Plymouth, Devon in July 1921 wearing rather unusual costumes that seem to have been inspired by Grecian togas

Interesting Photo NYC c. 1900 Street Cleaner

Vintage beauty tips, tricks, and tragedies.

Since the beginning of time women have done things to make themselves more attractive.  Even as simple as brushing and styling their hair, to dramatic disfigurations to get the right look.

This Max Factor face pack was studded with plastic 'ice' cubes which could be filled with water before the mask was popped in the freezer. Hangover Heaven was popular with party-going Forties Hollywood stars

This Max Factor face pack was studded with plastic ‘ice’ cubes which could be  filled with water before the mask was popped in the freezer. Hangover Heaven was  popular with party-going Forties Hollywood stars

This scares me deeply!

Glamour Bonnet’ … it lowers air pressure to aid circulation and complexion

The infamous corset, which can be fun for certain events…once in a blue moon, but not daily! No thank you!!


Throughout the ages, women have experimented with beauty treatments to enhance natural features, slow the aging process, and care for the outer body. Beginning in the Ancient era, the Biblical account of Queen Esther’s life mentions the elaborate spa-type treatments that young women underwent for an entire 12-month period to prepare themselves for a reception with the King. The first six months involved treatments with oil and myrrh, and the second with perfumes and cosmetics!

With modern day waxing, working out, plucking, puckering, pouting, pinching, and fidgeting, most women will always be slaves to the latest and greatest to stay young a beautiful forever.  Good luck gals!!

Heritage Square presents: Silent and Classic Movie Nights series

Sponsored by Vidéothèque, admission to the Silent and Classic Movie Nights is free for Museum Members and a $10 donation for the General Public. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. for picnics with the show starting each Saturday after 8:00 p.m. These special screenings will take place on the lawn near the Palms Depot. Guests are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets to sit on, a small picnic to eat before the movies begin, and warm clothing. Beverages and snacks will be available with suggested donation. For more information about the program and featured movies, call the museum offices from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at (323) 225-2700.

Welcome to the world of working out…vintage style!

Wooden treadmills and Mary Janes: Workouts 1920s style were a glamorous, if low-tech, affair

Exercise clothing of the era was  either a  cotton singlet with shorts or, going back a few more decades to the Victorian  era of the late 1800s, the smart tailoring that would  have been worn as day to  day dress.  Definitely not something comfortable…comfort for women has always seemed forbidden!

Pedalling across the water: Passengers of the doomed Titanic on the exercise bikes in the boat's gymnasium, built in 1910

Passengers of the doomed Titanic, which sunk in 1912, on exercise bikes in the  boat’s gymnasium wearing their extravagant cruise outfits, again, does not look very breathable or designed for comfort.
That thing looks dangerous! A woman demonstrating an exercise machine, known as the Gymo Frame, to members of the Arsenal soccer team at Highbury football ground in London, UK, in 1932

A woman demonstrating an exercise machine, known as the Gymo Frame.

Victorian: Engravings showing physiotherapy machines from 1895, taken from an edition of Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, a 19th century German encyclopedia

I’m not sure how well these worked but whatever gets your heart pumping!! Hope you enjoyed!

Vintage Medicine – Morphine, Meth, Weed, Cocaine, and Heroin on the menu


Morphine, meth, weed, cocaine and heroin are just a few of the medications used back in the day to cure things like sore throats and tooth aches. Yowza!

Cocaine drops

Lloyd Cocaine Toothache Drops

Cocaine was sold over-the-counter until 1914, which was otherwise known as the good old days.

cocaine-toothache “Not recommended for children under 6” WTH??!!


Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup

With 65 mg of morphine per fluid ounce, it’ll cure the aches associated with teething, and life in general.

cocaine-toothacheGorgeous Vintage Advertisements for Heroin, Cannabis and Cocaine

Gorgeous Vintage Advertisements for Heroin, Cannabis and CocaineGorgeous Vintage Advertisements for Heroin, Cannabis and Cocaine

Originally intended as a patent medicine when it was invented in 1886 by John Pemberton. He used five ounces of coca leaf (141.7 g) per gallon of syrup in the first five years, but the company was bought by businessman Asa Griggs Candler in 1891, who claimed his formula contained only 0.5 ounces. (14.2 g)

Gorgeous Vintage Advertisements for Heroin, Cannabis and Cocaine

Gorgeous Vintage Advertisements for Heroin, Cannabis and Cocaine

Gorgeous Vintage Advertisements for Heroin, Cannabis and Cocaine

A mixture of opium and alcohol helped infants and little children to fall asleep, eeeeeeek!!

Another local favorite, the Ames-Westbrook home circa 1888 in Riverside, CA

20th Annual Vintage Home Tour

Landmark Plaque Text

Samuel A. Ames was the first owner of this Queen Anne style residence.  Born in Boston in 1832, Mr. Ames worked as a Pony Express rider in the southwest before coming to Riverside in 1878 and prospering in citriculture.  The house is best known for long-time owners Mr. And Mrs. John R. Westbrook, who lived there from 1919 to 1943.  Mr. Westbrook helped establish Riverside’s Franzen Brothers Hardware Store at 3730 Main Street, which later became the J.R. Westbrook Company, one of Riverside’s finest stores specializing in hardware and china.

This Queen Anne style residence was built by grove owner Samuel A. Ames in 1888.  It is best known for long-time owners Mr. and Mrs. John R. Westbrook.  John helped establish Riverside’s Franzen Brothers Hardware Store, which later became J.R. Westbrook Company.

Unfortunately this gorgeous home is not available for tours is owned privately, it is still a stunner you must drive by to appreciate.  One of the most beautiful Victorian properties, located at 4811 Brockton Ave, Riverside, CA, I have seen as it has a lovely grapevine  covered walkway and a cement stage in the front for entertainment.  I can only imagine the wonderful parties that have happened in the past. 


Riverside is rich with history and I suggest for you to go on the annual vintage home tour.  The Ames-Westbrook has been one of the homes allowed to tour but I am not sure if it will be covered this year as it was recently purchased by new owners.

The information for this can be found here: http://www.oldriverside.org/ORF_Events.html#vintage

Getting a clear view of the past

It never ceases to amaze me the clarity of many of the wonderful pictures being scanned in and distributed online for all to see.  It really gives you the opportunity to see how life was lived from day to day, outside of the usual posed for pictures.

Here is a gem I found of the lower East side of New York 1908:

Delancey Street

You can find a whole new collection recently added to the New York department of records website here: http://nycma.lunaimaging.com/luna/servlet/browseByCategory 

All of the pictures in this post are in New York.  I know I tend to be partial to Southern California as that is where I am from and still live today.  When I look at old pictures I try to take it all in, the architectures, the fashions, the cars or lack there of, the mentality or mind states of everyone, the conditions of the city.  It is amazing how far we have come in really a short amount of time. 


Another stunning Victorian home…the Morey Mansion

This house is one of my favorites that is only about ten minutes away from where I live now.  Located in Redlands, California, the Morey Mansion was once was used as a bed and breakfast but was recently sold to new owners who keep this gem all to themselves.  It is not available for tours or anything other than loving it from the street corner. 

Another local Victorian must see, I give you….Kimberly Crest house in Redlands, CA

Another local Victorian must see, I give you….Kimberly Crest house in Redlands, CA

This house is truly stunning and available for tours and events.  I have only taken the tour here but they recently had a “Princess at the Castle” event that is every little girls dream.

The beautiful home and lovely gardens are worth going for on their own.  Redlands is a beautiful town and is rich with Sothern California history as many early Victorian settlers put Redlands on the map and there are quite a few Victorian homes in the area.

Kimberly Crest was built in 1897 and is a French chateau style home.  There are 3 levels to this home, first for entertainment, second for family living, and third for servants and additional living space for guests.

The house at Kimberly Crest is open for public tours Thursday, Friday and Sundays from 1:00-3:30p.m. with tours starting approximately every 30 minutes. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors or students and free for children under 5. No reservations are required for groups of less than 10 individuals.


Contact info: 1325 Prospect Drive, Redlands, CA 92373   Phone: 909-792-2111

If you ever get a chance to check this out, I’d love to hear about your visit!!!

The ultimate Victorian experience! Stay at the Upham Hotel in Santa Barbara, CA

The ultimate Victorian experience! Stay at the Upham Hotel in Santa Barbara, CA

I had the most wonderful experience last year to stay at this divine Victorian hotel The Upham Hotel, opened for business in 1871, blocks from State Street, the main street in down town Santa Barbara.  We did not use our car the entire weekend and was able to walk to anything we needed, including a .50 trolley that will take you straight to the beach during the day.

This site is just jaw dropping and I couldn’t sleep here either, I found myself exploring the grounds at 3am and the on site gardens is a great place to sit and enjoy the complementary wine and crackers every evening.  There is also complementary cookies and milk before bed in the main house. The rooms are simple but beautiful and my husband and I were spoiled with our own private side patio which gave us our own space outside of just our room.  I recommend staying here if you ever go to Santa Barbara and just want to explore the local downtown scene.


The Upham Hotel, at 1404 De la Vina Street


Here is a link to a wonderful BIO of the Upham:


1404 De La Vina Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101

Fun and Funky Vintage

Sometimes I like to just to a search for all things weird and old, today I found these:

Victorian thriller? haha

Victorian batman? or devil

1910 electrical bath? wow

1911 first diving suit