In the Victorian era, a woman’s hair was often thought to be one of her most valuable assets. Styles varied quite a bit throughout the nearly 7 decades of Queen Victoria’s reign, with everything from simple middle parts to elaborate pieces made from human hair being in fashion. Accessories such as combs, pearls, hats and bonnets each had their time in the spotlight throughout the 1800s. Victorians weren’t as serious as people think they were, but they sure took their hair seriously. Scroll down and take a look at some of the different ways Victorian women wore their hair from the 1830s to the turn of the century.
The vintage 3D photos below are created using the Lenticular Steroscope, a contraption invented by Scotsman Sir David Brewster in 1851. His invention was presented to Queen Victoria and became a hit phenomenon during the Great Exhibition in London. The resulting images, stereographs were advertiserd with catchphrases such as “See the world from your parlour!”. In a world before radio and TV, stereograph collections were seen as hugely entertaining. The demand employed hordes of photographers who were sent out far and wide to document the world in Stereo Photography.
On the Internet, blogs such as Vintage3d create animated gifs of these stereoscopic images by editing the originals using a specific method. We feel that these help us see the past as more real, with just a quick glance.
This time we’ll focus on stereographs that show us something about industry, transportation and logistics in these old milieus.
Havana’s biggest cigar factory in 1903
Broadway, NYC. Rany day in the 1860s.
Nanking and Scechuen Road intersection, Shanghai, China, ca. 1931.
Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore, Maryland, 1933. The tower is the Baltimore Washington Monument. On the right, the spire of Mount Vernon United Methodist Church is visible
The Panama Canal under construction, 1907
Man making coke coal. Starkville, Colorado, 1906.
A Japanese silk factory in 1905. Work in progress: larvae cocoons are being boiled and silk reeled onto spools.
The Rialto and Grand Canal, Venice, Italy, 1902.
A railway station and rickshaws waiting to take passengers. Beijing, China, 1931.
Carpet factory in Orizaba, Mexico, 1903.
Back in the 18th and 19th century, recreational swimming kickstarted a service industry of aids for decent beach life etiquette. These tools of maintaining dignity were perhaps unsurprisingly mostly aimed at women. Among innovations of this time was the Bathing Machine, or the Bathing Van, which helped bathers change into to their bathing attire right next to the water.
Bathing machines became a thing around all of Great Britain’s empire starting ca. 1750 and spread to the at least the United States, France, Germany and Mexico to serve the greater goal of common decency at beaches. These bathing machines faced steep decline after 1901 when gender segregation no longer was a legal requirement on beaches around Britain. On some beaches, bathing machines had already been permanently parked as stationary changing rooms during the preceding decades.
The gist of the blessing bathing machines brought life in the budding modern industrial era is fairly simple. The passenger enters a horse or human drawn carriage, which is transported some distance out into the water. The van’s human cargo changes into whatever shapeless sack was deemed suitable at the time. The mechanics of it all are unsurprisingly not that glamorous and worth exploring in further detail.
You might imagine these contraptions adding more of a hassle than a day at the beach is worth. But as you can see in the photos we’ve collected below, users of bathing vans did seem to enjoy having some to refreshing dips in the sea.