Today in the 21st Century, it’s not uncommon for people to ride bicycles to work. Even on these cold winter days, there seems to be at least a few people out on their bikes. But let’s take a look back to see what your bicycle might have looked like in the late 19th Century.
Recently while searching for furniture catalogs in the Trade Literature Collection, I came across something very unexpected. The Smithsonian Institution was mentioned in one of the catalogs.
The big Thanksgiving meal is fast approaching and for many that means a well-dressed table, perhaps with heirloom china. What would your dinner table have looked like for a nice meal or tea over a hundred years ago, maybe back when Great-great Aunt Agnes first started filling her china cabinet? The Trade Literature Collection includes catalogs illustrating dinnerware, glassware, cutlery, and cooking utensils which can give us a glimpse into the past. more »
It’s October and Halloween is just around the corner. So I set out to find something creepy in the Trade Literature Collection. I already knew there are a lot of catalogs for undertakers’ supplies so I decided to start there.
Would it surprise you to know that air mattresses existed in the nineteenth century? That thought never occurred to me until I came across this trade catalog from 1896 advertising the “Perfection” Air Mattress.
September is National Potato Month. Almost all the potatoes grown in the United States are planted in the spring and gathered in the fall. It is the time of year that schools in northern Maine have “harvest break” when students work to dig and sort the season’s spud crop soon after summer vacation. Maine’s custom is one small part of the very long and interwoven agricultural, economic, social, culinary, medical, and ritual more »
What would it look like to engage in a deep sea adventure in the early 20th century? The Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library includes catalogs illustrating diving apparatus and equipment from right around that era.
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