10 Ways People In The 1800s Kept Warm In The Depths Of Winter

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Image: UNC Libraries Commons

Staying warm in the 21st century is arguably an easier affair than it’s ever been before. After all, houses these days come fully equipped with central heating systems, and we can often get utilities such as hot water and electricity at the turn of a faucet or the flick of a switch. But in the 1800s it was a different story. Staying snug was a daily struggle, in fact, so the following methods were just some of the ingenious ways in which 19th-century folks kept warm in the depths of winter.

Image: Francesc Masriera

10. They kept their hands warm

One way folks back in the 19th century kept warm was by paying attention to their hands. For some, a fur muff was just the thing to stop their hands from turning into blocks of ice. The muff was a kind of cylinder into which people placed their hands. Of course, the drawback was that once people had their muffs on, there wasn’t a great deal they could actually do with their hands. Twiddling their thumbs would have been about the limit.

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Image: Market Lavington Museum

And then there was the high-tech version of the hand warmer. This was basically a container made of ceramic or metal – silver if you were wealthy enough – with some slow-burning charcoal inside. Alternatively, they might have been filled with boiling water. It’s difficult to say which was more dangerous: carrying around a container filled with burning charcoal or one filled with boiling water.

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