Questions marked with this tag should concern habits and customs in normal people's lives. This can be limited to some epoch in history and to some region.

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4
votes
1answer
162 views

During the Middle Ages, how many people could fishing feed?

I known fishing was pretty popular in the middle-age. But I don't know how many people could be fed by a single fisher? I'd like to know it mostly for river fishing but I'm also interested by sea ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

What were shoe soles made from in previous ages?

Today, nearly all commercial footwear has a sole made of either rubber or plastic with rubber-like qualities. It's a great material for the job, but it comes from a tree that's native to the ...
5
votes
0answers
112 views

Origins of knife and fork language etiquette

There is an etiquette of placing knife and fork on a plate while resting or after finishing. For example this cheat-sheet (there are a lot of texts and images like this on the web): I found this ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

How common was smoking in first half of the 20th century?

When watching movies that were made in first half of the 20th century, one can see many people are smoking (cigarettes), but it is not they smoke all time long. I refer to the movies, because they ...
4
votes
1answer
255 views

What were common reasons people attended executions in mid 1930s.?

In The Green Mile movie (1999) the main character is a guardian in jail and performs death penalty executions. One can see that on such executions some external people come to watch (as "external" I ...
15
votes
4answers
688 views

What would be accurate illustrations of vikings and viking culture?

Vikings didn't have horned helmets as is often depicted. Where can I find accurate representations how vikings and viking society looked?
2
votes
0answers
262 views

First-hand sources for medieval urban life in central Europe

I am a teacher and I would like to do an exercise with my students concerning the urban life in the Middle Ages. I am looking for original, first-hand sources who describe urban life from the 11th ...
4
votes
1answer
135 views

Cattle handling in the 19th century

In the largest cattle raising countries - Australia and the USA, huge free ranging herds were kept. Nowadays, we use yards and crushes for husbandry activities such as drafting and calf marking ...
3
votes
1answer
292 views

How did people clean their teeth in the past? (Greco-Roman to medieval age)

How did people clean their teeth in the past? How in these days the tooth decay was faced?
6
votes
1answer
279 views

What did 19th century playgrounds look like?

In the beginning of the novel Cold Mountain, a character recollect his childhood at a school house (maybe in the 1840s or 1850s in rural North Carolina) and describes flinging his hat out onto the ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

How did people deal with ice on the roads during the horse-and-buggy era?

Before there were cars, people traveled in a horse-drawn carriage, sometimes over cobble-stone covered roads. Back in those days, was anything done to keep the traveled roads free from ice or snow? ...
4
votes
1answer
773 views

How did people cut their nails in the past?

How did people cut their toe and fingernails before we got nail clippers after the industrial revolution? Would they have had a fair amount of ingrown toenails, especially in the colder regions where ...
4
votes
1answer
239 views

Why do some playing cards have only one eye?

At some point, playing cards graduated from having wildly varying designs to having a standard design. Kings of Hearts are now "suicide kings," because of the sword behind their head, and Jacks of ...
3
votes
1answer
212 views

When did static electricity become a common occurrence?

I was wondering if there are references to static electricity in any classic works. I understand There were many people experimenting with it over the millennia, but was it also a common household ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How rich were carpenters in the Roman province of Iudaea in the 1st century AD?

According to the Biblical account, Jesus was the son of a carpenter, Joseph of Nazareth (Matthew 13,55). Apparently carpenters were not among the wealthy. Be that as it may, how rich could a ...
37
votes
3answers
2k views

What was the typical peasant's diet like in Europe during the High Middle Ages?

I know that wheat, barley, rye, onions, lettuce-like plants and turnips were common but how common were other things like meat or cheese? I've heard the "plowman's lunch" was a concoction of the dairy ...
3
votes
2answers
749 views

How regularly did the Romans bathe?

I guess the answer may be different for rich people who had their own baths and others who visited the public baths.
12
votes
1answer
404 views

When did nose-picking became socially condemned?

Nose-picking is a common and well known socially condemmed habit. However, this condemnation seems to be a purely social behavior with very little grounds on medical risks; it is even done by other ...
6
votes
1answer
464 views

How did IKEA design evolve?

How did IKEA develop the characteristic style? I know there is a catalog each year, but I'm looking more for a summary and overview of the design evolution. I understand it's not as significant as, ...
7
votes
1answer
141 views

Who invented modern bookends? (both model T and model L)

In ancient times the bookends were made from very heavy materials to sustain the weight of the books, while the modern ones use a smarter technique: while they are light, they are shaped so that they ...
3
votes
1answer
265 views

Invention of Planned Obsolescence

Excluding style obsolescence or any type of advertising, when was the first form of planned obsolescence concerning shortening the life of a product by making it break sooner or forcing a consumer to ...
6
votes
1answer
220 views

Why some amphoras are pointwise in the bottom?

Most liquid containers, such as barrels, are flat in the bottom and thus easy to store and pile up. However, some ancient amphoras were pointwise in the bottom arguably making them less easy to ...
4
votes
1answer
472 views

Korean Traditional Clothes for each Dynasty

I searched everywhere but couldn't find a site that provide detailed clothes worn by the people of Korea in ancient time. I would like to search the changes in fashion and costume over time. Here are ...
3
votes
1answer
256 views

What is the origin/history of the practice of standing up if an elder or respectable is approaching?

It is usually witnessed that whenever someone respectable (parents), of a higher status (king/president) or an elderly approaches e.g. enters the room, people tend to stand-up as a sign of respect. ...
6
votes
3answers
204 views

What containers were used for food prior to the industrial era?

Today, when you go shopping, most of the food are kept in plastic or paper containers (or tin can). What types of containers were used to sell, transport and keep the food before plastic ? and ...
6
votes
1answer
184 views

What is “Mary's Part”?

The poem on this gravestone in RI refers to "Mary's part." What does this phrase mean?
19
votes
2answers
667 views

What would a Norseman in the early 11th century have worn as daily clothing?

Most of the Norse clothing we know about seems to come from burials. However, in many cultures, bodies dressed for burial are wearing either "good" clothes, or special clothes for the dead. Is there ...
8
votes
1answer
158 views

Where can I find detailed accounts of cash-less payment in medevial and ancient times?

In his book "Debt: The first 5000 Years" David Graeber writes that during most of the middle ages and antiquity coins were seldom used in day-to-day dealings, at least of the more rural population. He ...
7
votes
1answer
905 views

Specialization of labor among the ancient Maya

How specialized were laborers among the ancient Maya? Would the same person dig irrigation ditches and plant corn? Would the same person go into battle and hunt in the forest? Would jade carvers go ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Who started/popularized the department store perfume gauntlet?

Anybody with functional olfactory senses who has been to a department store knows that nearly every one places the perfume counter right at the front of the store, where every patron is forced to walk ...
9
votes
1answer
299 views

When did retailers stop wrapping purchases in paper and twine?

Listening to stories from relatives, it sounds like it was a near-universal practice (in the US, before the 1970s) to wrap retail purchases with brown paper and twine. Searching for information about ...
6
votes
2answers
710 views

Historical and biblical names for bottles of wine

According to sources like the linked sizes list at Wikipedia entry about bottles of champagne and other kinds of wine, various sizes of bottles took their names after ancient Jewish kings and other ...
2
votes
1answer
308 views

Where did the masquerade ball come from and what was its original concept?

I mean a kind of party which guests and hosts hide their faces behind different masks or/and wear odd clothes. Surely there is no certain idea about main concept with me unless perhaps it has roots in ...
8
votes
4answers
952 views

Life in the middle ages for ordinary people?

From studying medieval history and reading related literature, I know enough about day to day life in the sense of life expectancy, work, pleasure, etc. My question is, given that human nature is ...
5
votes
0answers
524 views

Why has bidet use not spread to the northern countries of Europe? [closed]

As wikipedia states, the bidet is quite common in southern European countries (in Italy for example, it is found in 95% of households), in the Middle East and in East Asia. Conversely, bidets are ...
12
votes
1answer
705 views

How many hours per day did a Sumerian farmer sleep?

I wonder about the life-styles of the inhabitants of ancient civilizations. As a particular case, if we consider the era of Sumer, what are the significant diversities compared to rural life today?
10
votes
2answers
189 views

Buying/Renting/Leasing houses during history?

I was wondering about something. After the last financial crisis, many people have talked about not buying a house, but renting one, and they made it sound like a "new" idea. So what was it like ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

How large were Bronze Age settlements?

How large was the typical settlement in Europe during the Bronze Age? Did most people live in isolated farmsteads or something more like small villages?
15
votes
2answers
1k views

How was life in the Iron Age different from life in the Middle Ages?

Let's say you were from the Middle Ages, 1200s England or Germany, and you got thrown back in time to the Iron Age. It's still the same place, but it's 400 BC. Apart from the language, what would ...
3
votes
0answers
87 views

Farmstead Inventory

I'm looking for an inventory of the principal goods, buildings, livestock, and workers of a European farmstead; preferably before 1000 AD. I know I've seen a primary source document like this before. ...
10
votes
1answer
222 views

When did European building interiors partitioned into rooms become commonplace?

My visit to Versailles many years ago confronted me with an alien concept of interior architecture: everything was a large hall, including the bedchambers, and getting to another part of the palace ...
3
votes
1answer
239 views

Sources on common people history [closed]

Most of history i have heard has been about states, monarchies, grand buildings, etc. I'd like to get a picture of the general population throughout history. For example: where and how the general ...
4
votes
2answers
350 views

Recommended Reading 19th Century US Settler Daily Life?

At the time of this writing, I am riding in the comfort of an air conditioned minivan, traveling through the deserts of Arizona and California along I-10. I began to think about 19th century settlers ...