Museums in a Box – Teacher’s Notes Homes from the Past Contents Flat Iron Chamber Pot Soap Candle Stick Holder Carpet Beater Brush Dolly Peg Hot Water Bottle/Brick Washboard Wash Tub Sugar Pincers Biscuit Cutters Whisk Stone Jam Pot Museums in a Box – Teacher’s Notes Homes from the Past Flat Iron The flat or sad (meaning solid) iron was the most common type of iron. This had to be heated on the fire or range. Sometimes irons were placed on trivets whilst heating up. Two irons were often used so one could be heating on the fire whilst the other was being used. This meant that you could iron continually without waiting for the iron to heat up each time it cooled down. You could test the heat of the iron by spitting on it. Chamber Pot Few houses had an indoor toilet until well into the twentieth century. Chamber pots were used in the middle of the night so people didn’t have to go outside in the cold and dark. Chamber pots were kept under the bed and emptied in the morning. Chamber pots were usually ceramic and decorated although servants and children had plain pots. Carbolic Soap A block of carbolic soap was an essential item in every Victorian household. It was used for everything from washing yourself to washing the laundry. Carbolic soap was usually green or orange and was a rough soap containing the disinfectant phenol or carbolic acid. Candle Stick Holder Most Victorian homes did not have electric or gas lighting so candles were their main form of lighting. This candlestick holder has a small handle for ease of carrying around. Museums in a Box – Teacher’s Notes Homes from the Past Carpet Beater Carpet beaters were made from bamboo or twisted wire. They were cheap and easy to use but required lots of muscle power. Carpets weren’t fitted like modern ones but were more like large rugs. To clean these they were taken outside, hung over the clothes line and hit repeatedly with the beater to ‘beat’ the dust out of the carpet, hence, the name ‘beater’. The surrounding area and the person became covered in dust. Brush As the Victorians didn’t have vacuum cleaners, muscle-power was needed for most chores. Housemaids in large houses had different shaped brushes for different chores. This brush would have been used for cleaning boots but ones with long handles were used to clean curtain pelmets. Dolly Clothes Pegs Dolly pegs were used to hang washing on the line outside. Dolly pegs were made from a single piece of wood. Pegs were larger and stronger than the plastic ones we use today because Victorian clothes and sheets were made of heavier cotton and linen. Hot Water Bottle/Brick Most Victorian houses did not have central heating. On cold winter nights a stone hot water bottle or brick was filled with hot water and put in the bed to warm it. Washboard Clothes were rubbed up and down the washboard’s corrugated surface with soap. This helped lather the soap and clean the clothes. Washing Dolly Tub Zinc dolly tubs were used by many Victorian families to wash their clothes in. To fill these tubs, water had to be heated on the fire or range. Earlier wash tubs were made of wood. Museums in a Box – Teacher’s Notes Homes from the Past Sugar Breakers In the nineteenth century sugar was produced in ‘loafs’. This implement would have been used to break the sugar into smaller pieces. The strip at the end holds it closed when not in use. Biscuit Cutters These were used for cutting biscuits to size when baking. Note they are made from metal unlike modern ones which are usually made of plastic. Whisk As the Victorians had no electricity all jobs in the kitchen had to be done by hand. This whisk has been developed to make whisking a little easier. Stone Jam Pot Jam would have been homemade in most Victorian homes and would have been a treat. It would have been stored in pots such as the one pictured and covered.