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Author: Alexia MacClain

Cementing Your Home Plans in 1909

When it comes to building a new home, there are so many things to consider. Should it be multi-level or one floor? Will it have a basement? Do you want bedrooms on both floors or only on the second floor? What type of building material will be used? The questions might seem endless. If you were building a house in 1909, in particular one made from cement, this catalog of designs might have provided some inspiration.

Book Pockets and Date Guides: The Intricacies of a Paper-Based Library System

Before we had online circulation systems, barcodes on books, and automated due date reminders, libraries used paper-based systems for everyday tasks. This required book cards, book pockets, charging trays, and the “ca-chunk” sound of a library date stamp.

Mid-19th Century Reaction to a Laundry Invention

Today the task of laundry is simple. We load machines with clothes, add laundry detergent and softener, and check settings. But essentially, the modern washing machine and dryer do the job for us. However, in the mid-19th century, long before our modern appliances, it was not so easy. Laundry was time-consuming and labor-intensive, so perhaps this pamphlet describing a “really wonderful invention” sounded intriguing.

Unveiling 1915 Spring Fashion Through Mail Order

Today in the 21st Century, we have several options for shopping. Two options that might immediately come to mind are visiting stores to shop in person or ordering online from home. But one nearly forgotten option is the mail order catalog. With the availability of the internet, we might not receive these as frequently as in the past, but browsing the Trade Literature Collection reveals mail ordering has been around for quite some time.

19th Century Furniture Options for Style and Storage

Every dwelling has its own unique qualities. How do you make your space reflect your personality? The furniture, decorations, and wall hangings all combine to make it feel like home. Let’s flip through the pages of a trade catalog and discover the possibilities of furnishing a home long ago.

The Varied and Artistic Uses of Decorative Tissue Paper

That time of year is upon us. The season when we see lots of gift bags stuffed with brightly colored tissue paper. The simple act of fluffing a piece of tissue paper and placing it in a bag seems to brighten any present. But how about using tissue paper to create art? This trade catalog from over a century ago might spark our creativity.

Kitchen Essentials from Centuries Past

What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? Family gatherings, time with friends, relaxing, traveling, or maybe a delicious meal? Those meals require work, and today we have the luxury of modern kitchen appliances. But imagine the time it took to prepare a meal in the 19th Century. This 1868 trade catalog gives us a small glimpse into possible kitchens of the past.