- Deep Sea Mystery:This Week in History - August 17, 2020
- Tips for Publishing Through a Small Publisher - August 7, 2020
- Mother Jones to Speak at Copper Mine Strike:This Week in History - August 3, 2020
Ah, summer. For many of us, it’s our favorite season, and one that in the dead of winter feels like it will never arrive. But what was summer like in the past? If you could take a time machine and travel back 100 or 115 years, what would you see?
Upon arriving in the past, you will notice that many of the activities we enjoy today such as fairs, picnics, outdoor sports, ice cream and amusement parks also are enjoyed.
You will notice a number of differences as well. The air will smell strongly of horse manure. The arrival of the automobile helped alleviate the problem, but there are still many horse-driven vehicles. The smell is one of the reasons why the wealthy leave the city to travel to their summer homes.
The following are some other differences you’ll notice during your time travel adventure.
There are no refrigerators. People have ice boxes to keep food cool. The ice man delivers ice to homes and businesses via a cart.
The ice is nothing like the shredded pieces you can buy in a 21st century grocery store. It is an ice block, measuring approximately 24 inches by 18 inches and removed from the cart using a large hook.
Ice is harvested by ice houses during the winter months, stored in large buildings and transported to populated areas via boat or railroad. It is sold by the pound.
In rural areas, properties may also have an underground room that stays cool enough year round to preserve food and dairy.
During the first half of the 20th century, air conditioning is primarily found in public buildings. Homes, especially the upper floors, can be extremely hot during summer. To solve this problem, many properties have sleeping porches.
The porches are screened in and are roomy enough to accommodate full-sized beds. These are built in the back of the house because they are intended to be seen only by the home’s residents.
In addition to being more comfortable for sleeping, the porches are thought to be more hygienic, providing fresh air to tuberculosis patients and others who are ill.
Apartment dwellers obviously didn’t have porches, but the fire escape makes a good substitute on summer nights.
If you are affluent enough, you can beat the heat by taking a vacation or going to the lake or seashore to go swimming.
During the summer, fashions change. It is common for both men and women to wear white during the warmer months as it is cooler.
It’s the Edwardian era, and women have begun to wear short sleeves and necklines, baring their arms, neck and upper torso. These fashions were among the first to liberate women from constricting clothing.
If you really could time travel, where would you go? Leave a comment below.
Enjoyed reading this post? Join the mailing list and receive updates in your inbox whenever a new post is published. Simply enter your email address in the form on the bottom right of this page.
Updated: 15 August 2018