Did you ever wonder what Victorians did to pass the time or if they had time to pass? Did you know that the answers to questions like these were dramatically changed by the Industrial Revolution?
Early in the Victorian Era, everything was made by hand or imported. Wealth was concentrated around the cities with town and country folks having significantly less. As the Victorian Era progressed, so did the Industrial Revolution. Advances in technology and innovative new machines brought about drastic changes in a short period of time. People born in the mid 1800's would see their homes lit first by candle light, then whale oil & burning fluid, then natural gas and kerosene, and finally by electric. They would also see the transition from horse drawn power to steam engines and then to gasoline powered engines. In their lifetime, the new machines would enable hand made and expensive imported items to be produced quickly and cheaply. Workers became more productive, and therefore earned higher wages. People now had free time, and disposable income. Life was good!
Middle class people had enough money and time to indulge in pastimes previously only enjoyed by the wealthy. As we mentioned in last month's issue, the Aesthetic Movement took hold in the 1870's. People's chosen pastimes reflected this. Everything needed to be decorated! Painting porcelain and furniture was popular. Fancy needlework and elaborate trims were created to adorn everything. Black & white photographs were transformed by color tinting by hand, and scrap booking was all the rage. All of these lost arts are new again. Many people all over the world are now enjoying these pastimes. You may even be one of them. I am.
Check out the products of some Victorian Pastimes!