It's hard not to feel spoiled when considering what Victorian women had to manage with in terms of household appliances. Although they had several appliances to assist with baking, cooking and clothing care, each appliance typically required physical strength or was at least quite time-consuming. Of course, in Victorian times, women were expected to take on most or all household responsibilities, with few opportunities outside the home.
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A hand beater, also known as a Dover beater in Victorian times, was used for cooking and baking. The women in bygone days made cakes, created mayonnaise and whipped eggs or cream with hand beaters. Wooden butter churns consisted of a large wooden base that came with a wooden lid. If you turned the handle, it would make the wooden paddles inside move, which separated the milk from the butterfat. Another type of butter churn was known as the "Daisy" churn and had a glass base with metal paddles to churn butter even faster. Ice cream makers were all hand-cranked.
Food mills were often used in Victorian days to grind various foods and generally function as food processors. Cooking involved the use of copper pots and pans and cast-iron vessels of varying shapes. Mincing machines and coffee grinders were used, and coffee pots were made of aluminium. Common Victorian kitchen appliances included an apple parer/corer/slicer and a hand-cranked ice crusher.
Appliances to Wash and Iron Clothes
During Victorian times, women used a washboard made out of glass and wood to scrub clothes clean. Irons were extremely heavy. Flatirons were solid iron and were heated on a stove or in fireplace coals. Some irons were known as "hot coal irons" because they were made so that you could put hot coals inside the base by lifting a lid. The handle would typically be made of wood and might be decorated. The base of the iron would be made of cast iron or brass.
Some of the largest appliances used in Victorian times were iceboxes and cast-iron stoves. Food and drink that was perishable were kept in the icebox; the ice might be supplied by a commercial ice-storage firm. Families gathered around cast-iron stoves as meals were being prepared. Wood or coal was burnt in the stoves.
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