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Life in The 1880s
Transcript of Life in The 1880s
The 1880's was an amazing decade of corruption and greed.
It was known for:
Weak and easily forgotten U.S presidents
Rapid economic growth
This period in American History is called "The Gilded Age" because it was a time when the upper-middle class was extravagantly greedy and excessive. However, the 1880's was also a time for great economic growth, respect, and kindness, so this served as a way to distract from the corruption. A gilded facade.
Life in the 1880s
In the late 19th century, 80% of America's population was the working class. To be in the middle class, a person must have had at least one servant. Most of the servants were women since males servants were more expensive to hire (men were paid higher wages). "Service" was a major employer to women in the 1880s.
Servants were usually young unmarried and foreign-born, with the majority having immigrated from Scandinavia, Ireland, and Germany. A small number of African Americans were employed.
The staff : chauffeur, houseman, footman, stable hands, cook, kitchen maid, ladies’ maid, parlor maid, chambermaid, and laundress
In Vogue: Men
Clothing during this time seemed to be a bit more fitted than the previous decades before. Pants became more narrow and had more prints to them. Victorian men would wear the newly introduced cutaway jackets which can be easily recognized within this era.
The heels of shoes were higher
Men wore three piece suits that consisted of a sack coat, a matching waistcoat(vest), and trousers.
The ascot tie (made with satin) was introduced in the 80's and became very fashionable very quickly. This type of necktie is still worn today.
At the the beginning of the 1880s, the skirt and silhouette of a woman changed for the 9th time in that century. The skirts were now more narrow, but there was twist: there was huge party of fabric happening on the woman's derriere.These "parties" were called bustles and were very fashionable in the 1880s. They were worn so that a woman could feel more attractive . These skirts would go out of style in the 1890s because they restricted movement. Fashion had to to keep up with the new technology/inventions such as automobile and bicycles.
For example, A bloomer suit was an outfit created in the 1880s as special clothing for women to wear while riding a bicycle.
Corsets were even more popular during this time, giving women a very unnatural waistline.
If you lived during the 1880s, you would have probably eaten pork chops, sausages, beef stew, and other meaty dishes for dinner.
Tea and Coffee were very popular at this time.
Salt Water Taffy(188?)
The most modern form of transportation was by train and it enabled people to get to their destinations in a shorter amount of time.
In the 1880s, safety bicycles were introduced. They became a "must have" with people all around the world; especially in England and the U.S.
Carriages were still used and were pulled by horses.
The automobile was invented in 1886, but was extremely expensive.
Walking was the cheapest way to get by, but was always considered dangerous because of highwaymen.
In the mid-1880's, department stores began to become more popular and bigger in the United States. Department stores were places where people could purchase furniture, clothing, cosmetics, jewelery, stationery, and sometimes even food. They sold a wide variety of things which is why people were so drawn to them.
Tiffany and Co.( upscale jewelery store) was founded in 1887
R.H Macy & Co. (now known as Macy's) was one of the most successful department stores and was founded in 1858, Cincinnati.
In the 1880's, most of the working class lived in Victorian styled homes that had two bedrooms(sometimes three) and a small garden.
Only the rich people could afford bathrooms. Flushing toilets were considered a luxury, so the working class used chamber pots instead.
Only the upper class lighted their homes with light bulbs, poorer people used gas.
From the information that I have gathered about the 1880s, I can conclude that life was hard and difficult for most of the people. People were poor and couldn't afford things as simple as flushing toilets. Servants worked almost 24 hours each day and women couldn't even vote. Politicians were greedy and there was a significant gap separating the rich and the poor. Women were practically killing themselves for fashion, but at least they had Tiffany's.
youtube---fashion of the 19th century
abc-clio.com "Gilded Age"