50 Victorian Era Facts You Never Knew

1Murder Bottles

Murder Bottles

There were "murder bottles" in the Victorian Era. Many Victorian mothers would use a self-feeding bottle to give their babies milk instead of breastfeeding. These bottles were made of earthenware, glass and were incredibly hard to clean which caused severe bacteria to build up and caused the deaths of thousands of babies.

2. Limping was a fad in Victorian England. Young women admired the genuine limp of Alexandra of Denmark, bride of the Prince of Wales. So, women went around fake limping and dubbed it as the "Alexandra Limp." Even the shopkeepers of the time sold pairs of shoes with one high heel and one low.

3. In the Victorian era, it was a thing to send "Vinegar" or Hate Valentine anonymously to people you disliked. They were often incredibly harsh, and some even suggested the recipient go kill themselves.

4. Snap-Dragon was a game Victorians played around Christmas. Raisins would be put in a shallow bowl filled with brandy, and the brandy would be lit on fire. Then players had to extract the raisins without burning their hands and then eat the brandy-soaked raisins on fire.

5. There was a trend of headless photography in 19th century Britain. The models usually had their heads on a platter or were holding them in their hands. This was made by taking multiple photos and combining the negatives.

6Victorian Mail Delivery

Victorian Mail Delivery

Mail was delivered 12 times a day in Victorian London, with the first delivery starting at 7:30 a.m. and the last one at 7:30 p.m. Most Victorians were highly concerned about "return of post" (requesting an immediate response) and they often complained if a letter didn't arrive in a couple of hours.

7. Brothel candles were candles which burned precisely for 7 minutes and were heavily used during Victorian times. The customer paid the fee, lit the candle, and when the candle burned out, his session was over.

8. During Victorian times, bottles were used to collect tears which had a special stopper that allowed the tears to evaporate. Disappearance of tears from the bottle officially marked the end of the mourning period.

9. During Victorian times, death portraiture became increasingly popular in England. Families used to take one last photo with their dead children before they were buried. Due the long exposure time that the early photographic equipment required, the dead were often seen more sharply than the slightly blurred living, because of their lack of movement.

10. As moustaches flourished during the Victorian era, men found it hard to sip tea without staining their moustaches. Special moustache cups were thus invented and it spread to markets all over the Europe. It had a special ledge inside it, which protected a tea drinker’s mustache from getting dunked in the tea.

11Victorian Female Hysteria

Victorian Female Hysteria

During the Victorian Era, "female hysteria" was a catchall term for many feelings of malaise, including when a woman was horny. Doctors "treated" the ailment by masturbating the women until they reached "hysterical paroxysm," or as we call it today, an orgasm.

12. During the Victorian Era, doctors often prescribed men to grow beards to keep themselves healthy and filter out the coal-heavy London air. This solution though may have actually made their problems worse by trapping pollutants in their beards.

13. Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management was published in 1861. It is an extensive guide to running a household in Victorian Britain. It recommends boiling pasta for an hour and 45 minutes and states that potatoes are "suspicious; a great many are narcotic, and many are deleterious."

14. Victorian era saw many innovative water contraptions which were designed to cure all kinds of ailments and this fad even had its own alt-medicine magazines like the “Water-Cure Journal.” One such innovation was the rocking bathtub, which could be sloshed back and forth to recreate the feeling of the ocean in one’s home.

15. One of the most popular street foods sold during the Victorian English winters were baked potatoes, which were used both as food and as hand warmers. London street vendors alone sold 10 tons of potatoes every day from cans and small metal boxes on four legs which were fueled by charcoal.

16Victorian Invisible Mothers

Victorian Invisible Mothers

During the Victorian Era, photographs required nearly half a minute of exposure. Therefore mothers who wanted a portrait of their children, had to disguise themselves as chairs, couches, and curtains to hold them still.

17. During Victorian times, ice cream was sold in small quantities called a 'penny lick,' wherein a small amount of ice cream was placed onto a licking glass. The customer would then lick clean the glass and return it. It was banned due to concerns about spreading diseases, particularly cholera and tuberculosis, as the glass was not washed between customers.

18. Many Victorian women used to wear utility belts in which they kept all their handy tools. It was called a chatelaine and was the women’s equivalent of a Swiss army knife.

19. London officials during the Victorian era were frantically looking for a solution for what to do with all their dead. That’s when architect Thomas Wilson proposed the Metropolitan Sepulchre. It was supposed to be a 94-story "Death Pyramid." It would have dominated London’s skyline and housed up to 5 million bodies. The project however never materialized for obvious reasons.

20. Tuberculosis was so romanticized during the Victorian era that fashion trends emerged to highlight and emulate the symptoms of the disease. This fashion movement is referred to as "Consumptive Chic."

21Pubic Hair Fetishism

Pubic Hair Fetishism

It was common for 19th-century Victorian men to fashion clippings of their lover's pubic hair into jewelry and wear them as hat ornaments or souvenirs.

22. Kaleidoscopes saw such a craze in Victorian England that people were too distracted and obsessed with them, similar to today's smartphones.

23. A number of girls during the Victorian era claimed to survive without any food or nourishment. Many regarded their supposed abilities as miraculous and supernatural. As they became a curiosity, many rushed to put them on display. One doctors ascribed the phenomenon to fraud and hysteria.

24. Victims of most overdoses in Victorian London were kids. In 1854, 75% of opium overdoses occurred in children under the age of 5. This was due to the fact that children’s medicines of the time often contained alcohol and opiates to ‘soothe’ them. Many included opiates even for seemingly mundane complaints such as colic and wind.

25. ‘Hot Cockles’ was a very popular party game from Medieval to Victorian times, where you would bury your face in a friend's lap and guess who spanked you.