The Penny Farthing bicycle fad of the 1860’s

Men with Penny Farthing bicycles 6

The Penny Farthing bicycle came after the development of the ‘Hobbyhorse’, and the French ‘Velocipede’ or ‘Boneshaker’, all versions of early bikes. However, the Penny Farthing was the first truly efficient bicycle, consisting of a small rear wheel and large front wheel attached to an iron tubular frame with tires made of rubber.  It was…

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The Poke Bonnet craze of the 1850’s

Dorothy Catherine Draper wearing a bonnet decorated under the brim with pleats and flowers 1840

In the 1850’s, the “poke bonnet” hat reached a zenith in women’s fashion. A poke bonnet is a women’s bonnet (hat) in the shape of a hood, featuring a projecting rim on the front side, which would shade the face of the wearer, and a small crown at the back.

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The Prizefighting or Bare-Knuckle Boxing fad of the 1850’s

The Champion Fight between Heenan and Sayers on the 17th April, 1860

Prize fighting, or pugilism or bare-knuckle boxing John Lawrence Sullivan Prize fighting, or pugilism or bare-knuckle boxing as it is also known as, is one of the oldest known sports. Two-thousand-year-old paintings on the walls of Egyptian tombs depict ancient Sumerians competing in boxing matches. Boxing was an Olympic sport in 688 B.C. In ancient…

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The Board Game Craze of the 1890’s

The Popular Game of Tiddledy Winks 1897

Board games have been played for thousands of years. A board game dated from 3500 B.C. to 4000 B.C., along with its ivory game pieces, was found in a Mesopotamian cemetery. We know that Egyptians played a board game called senet, the forerunner to modern backgammon games, on a board divided into squares with sticks…

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The Hoochie Coochie Dance takes the United States by storm (1890’s)

Little Egypt exotic dancer Chicago World's Fair 1893

In 1893, the United States was introduced to a radical new form of dance. Although the public was initially shocked to see the sensual and titillating movement of the dancer, the Hoochie Coochie (or Hootchie Kootchie) belly dance caught on and became the precursor to the striptease type dances that would arrive generations later.

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Roller Skating fad of the 1880’s

A Young man on roller skates that are pedaled, 191

Skates mounted to wooden rollers had been produced since the 1860’s (in Holland) but several innovative inventions during the late 1870’s and early 1880’s served to fuel the roller-skating fad of the 1880’s.

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The history of Croquet and the croquet fad of the 1870’s

Croquet at Wimbledon 1870

Croquet’s origins The origin of croquet is unknown. Although the game has been played in roughly its present form for about one hundred years, its antecedents extend back many centuries. As long ago as the fourteenth century, peasants in Brittany and Southern France amused themselves playing a game called Paille Maille, in which crude mallets…

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