France

Ferris Wheel: The 1800s Invention and Its Inventor

The Ferris wheel was invented because of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Prior to the Exposition, meetings were held throughout the country and attended by engineers and architects. It was asserted at one of these gatherings that American architects had glorified themselves by the magnificent buildings they had built but that civil engineers had contributed…

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Children of Marie Antoinette: A Brief History of Each

The children of Marie Antoinette included two girls and two boys, the girls being the oldest and youngest. All four children were born in France, welcomed within an eight year period, and well-loved by their parents. However, despite their splendid start and their royal connections all the children of Marie Antoinette and King Louis would…

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Cane Contrivances: Unique Inventions for Users

In the 1700 and 1800s cane contrivances were created that showed “considerable ingenuity.” For instance, Parisians were known to have carried a sword cane for many years and leaden canes were trendy everywhere because they be used as a bludgeon. There were also the popular hollow affairs relied on by smugglers to sneak in expensive…

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Harriet Howard: Mistress to Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III)

Harriet Howard was born in 1823 as Elizabeth Ann Haryett. She was the daughter of a boot maker who made fashionable footwear for the British aristocracy and in addition her grandfather owned the Castle Hotel in Brighton. It was a coastal resort situated on the southern coast of England where people like Jane Austen and…

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Decorative Hair Combs of the 19th Century

Decorative hair combs date to the earliest of times and were created from all sorts of materials. For instance, ancient combs were made from wood, bones, ivory, feathers, and other natural type materials. Sometimes they were “studded” with gems or painted with designs. These early decorative hair combs were also often flat in construction but…

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Château de Rambouillet, the Estate, and its History

The Château de Rambouillet also known in English as the Castle of Rambouillet, is a château in the town of Rambouillet in northern France about 31 miles southwest of Paris. It was originally a fortified manor that dates to 1368. King Francis I died there in 1547 and during the reign of Louis XVIII it…

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Fouquier-Tinville: Purveyor to the Guillotine

Fouquier-Tinville was born Antoine Quentin Fouquier de Tinville and became a French public prosecutor who, because of his zealous prosecutions during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror, earned the nickname “Purveyor to the Guillotine.” Born in Herouël, a village in the Aisne department, he was the son of a seigneurial landowner. He studied…

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Pug Collectibles and Trinkets in the 1700 and 1800s

Pug collectibles and trinkets were plentiful in the 1700 and 1800s because at the time pugs were a popular dog breed having been introduced beginning in the seventeenth century into Europe from China. “Pugs at this time looked somewhat different than today. They had fewer facial wrinkles, longer legs, and clipped ears, a practice that…

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Wigs: Their Wearers and Eighteenth-Century Anecdotes

In the eighteenth century, those who wore wigs almost always powdered them. By the 1780s, young men were moving away from wigs and were powdering their own natural hair and by the 1790s both wigs and hair powder were used primarily by older, more conservative men, such as Voltaire, whom Madame Tussaud made sure had…

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Eye Miniatures: For Lovers of the 18th and 19th centuries

Eye miniatures became a popular item to exchange among lovers and although the fashion began in the late 1700s it reached its zenith around 1803 or 1804. Among some of the earliest pieces produced was one given by the Prince Regent (the future George IV) to his lover and mistress Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert. The gift…

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