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Author: Alexia MacClain

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.

Early 20th Century Chocolate and the Machines That Made It

October might bring to mind costumes, pumpkins, treats, and candy. But have you ever wondered how all that chocolate is made? What types of machines are used? Let’s travel back to the early 20th Century to learn more about some of those chocolate-making machines.

Vintage Furniture Finds from the Early 20th Century

Before online outlets and a certain Swedish superstore, imagine decorating and furnishing a new home in the early 20th Century. What did your furniture look like? What curtains or window hangings did you choose? How did you communicate with your neighbors? The Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library includes a few catalogs related to these very things.

A Late 19th Century Camping Experience

Do you remember summer camp as a child? Perhaps you went on a camping trip with your family or maybe you camped out in your own backyard. The Trade Literature Collection located at the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives holds a variety of catalogs. Some illustrate camping equipment. Have you ever wondered what it was like to camp over a century ago? This trade catalog might give us an idea.