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Questions tagged [everyday-life]

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.

-1
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0answers
116 views

What is the oldest man-made smell? [closed]

What is the oldest man-made smell on record? When was the first spice burned for its aromatic properties?
48
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5answers
15k views

What did babies eat before the advent of modern blenders?

Modern baby foods are commonly made using various strengths of blender, but what was used before then? I assume something like a potato masher, but that would only work for a few foods. So what was ...
4
votes
0answers
222 views

What was the average day like for a 15th century English peasant or agricultural Labourer?

Because I live in a major urban American city of nearly 500,000 (Colorado Springs), I am finding it difficult to wrap my head around the idea of medieval subsistence agriculture. I am particularly ...
16
votes
2answers
4k views

How did people in the desert stay cool in the past?

Putting on layers of clothing, building insulated shelters or simply lighting a fire are some simple yet effective ways of staying warm. Humans have shown they are quite adept at keeping themselves ...
2
votes
0answers
112 views

Making bread at home: daily or weekly

My grandmother used to tell me about the life of field workers in her (and her grandmother's) time, going from the 1950s backwards to the 19th century (in Portugal). This often included baking bread ...
6
votes
1answer
100 views

Do we have a notion of how common private bathing facilities were, in Rome at late Republican times?

For example, there are small private bathtubs in Pompeii, but this is about 150 years later and in a period that practices were changing, as more people became wealthy enough to have such things. My ...
12
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1answer
514 views

How did people say “I have to go to the bathroom” before the bathroom and pipes were common?

I am writing a story in a medieval world of fantasy, and today a little girl is trapped next to her brother in a hole. The girl has to go to the bathroom, but I do not know how to be someone that age ...
1
vote
2answers
346 views

What animals did South East Asians ride in the Middle Ages?

I just got curious, what animals were used by Asians (peasants and rich people) for riding in the Middle Ages? In the west region of the Earth people rode horses, but I guess horses were not common in ...
3
votes
1answer
271 views

What was clothing in ancient Palmyra like?

What is known about what people used to wear in the city of Palmyra during the third century AD? Was it more similar to Roman or Persian fashion of the period?
46
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6answers
18k views

How did people wash dishes before dish detergent?

Using a sponge and dish detergent is a convenient way to clean one's dishes and utensils, but how did people clean their dishes before the invention of dish detergent?
11
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1answer
359 views

Was there self-censorship in private correspondence in the early 19th Century?

I've been reading collections of letters and journals (generally relating to the Napoleonic Wars) published in the first half of the 19th century. Often these contain words that have been partially ...
8
votes
2answers
424 views

Why were Roman dice elongated?

According to this article, Roman dice did not always have the modern cube-shaped form: [I]n contrast with modern dice, they weren’t always exactly cubes. Sometimes they were noticeably a bit ...
4
votes
2answers
109 views

What is the definition, usage, and etymology of “Sandy ware”?

Wikipedia has the category "Sandy ware in the Portable Antiquities Scheme" Is it a kind of pottery? Or a type of coating for pottery? That's what I would understand from this page. What would it have ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Did French people in 19th century not bathe every day?

I am currently watching Ikoku Meiro No Croissant episode 4. In this episode, Yune tried to take a bath, but it didn't work out nicely. So in the next morning, Claudel-san said that: Only rich ...
23
votes
2answers
4k views

What was life like for an adult Victorian chimney sweep?

What was life like for an adult Victorian chimney sweep? I'm looking into my family history at the moment and my great-great-grandfather is listed on an 1881 census as a chimney sweep. I thought this ...
5
votes
1answer
602 views

How did the Faroese heat their houses?

As Faroe Islands' "low temper­atures during the growing season, stormy winter weather, and variable winter temperatures are unfavourable for tree growth", there are hardly any trees on Faroe Islands. ...
4
votes
2answers
536 views

What happened during a Viking Feast?

I am looking for information about Viking feasts. The only information I found, was about their food, what they ate and so on. But are there any sources of information about the typical schedule of a ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Is there any resource to learn interiors of a house for particular classes in 17th Century in Bohemia?

I would like to learn details of the living places for particular classes and professions in Bohemia in 17th Century. (For example a burgher, or carpenter guild master etc.) I try some novels written ...
5
votes
0answers
304 views

Did people at the time think that the founding fathers were religious men? [closed]

People today think for some reason that the founding fathers were religious men, you know "Good-old Christians" and the sort. Of course this isn't exactly true. Sure, they did think a god of some ...
2
votes
0answers
515 views

When did the term “9-to-5” emerge? [closed]

I'm an American. I have heard many pop culture references to a full-time job as a "9-to-5". However, an ordinary full-time job is typically clocked as eight hours a day starting from 8:00 AM and ...
1
vote
1answer
765 views

What percentage of British people during the industrial revolution were rich?

I am doing some research for school and I was wondering what was the percentage of British people during the industrial revolution (The 1760 to 1840 period) were rich? By 'rich' I mean a person that ...
9
votes
2answers
296 views

How did pre-Columbian Americans shear their alpacas?

What tool did they use to separate wool from the animals?
3
votes
0answers
691 views

How did physical exercise (stretching) originate in the Western world?

This is a list of mentions I found with my short googling: The yoga exercise technics were well-known in Asia as a both physical and mental health cure for a long time. According to Wikipedia, ...
3
votes
1answer
442 views

What was the age distribution in the Bronze Age? How do I find out?

What was the age distribution in the Bronze Age? How do I find out? I've seen citations "around" (encyclopedias and wikipedia) that say the life expectancy in the Bronze Age was around 26 yet this ...
4
votes
0answers
390 views

What was church life in England like after the act of supremacy in 1532? Did churchgoers find any change in the sacraments from day one? [closed]

Where did Henry VIII find the priests to administer the services? How were they bound? Could (or did) any priests refuse to follow the new ways? Why were only the monks targeted for dissolution? ...
8
votes
2answers
538 views

How did people count before Fibonacci published Liber Abbaci? [closed]

Counting as we know it, including zero as a number, was brought to the traders and merchants of Europe by Leonardo of Pisa (whom we now know as Fibonacci) by his book "Liber Abbaci" in 1202. This ...
8
votes
1answer
683 views

Before iron was common, what did common people use for door hinges?

Door hinges are very old, but they've usually been made out of iron or bronze. Before metal was widely available and inexpensive, what did common people use for door hinges?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Polite forms of address in Ancient Rome

My Latin dictionary only lists ere for sir, which is how a slave would address his/her master. But how would a lower status Roman address a person of higher status - for instance, a wage-labourer to ...
-2
votes
1answer
368 views

How did Britain rule Sri Lanka? [closed]

How did Britain rule Sri Lanka. Apart from the Great Rebellion, in which the British Empire brutally repressed the Kandy kingdom, there isn't a lot of info on how life was really like under foreign ...
2
votes
0answers
193 views

Any sources on day to day governance in the ancient world? [closed]

EDIT: I've been asked to make this question simpler so here is my best attempt: I'm looking for sources, either primary, secondary, or even good pieces of historical fiction, that deal with the daily ...
10
votes
4answers
872 views

When did people stop translating their names when moving from one country to another?

I was interested in the process of people changing their names from one language to another. Most monarchs have a different given name in different languages. However, this phenomenon also applied to ...
4
votes
1answer
245 views

What was the range of people's social lives like, before the technology for long distance communications developed?

We know a lot about some famous people from letters they have written and received. It seems that a lot more communication with people who were important in their lives was written instead of face-to-...
21
votes
2answers
8k views

What were birthdays like in Medieval times?

I considered putting this question on Worldbuilding SE, but decided it would be better suited here, as it is about history. I am doing some research for a fantasy medieval novel, and I was wondering ...
3
votes
1answer
326 views

Was the grooming ritual of clipping one's toe/fingernails common practice in the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean/Mesopotamia?

In most societies today, keeping one's nails trimmed within a few mms of the top of the nail plate is the grooming standard. Do we have evidence that clipping nails when they reached a certain length ...
7
votes
1answer
413 views

When did chairs with arms and backs develop in Europe? [closed]

There are numerous depictions of early / high medieval Popes, Kings and Bishops sat on thrones, with arms and a back, and the saddles of the high medieval period had a padded back, but every depiction ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Fish/Shark skin sandpaper

It seems to be a well-established fact that sharkskin was used as sandpaper. This includes the use of the skin of rays and dog sharks. My question is: A. how far back does this practice go? B. were ...
21
votes
5answers
12k 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 Americas,...
6
votes
0answers
486 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
1answer
3k 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 ...
23
votes
7answers
10k 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
546 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
2k 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
2answers
260 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 (...
31
votes
3answers
6k 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? ...
9
votes
2answers
13k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
419 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
7k 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 ...
22
votes
2answers
16k views

How did people have access to ice in warm areas before the industrial revolution?

In some cases, before the industrial revolution, nobles and other elites had access to ice in regions where it wasn't naturally available. How could they get it? Was it simply transported in big ...
11
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3answers
7k 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.
9
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...