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.

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53
votes
2answers
11k views

Why does Japan use the same type of AC power outlet as the US?

Does it have something to do with the US taking part in aiding reconstruction of the country after WWII? I've tried googling around for an answer, but every site I find simply states the outlet style, ...
48
votes
5answers
16k 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 ...
48
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6answers
22k 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?
45
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3answers
5k 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 ...
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? ...
24
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7answers
11k 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 ...
23
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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 ...
22
votes
2answers
19k 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 ...
22
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2answers
10k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
14k 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,...
21
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
20
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2answers
3k 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 ...
17
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4answers
1k 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?
16
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
4k views

What is meaning of 4 letter abbreviations in Roman names like Titus Flavius T. f. T. n. Sabinus?

I am reading about Titus Flavius Sabinus (consul AD 47) and cannot find meaning of T. f. T. n. in his full name as written in Wikipedia, "Titus Flavius T. f. T. n. Sabinus." All I have found is a ...
16
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0answers
424 views

Did men and women feast together in the early medieval East Francia?

I am interested in important feasts of the upper classes (nobility), e.g., Easter or the baptism of important heirs, in the Eastern Frankish kingdom around 900 AD, specifically the Duchy of Saxony. ...
15
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3answers
9k 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
272 views

How exactly were beer/bread made in Ancient Egypt?

I'm writing a novel set in large part in Ancient Egypt and am incorporating many tasks of everyday living into the narrative. The one I'm stuck on is the making of bread and beer (which were ...
14
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1answer
4k 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?
14
votes
1answer
2k 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?
13
votes
1answer
914 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
736 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 ...
13
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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 ...
12
votes
1answer
611 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 ...
12
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4answers
1k 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 ...
11
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3answers
8k 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.
11
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2answers
310 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
419 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
528 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
14k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Life in the middle ages for ordinary people? [closed]

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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
346 views

How did pre-Columbian Americans shear their alpacas?

What tool did they use to separate wool from the animals?
8
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3answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
741 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?
8
votes
2answers
648 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
338 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
562 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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 store....
7
votes
3answers
398 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
696 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
441 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 ...
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?
7
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
7
votes
0answers
936 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
223 views

What is “Mary's Part”?

The poem on this gravestone in RI refers to "Mary's part." What does this phrase mean?
6
votes
1answer
187 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 ...