Vintage lovers

Step into the bizarre world of Victorian

Step into the bizarre world of Victorian
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Here’s a fun game we like to play at Vintage Cash Cow — guess what the item is. In this video, Antony Charman, our very own vintage expert, invites you to guess what Victorian stuff he’s got in his hands. This one’s a doozy.

Watch the video below, or read the transcript to play along. Then, stick around, we’ll tell you if you were right. Then we’ll take you on a tour of bizarre Victorian inventions and some ridiculously expensive items.

Victorian Video Transcript

Here are a few things that we like to play games with on an afternoon at Vintage Cash Cow. So we’re going to show you a few items and maybe you’d like to give us a guess at what some of them are.

These are quite different. And these are something I didn’t know about until maybe 10 or 12 years ago. When I first saw them, I didn’t know if they were chopsticks that people used in Australia.

People think they are for eating food. This is a smaller set, this is a bigger set with a lever action like this.

Both are the same, look like chopsticks but work in the opposite direction be nice to know if you knew what they were.

Can you identify these items?

Did you guess what it was? Read on to see if you were right!

You don’t see one of these every day — well not anymore anyway! They aren’t Australian chopsticks, they are… drum roll please… glove stretchers. Though yes, I’ll grant you, they do look like hair clips.

In this article, we’re going to tell you why you might need a glove stretcher, and then we’ll take you on a whistle-stop tour of some of the craziest Victorian inventions and three of the most expensive gloves ever sold.

The uses of the Victorian glove stretcher

Have you ever been out walking in the snow in less-than-sensible shoes? You get home, leave them to dry and the next thing you know, they’ve shrunk a little bit. Well, Victorian lady's gloves did the same thing.

Usually, they were made from kid leather. Although it’s soft, once the gloves have been washed, or if they get wet while you’re out and about, they shrink a little, get wrinkled, and, become uncomfortable. Enter the glove stretcher.

All you had to do was put the stretcher as far into each finger as you could and then squeeze the handles of the stretcher together.

Stretching didn’t just stop at gloves either. Did you know that shoe, boot and sock stretchers were also Victorian inventions? In fact, there are loads of crazy Victorian inventions that didn’t stand the test of time. Next, we’ll show you our five favourite ones.

5 crazy things invented by Victorians

The Victorian era was one of innovation. New discoveries like electricity and steam power fed the imagination of inventors everywhere. It’s still possible to look at some of the patents that were applied for during this time.

While many inventions were intended as practical jokes, like the obligatory collapsing chair, others were meant to be taken seriously.

Here we’re going to show you five of the craziest Victorian inventions that never made it.

The Niagara Wave and Rocking Bath

When sitting still in the bath wasn’t an option there was the wave and rocking bath. At £3 it was an absolute steal, that’s only a full week’s wage for some people.

The Exercise Horse

Before there were exercise bikes there were exercise horses. Need we say more? Up until 1889 bicycles were penny farthings, it was also considered improper for women to ride them; so it’s not surprising that the inventor chose a horse. After 1889 bicycles had wheels of the same size, allowing women to ride them without hitching up their skirts.

Victorian Combination Cutlery

There are loads of combined knives and forks available to buy all over the internet. None of them looks quite like this though! Today’s combination cutlery is far more streamlined.

The Writing Stabiliser

The Victorians were the first to become avid travellers. Ways of getting about included taking a train or carriage. Before good suspension and tarmac roads were a thing these rides would have been bumpy and taken a long time.

It was common for people to write on the move and that’s where this little invention comes in.

Essentially its suspension for writers, allowing you to write without ‘squiggling’ every time your carriage encountered a pothole.

Water Grenades

Water grenades, for putting out fires, when ladies dress, you know, spontaneously combusted?! You threw these grenades at a fire and they burst, putting the fire out. Unfortunately, they didn’t take off. Likely because they contained toxins that were dangerous to the heart, lungs and liver.

The 3 most expensive Victorian gloves in the world

If you’ve got a fancy glove stretcher, you might want some fancy gloves to go with it. There are none so fancy as these.

  • Perhaps unsurprisingly the most expensive glove in the world was once owned by Michael Jackson. The glove sold for $420,000 in 2009.
  • A baseball glove owned by Lou Gehrig, a popular professional baseball player, sold for $387,000 in 1999. It’s thought that this was the glove he wore during his last match, but some dispute this. Either way, it’s a pretty expensive glove.
  • If you have $20,000 spare you could buy these diamond-encrusted boxing gloves. The gloves are 3 inches high and 2.5 inches wide. The black diamonds have a clarity of 35 cttw and the white diamonds have a clarity of 10 cttw. They also contain 70–80g of 10ct gold. The rare diamond-encrusted boxing gloves that are way too small to be worn The rare diamond-encrusted boxing gloves that are way too small to be worn.
We hope you enjoyed our game and our strange trip through the Victorian era. We just threw the gloves in for good measure.
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