Sunday, January 27, 2013

27 January 1913 “Mother and Child: Wings and the Child by E. Nesbitt, Maternity Clothes, Nursing & Life and Death Then and Now and Read and Watch “The Railway Children”

motherchildren Today we look at mother and child in 1913.

mooreheadkymotherchildhorse Mother hood certainly had its differences in 1913 compared to today, the SUV filled with TV screens or hand-held computers were a long way off from the mother in 1913.

I wanted to share this adorable and interesting book. It was written by Edith Nesbitt and is entitled: Wings and the Child. E. Nesbitt was an English author and poet, who wrote or collaborated on more than 60 works of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television and are still popular today.

This book, Wings and the Child, is so interesting. It contains cities and little tableaux built from household things. It is also thoughts and considerations on raising children and fostering their imgaination. This was a very new concept at the time, focusing on imagination as an important part of education. This book is well worth a look and you can download it for Free. I will put it in the Library under Children's books Here.

Here is what Nesbitt said of the book herself:

"When this book first came to my mind it came as a history and theory of the building of Magic Cities on tables, with bricks and toys and little things such as a child may find and use. But as I kept the thought by me it grew and changed, as thoughts will do, until at last it took shape as an attempt to contribute something, however small and unworthy, to the science of building a magic city in the soul of a child, a city built of all things pure and fine and beautiful." -- E. Nesbit

And here is an interesting bit from the book that I thought was worth reprinting here. I like how she discusses the ‘new’ availability of mass produced clothes and toys and how they are not in fact boon to imagination. This really struck me as we often discussed this in my 1950s blog as well.


When people's lives were rooted in their houses and their gardens they were also rooted in their other possessions. And these possessions were thoughtfully chosen and carefully tended. You bought furniture to live with, and for your children to live with after you. You became familiar with it—it was adorned with memories, brightened with hopes; it, like your house and your garden, assumed then a warm friendliness of intimate individuality. In those days if you wanted to be smart, you bought a new carpet and curtains: now you "refurnish the drawing-room." If you have to move house, as you often do, it seems cheaper to sell most of your furniture and buy other, than it is to remove it, especially if the moving is caused by a rise of fortune.

I do not attempt to explain it, but there is a certain quality in men who have taken root, who have lived with the same furniture, the same house, the same friends for many years,[35]
[36] which you shall look for in vain in men who have travelled the world over and met hundreds of acquaintances. For you do not know a man by meeting him at an hotel, any more than you know a house by calling at it, or know a garden by walking along its paths. The knowledge of human nature of the man who has taken root may be narrow, but it will be deep. The unrooted man who lives in hotels and changes his familiars with his houses, will have a shallow familiarity with the veneer of acquaintances; he will not have learned to weigh and balance the inner worth of a friend.


In the same way I take it that a constant succession of new clothes is irritating and unsettling, especially to women. It fritters away the attention and exacerbates their natural frivolity. In other days when clothes were expensive, women bought few clothes, but those clothes were meant to last, and they did last. A silk dress often outlived the natural life of its first wearer. The knowledge that the question of dress will not be one to be almost weekly settled tends to calm the nerves and consolidate the character. Clothes are very cheap now—therefore women buy many new dresses, and throw the shoddy things away when, as they soon do, they grow shabby.[37] Men are far more sensible. Every man knows the appeal of an old coat. So long as women are insensible to the appeal of an old gown, they need never hope to be considered, in stability of character, the equals of men.

The passion for ornaments—not ornament—is another of the unsettling factors in an unsettling age. The very existence of the "fancy shop" is not only a menace to, but an attack on the quiet dignity in the home. The hundreds of ugly, twisted, bizarre fancy articles which replace the old few serious "ornaments" are all so many tokens of the spirit of unrest which is born of, and in turn bears, our modern civilisation.

It is not, alas! presently possible for us as a nation to return to that calmer, more dignified state when the lives of men were rooted in their individual possessions, possessions adorned with memories of the past and cherished as legacies to the future. But I wish I could persuade women to buy good gowns and grow fond of them, to buy good chairs and tables, and to refrain from the orgy of the fancy shop. So much of life, of thought, of energy, of temper is taken up with the continual change of dress, house, furniture, ornaments, such a constant twittering of nerves goes on about all these[38] things which do not matter. And the children, seeing their mother's gnat-like restlessness, themselves, in turn, seek change, not of ideas or of adjustments, but of possessions. Consider the acres of rubbish specially designed for children and spread out over the counters of countless toy-shops. Trivial, unsatisfying things, the fruit of a perverse and intense commercial ingenuity: things made to sell, and not to use.

When the child's birthday comes, relations send him presents—give him presents, and his nursery is littered with a fresh array of undesirable imbecilities—to make way for which the last harvest of the same empty husks is thrust aside in the bottom of the toy cupboard. And in a couple of days most of the flimsy stuff is broken, and the child is weary to death of it all. If he has any real toys, he will leave the glittering trash for nurse to put away and go back to those real toys.

When I was a child in the nursery we had—there were three of us—a large rocking horse, a large doll's house (with a wooden box as annexe), a Noah's Ark, dinner and tea things, a great chest of oak bricks, and a pestle and mortar. I cannot remember any other toys that pleased us. Dolls came and went, but[39] they were not toys, they were characters, and now and then something of a clockwork nature strayed our way—to be broken up and disemboweled to meet the mechanical needs of the moment. I remember a desperate hour when I found that the walking doll from Paris had clockwork under her crinoline, and could not be comfortably taken to bed. I had a black-and-white china rabbit who was hard enough, in all conscience, but then he never pretended to be anything but a china rabbit, and I bought him with my own penny at Sandhurst Fair. He slept with me for seven or eight years, and when he was lost, with my play-box and the rest of its loved contents, on the journey from France to England, all the dignity of my thirteen years could not uphold me in that tragedy.

It is a mistake to suppose that children are naturally fond of change. They love what they know. In strange places they suffer violently from home-sickness, even when their loved nurse or mother is with them. They want to get back to the house they know, the toys they know, the books they know. And the loves of children for their toys, especially the ones they take to bed with them, should be scrupulously respected. Children nowadays[40] have insanitary, dusty Teddy Bears. I had a "rag doll," but she was stuffed with hair, and was washed once a fortnight, after which nurse put in her features again with a quill pen, and consoled me for any change in her expression by explaining that she was "growing up." My little son had a soap-stone mouse, and has it still.

The fewer toys a child has the more he will value them; and it is important that a child should value his toys if he is to begin to get out of them their full value. If his choice of objects be limited, he will use his imagination and ingenuity in making the objects available serve the purposes of such plays as he has in hand. Also it is well to remember that the supplementing of a child's own toys by other things, lent for a time, has considerable educational value. The child will learn quite easily that the difference between his and yours is not a difference between the attainable and the unattainable, but between the constant possession and the occasional possession. He will also learn to take care of the things which are lent to him, and, if he sees that you respect his possessions, will respect yours all the more in that some of them are, now and then, for a time and in a sense, his.


The generosity of aunts, uncles, and relations generally should be kindly but firmly turned into useful channels. The purchase of "fancy" things should be sternly discouraged.

With the rocking horse, the bricks, the doll's house, the cart or wheel-barrow, the tea and dinner set, the Noah's Ark and the puzzle maps, the nursery will be rudimentarily equipped. The supplementary equipment can be added as it is needed, not by the sporadic outbursts of unclish extravagance, but by well-considered and slow degrees, and by means in which the child participates. For we must never forget that the child loves, both in imagination and in fact, to create. All his dreams, his innocent pretendings and make-believes, will help his nature to unfold, and his hands in their clumsy efforts will help the dreams, which in turn will help the little hands.

I like how she points out that less is more for children concerning toys and imagination as too, is it for ladies and clothes. Now, speaking of clothes a newer advertised product for women of the early 1900’s was maternity clothes. Though various garments were worn during pregnancy by women, most often women, when showing, went into a ‘lying in’ phase where what she wore mattered little as she was seen by only some family and servants.

lanebryant04 However, in 1904 Lane Bryant, the clothing manufacturer and retailer, advertised the first Maternity clothes. Prior to this, pregnancy was not discussed in fact the word ‘pregnant’ was never said in mixed company. In fact I even recall my own mother saying that her mother told her  ‘a lady doesn’t say ‘pregnant’ but ‘expecting’”.

Prior to this the new clothing store Lane Bryant wasn’t allowed to advertise maternity clothes. In fact clothes for pregnant women were made to give the woman a more slimming appearance so as not to draw attention to the fact that she was expecting. But after 1904 this had changed and so here in 1913 such advertising is more common.1913maternitydress With 1913 fashions, in general, beginning to take a more looser style with a higher waist, maternity clothes are here to stay, though nothing like one would see today of course. Here we see such an ad for the new maternity wear at a cost of  8.50 (Today that would be roughly $430) and these clothes would be more for the upper and middle classes.



nursingshirtwaists And by 1914 we already see the appearance of ready-made nursing ‘waists’. A shirt waist or ‘waist’ were a ladies blouse. And in many ways as of the turn of the century were one of the new manufactured and more affordable mass marketed products for women. Having mainly worn full dresses, the shirtwaist allowed more ease for the wearer and the ability to mix and match with skirts. This also allowed manufacturers to offer clothes at lower prices by simply have more simple shapes and less material. We already see what we see in spades today in that styles begin to be dictated not by what women want but what is less expensive and easier to mass produce. Today’s shorter and more shocking styles are as much about the ‘bottom line’ as they ever were about social commentary on the women’s freedoms or changing social mores.

It’s also of note in this advert that the women are clearly shown actually nursing the child. Not in any shocking way but such an image in an American 1950’s magazine would actually have been considered shocking. Though the general perceived sophistication of those in the 1950’s would have appeared greater than their 1913 counterparts, in fact such a display as a nursing mother would not have been considered ‘appropriate’ in a ladies magazine of the 1950s. We do seem an odd mix, we modern people, of contradictions.

The working classes, as was often the case, hadn’t the money nor time to have the shock and social faux pas to worry about pregnancy. When families often lived in very small proximity or were the children of farmers, the birds and bees and birth were much a daily part of their life. They would have also seen nursing mothers in a much more revealing way than their middle and upper class peers would have imagined. The children of the working classes would have rather opened the eyes of the innocence of the middle and upper classes had they had opportunity to chat; which of course they did not.

A harsh reality that existed for mother and child in 1913 was death. The mortality rates of children were still rather high and mother’s would, more so than today, face often the loss of one child. An interesting connection with breast feeding was the move in the upper classes to artificially feed their children. Up until the Edwardian Age, upper class women often had wet nurses to feed their offspring, thereby still giving them human made nutrition. But, by 1913 it was deemed more fashionable to use the new formulas and to bottle a baby much earlier than their Victorian or earlier counterparts would have even considered. This went on despite such findings such as this:

“A study of breastfeeding patterns in Derbyshire, England between January 1917 and December 1922 illustrates the connection between breastfeeding and infant health outcomes. It was found that most infant deaths occurred in the first few months of life and significantly increased in the first month of artificial feeding. In fact, twenty-two percent of infants died in the first month of life and fifty percent of
all infant deaths occurred in the first three months of life”.

This familiarity with death ran both ways, of course, and the child could often be left mother-less. Death in childbirth was part of many unfortunate children’s lives.

Here we see this illustrated in the 1900 painting by artist Edvard Munch (of the famous ‘the scream’ painting) He lost his mother as a child and this painting depicts that sad even with his little sister trying to block out the reality of their recently passed mother in bed.

munchdeadmothernchildDeath and how burial and grief was dealt with in 1913 would seem very alien today. People often convalesced at home and when passed, rather in sickness, childbirth, or simply from old age, did so at home in their own beds. In many ways, though we have more ways to stave off death today, there is something to be said for passing surrounded by loved ones in your own home. In fact we may laugh today at those in the past not saying Pregnant or trying to hide it from others and children, yet we do something quite similar with children today in dealing with or being aware of death. Certainly children then, of all classes, were far more familiar with death than those of today. Though conversely the brutal fictional killings and torture seen on the big and small screen rather often by children today would certainly scare a child in 1913. The portrayal and in fact the down right celebration of torture and killing in our culture would seem like the worst horror fairy stories coming to light to a child of 1913. Actual death and knowing of passing and even a familiarity with a corpse would and could have been a part of a child in 1913 yet this very natural process would be inconceivable to present to a child of today. But that same child will most likely casually watch shows picturing brutal deaths and even serial killing in their own homes with their parents. Particularly if these children have teen siblings who will not know better than to have such things on in front of younger siblings while both parents are off working or simply distracted by their own forms of social media.

As usual I find good and bad in both the past and the present but I can’t help but wonder if in some ways we have our wires crossed today. We have the ability to keep people more healthy and to live longer, yet the costs become far too high for some. This isn’t even a matter of insurance costs but that cost of the actual medications, procedures, and hospital stays. Perhaps insurance coverage should be only part of the discussion but also include costs and how we deal with the act of healing and where it should take place. But, I digress.

railwaychildren Now, to end on a happier note, here is another free book available by Edith Nesbit, published in serial form in a magazine in 1906. It is entitled The Railway Children and is available to read or download for free and I will put it in the Library under Children’s Books here. It was also made into a wonderful film and here is the first part. The rest can be seen HERE on my channel. Have a lovely day all.


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Friday, January 25, 2013

25 January 1913 “First Sedan Style Car, Electric Cars, the Model T, and William M. Burton Cracks Petroleum for Standard Oil”

 car3 This year, 1913, Hudson car company introduced the first Sedan style cars. That is a car with distinct motor, passenger, and storage areas and looked less and less like a carriage with no horses.

“The Hudson Motor Car Company was started in early 1909 by a group of Detroit businessmen headed by Roy Chapin. Chapin had previously worked with Ransom E. Olds (of Oldsmobile and REO fame) and had decided to produce an automobile that could be sold for under $1,000. Since this group was funded primarily by department store owner Joseph L. Hudson, the Hudson Motor Car Company was born. The first car, the Hudson Twenty was one of the first moderately priced cars in America and was very successful, with over 4000 produced in the first year. The company grew quickly thanks to several innovations like the first “idiot lights” rather than gauges to warn of oil pressure or generator issues. They were also the first to introduce a balanced crankshaft which allowed the Hudson engine to run smoothly at much higher RPM’s than their competitors. This rapid company growth also saw the Hudson price increase and Roy Chapin, realizing that they were straying from the formula that had brought them success, started the Essex Motor company in the late teens as a subsidiary of Hudson to provide a lower price alternative to the Hudson.”

This Hudson would be the last year they offered a 4 cylinder engine and would,starting next year 1914, begin the 6 cylinder. This car was an internal combustion engine as well.

In fact, in 1913 most cars were Electric. Most people actually preferred the electric cars as they were easy to operate (no cranking, and less parts such as no shifting gears) and they did not smell. In many cases they were preferred by ladies as they were thought to be more refined and generally more safe.

Here is Henry Ford and Edison with an electric car from this year, 1913.


Here are a few ads one would see this year in various periodicals.


This interesting article talks about a car going 104 miles, in bad roads then, as well, the did not have smooth interestate paved highways then, on one charge! (You can click on image to enlarge and read)


I had forgot that during my brief time in 1933 I stumbled upon electric cars. I had let it slip from my conscious that we had, indeed, rather reliable electric cars longer than we had gas driven.

And don’t think they were simply low powered compared to the gasoline engine, for their were also heavy duty pulling and carrying trucks as well. Here we see an ad for such an electric truck and that the prices are also going down.


The cost of cars were still such that they were mainly the province of the wealthy but the middle and upper middle classes were more likely to begin to afford them this year. A car could run from around $600 to $3000 depending on the make and model. Adjusted for inflation today that would run you around $14,000 to $70,000. Oddly enough that seems to be similar to car prices today for new cars. Yet, in the 20’s and into the 1950’s car prices were greatly reduced and even working class families in the 1920’s had no problem owning a car.

Henry Ford’s Model T was, however, a more affordable car. And his cars continued to go down in price as the years lead into and past WWI. Here is the assembly line in a Model T plant in 1913.fordassemplyline1913

By 1914, the assembly process for the Model T had been so streamlined it took only 93 minutes to assemble a car. That year Ford produced more cars than all other automakers combined. The Model T was a great commercial success, and by the time Henry made his 10 millionth car, 50 percent of all cars in the world were Fords. It was so successful that Ford did not purchase any advertising between 1917 and 1923; more than 15 million Model Ts were manufactured, reaching a rate of 9,000 to 10,000 cars a day in 1925, or 2 million annually, more than any other model of its day, at a price of just $240. Model T production was finally surpassed by the Volkswagen Beetle on February 17, 1972.

Henry Ford’s approach to auto making was getting right, making a reliable affordable car and sticking with it. However, the other car companies began to offer more color options, different seating and other ‘extras’ while simultaneously building cars to not be as reliable and having more ‘bells an whistles’ than practicality.

1913modelt Ford’s Model T was so well built and even used some innovative technology such as its use of vanadium steel alloy. Though Ford no longer makes parts for the Model T, many private makers still do to this day, as these cars continue to run and run and many owners simply replace parts to keep them on the road. A Model T in 1913 had dropped to $550 from it’s 1909 price of $850. By the 1920’s it had fallen to $260 (adjusted for inflation in the 1920s that would be similar to $3,400. We, unfortunately, have no similarly priced new cars in today’s market.)


mburton Now, concerning gasoline, this year, 1913, on the 7th William Burton, a scientist and vice president of Standard Oil’s Indiana Refinery, patented a process for Cracking petroleum. Prior to this the production of gasoline was very inefficient. Only one fourth of crude oil could be turned into gasoline using the traditional heating method. That made the price too high.

The process he found used both high heat and high pressure which operated at 700–750 °F (371–399 °C) and an absolute pressure of 90 psi (620 kPa)This was not completely well received and one local reporter remarked, “Burton wants to blow the whole state of Indiana into Lake Michigan.”

Here I am only just beginning 1913 and I wonder what lays ahead. I recall in 1933 the similarities in some things became to heavy and insufferable for me to go on. Some of the mistakes and the parallels to last year were so great it literally made me ill and I had to stop. Here I see this discussion of cracking in petroleum and I can’t help but think of today’s discussion of Fracking and Tar sands. How much will the past and present parallel one another. And can we, this year, perhaps learn some things that are in a way a crystal ball to what we may expect to see in our futures. And, further on, if these ‘past prophecies’ prove wrong, will we have the ability or wherewithal to change. Or even, really, the power to do so? I am not sure.

I well continue to look at basic history, politics, and invention this year as well as homemaking to see how far we have come and what improvements there truly are. I am getting rather excited at the prospect and a bit curious to see how greatly 2013 and 1913 may mirror one another.

Until next time, have a lovely day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

22 January 1913 “The New Household Discoveries Book to Share, Functions of Food, Meal Planning and Recipes”

mrscurtisbookSome of you who followed my blog thus far may have seen this book of mine pop up occasionally. It is an old 1909 book of household running and recipes. There are copies I have seen that were updated in 1913 as well. I may order one. This, so far, has not shown up online for free as of yet.

newhouseholddiscoveriesThis book, however, is free. And is available to anyone to read online or to download and keep. I am going to put it in the library and you can download it from the Domestic Concerns section, simply click on that link.

This book was reprinted in 1913 and again in 1917. So it will be one of my main references this year. It has topics on car of the skin and hair with recipes and various other guides for the homemaker of the time.

I found these images and descriptions of the uses of food really interesting and actually rather simple and accurate for even today. More so than the complicated way we are often told of food and the contrary and changing ‘rules’ that come out every few years.

Here is one of the charts with simple break down of food:



The simple rule of Protein as tissue repair, Fats as stored energy and Carbohydrates (sugar and starch) are transferred into fat a sound and easy way to view diet. I am often surprised that many people today do not even know that sugar turns to fat when not used up.

These color charts are easily divided and use an easy to follow color coded key. These images can be enlarged by clicking on them.


These breakdowns on even the separate kernels of the various wheat used in flour and cord are very specific yet have a tangible and easy to reference use to the homemaker even today, I would think. It seems, as we move back well past the 1950’s and beyond 1933, we see homemakers given credit for having enough sense and general knowledge to take in such information and use it as a wise guide to plan meals and prepare for nutrition. Health, at this point, needed to be preventative so diet was more important than medicine which was not available as it is today in every shape and form for every malady both real and some may say contrived for the purpose of selling the medicine in the first place.


This bit on meal planning has a similiar ring when it begins, “No doubt the cost of food is increasing”. We certainly feel such a crunch today. And in fact, had I not started my 1955 blog four years ago and kept a strict weekly food budget and diary of what things cost, I may not even realize today how much food has gone up. And in many cases the quantities in cans, boxes, and bottles have been reduced as well as the price increasing so there is even a greater amount of increase then might be observed by the casual shopper.

And here it goes on to say, which has been my finding as well, that “The efficient housewife plans a WEEKLY rather than a daily menu, and intelligently distributes the money allowed for food among the seven days.” This may seem to simple a solution, but it really needed to keep a proper food budget.

When I go marketing every Friday I have a list for the week. That list is broken down into a 7 day budget. My original 1955 budget was 40 a week. I now find I cannot shop on that amount, do to increases so my budget is now 55. So, I have roughly 7.85 to spend for each of those seven days. When I am in the store I consider that 2/3 of that goes to the protein for dinner and so my meat/fish/protein source is the greatest part of my shopping. I get eggs from my chickens and some supplemental vegetables, this time of year it is cabbage, carrots, kales mostly in my garden under the snow.

It also recommends shopping in season. Even though we live in a world where tomatoes and strawberries are available year round, one can see they are higher priced in our own seasons. So this time of year I could buy a head of cabbage rather cheap or even apples compared to tomatoes and blueberries. And if we are ants and not grasshoppers we can also can and preserve fruit in the bounty of Summer to enjoy in the cold winter days. This also helps the food budget.


Here are some sample menus provided, including a vegetarian one as well. There are quite a few sample menus and all the food suggested include recipes so the book is certainly worth the time to download or bookmark to look online for free.

I may try the carrot timbales for Gussie who is vegetarian and see what she thinks of them.




This sounds like an easy recipe for home-made pretzels. I am going to try this and will post my results. These would be fun to make and cut into bit size and serve with dipping sauces or even on a large salad tossed with fish or meat as a main course.


Now a bit about how I plan to organize the site this year with my current project and past projects as well. I am going to add little visual buttons under the various headings. For example this would fit under Cooking but also under Home Ec (I am going to make that button this week). And so as the year goes by I should hopefully build up the log of my posts this way. I have tried simply using the tags with links in the past but find it still not as effective as I would like it to be. This shall continue to be a learning process in the computer skills as well as ever improving or trying to improve in the skills of the home and hearth.

I hope all have a lovely day.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

19 January 1913 “My new Project Redux and 1913 Fashion”

First off I want to start today by saying that when I began to consider my 1913 posts on Friday I was rather excited. The more I thought about it this week, I realized I would rather retain the focus on one year for the whole of the year. My posts may not be daily but will be at least 3-5 a week.

I will not be entirely immersing myself into 1913 as I need my car and the other restrictions would be too great for me at this time. But I shall be trying many recipes, crafts, sewing, cleaning and other notions from the time. The other wonderful part is that many books of this time and earlier are free of copyright so I can find them online and then of course share them with you by putting them in the library, which I am keeping from the Charm of notions page.

The links on the left will pages that will become the storehouse of my various posts. So we can refer to them again based on their topics. I feel this is the best way to move forward for me, as I feel I may continue to do other years each year and this will eventually build up an easy to follow catalog. I wish I had done this in my 1950’s blogs, but we learn from our past, don’t we?

I am excited to look back exactly 100 years ago and see how things have changed or in some ways, maybe stayed the same, who can see. We shall see what we uncover as the year progresses and I hope you wish to come along for the ride.

I have decided it makes sense to simply make over the blog for this year of 1913 but that way we can all stay where we are comfortable.
I am currently trying to recall how to log into my own Forum! I cannot access it so I cannot make anyone else an administrator and having no luck contacting the company who is hosting it. I will keep you posted about this. Thank you all and I hope you come along for 1913

Well, let’s begin today with something fun: Fashion.


vogue1913 The fashionable silhouette given us here on this 1913 Vogue shows the new slimming woman. The cinched in waist is disappearing and a smoother over all look is appearing.

upperclassphoto2 Of course, those ladies in the upper classes would don the latest styles rather quickly, as they were the trendsetters and the main customers of the Fashions houses of Paris, London, and New York.


These are wonderful examples of how the very artful fashion illustrations of that time looked in actual cloth on actual flesh.

fashionillustration2 The illustrations are romantic and rather decorative in themselves.

fashion14 Though the corset remained it became much more of an undergarment rather than a body shaper. Here we see there is no need to contort the woman’s shape into wasp-waist thin. In some outfits, bulky appears to be the goal. Rather a saving grace if one were allowed such fashion today. It almost became the decoration of the drape and clothes more so than the woman’s body.baggydress

1913coat In this fullness, too, we see the dropped waist making various appearances. Another look that we will see full time come 1920’s.

There was perhaps a looking back at the time as well. If we look to 100 years earlier, 1813, we certain similarities. The empire waist for one. On the left we have 1813 on the right 1913.


There is even a similarity in the hair being worn low on the sides but swept up and back away from the head. And the lower forehead being decorated with beads or bandeau. This will eventually lead to the tight fitting cloche hats of the 1920s.

On the left is 1813 on the right the use of feathers in 1913 and the bandeau and hair also 1913 but looking rather Regency. 

1813headfashion photoheadress


However, it would be wrong to thing that all ladies of all classes looked the same then, any more than all of us look like fashion magazines today. The middle classes in 1913 would have added a few changes here and there but overall would have still kept the lower waist and more Gibson Girl hair of the 1900’s.

Here we see some middle class ladies from 1913 who work in an office (a growing work face is burgeoning for our ladies, though the ladies of the lower classes have always worked). Over all their hair and dress is not much changed from five years earlier. Though the lady on the far right is already wearing a narrow skirt and her shirt is not given the forward blouse that was prevalent in the Edwardian period.


And of course the working classes appear not only 5 years out of date but of another century entirely. This photo of a farming family from 1913 could almost be mid Victorian. In fact their clothes almost look like the styles of the 1940’s, but of course there was not even photography yet. This photo is by famous photographer August Sander who was German. This photo and other’s are at the Tate and this link HERE will take you to more of his photos.


Here catalog outfits, ready made, show the more masculine look that sees to be the opposite of the light and free flowing empire waist look of the high fashion house neo-Regency look of this time. In many ways these suits are simply a female version of a man’s walking suite, or sport clothes. Ladies are now becoming more active in many sports once reserved for men.

fashioncatalog fashionillustration

Though the first World War is often given as the reason for ladies ankles to reappear do to the need for ladies to get around easier to work in munitions and the field, we see that fashion was toying with the idea already.  Though, again, middle class women, particularly older ladies, would most likely have kept their skirts to the floor until after WWI begins.hobbleskirtYet, these shorter ankle bearing clothes were most likely part of the ‘hobble skirt’ which showed more leg but restricted one’s ability to get about. The last gasp of pre World War attempts to show ladies of upper classes hadn’t need to move about too much. Something that forever changed after the War years.

Though I will not be wearing clothes and undergarments of the period as I did in my 1950’s projects, I would like to at least sew up a few skirts or dresses from this year. So, I shall see what I can find for patterns and maybe get my hand on an old treadle sewing machine, just for the fun of it.

I hope all who still read me will be glad that I am returning to the format of focusing on one year. I really feel it will be more interesting and fun overall.

Have a lovely day.

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