Scattered Thoughts From A Maryland Cottage

Scattered Thoughts From A Maryland Cottage
The Yin and Yang of Thankfulness

Monday, November 23, 2009

Victorian Hair
A bit of history and Hair Receivers

Crimping, curling, heating, waving, Gibson Girls, Lillian Russell, hot tongs, plaits, Godey’s Lady’s Book, phrenology, rats. crowning glory. Delineator magazine…

Another of my collections has been hair receivers. Dainty, ornate, fragile and a very interesting history and use. Victorian women were always very interested in their appearances and their hair was considered their crowning glory. An article in the Delineator magazine of 1894, described ‘tasteful and careful dressing of tresses as a way to lend charm to a not very beautiful and rather plain face’. Victorians were also swept up in the study of “Phrenology”. A craze that studied the contours of a person’s head and by “reading the bumps” could
Determine good or bad characteristics.

A common fixture on a lady’s dressing table was a hair receiver. The daily brushing of one’s hair was popular because hair wasn’t washed as often as today. Excess hair was saved in a hair receiver and used later to make pin cushions, small pillows and also an item called a “ratt” (also spelled “rat”).

A ratt is a small ball of hair that is stuffed into a sheer hairnet about the size of a potato and sewed shut – it is then inserted into a hairstyle to add volume and fullness. Residual hair was also used to make watch chains, jewelry, mourning brooches, etc.
For more information visit the: Official Victorian Hairwork Society Website

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