Keli Gwyn
‘Way Back Whens’day: Hair Receiver

Women’s hairstyles were often quite elaborate during the Victorian Era.

Often a hairstyle required more hair than a lady possessed. The solution was to make use of hair extensions.

Rich women could afford to buy hairpieces. Those with more modest budgets would carefully save loose strands of their hair pulled from their hairbrushes and create extensions of their own.

Special devices called hair receivers were used to store the rescued hairs.

Hair Receivers

The hair receivers pictured above are on display at the Bernhard Museum in Auburn, California.

Since I’m rather fond of the Victorian Era, I thought it would be fun to find a few treasures from the time.

Although I’ve always worn my hair short, I went in search of a hair receiver. I found a lovely one.

My Hair Receiver 1
This hair receiver above was made in Germany. The antique dealer I bought it from wasn’t sure when it was manufactured, but her best guess is that it’s from the 1800s.

My Hair Receiver 2

A hair receiver is a two-piece container, often made of porcelain.

I had one of my heroines use a hair receiver to save her loose hairs, but my editor asked me to remove that element from my story. Although the practice of saving hairs is historically accurate, she found it unappealing.

I removed the mention of the hair receiver, but I’m curious what you think? If you read a historical romance in which a woman saved her hair in a hair receiver, would it bother you?


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Keli Gwyn
‘Way Back When’sday: Glove Stretcher

What is this unusual looking item from yesteryear?

A fancy pair of tweezers? A hair clip? A clothespin?

Glove Stretcher

It’s a glove stretcher.

Ladies and gentlemen in the Victorian Era weren’t considered properly attired unless they sported a pair of gloves. The best gloves were made of kid, a soft, supple leather. When washed, the gloves shrank. A glove stretcher slipped into the fingers and gently squeezed until it opened remedied the problem.

This glove stretcher I saw at the Bernhard Museum in Auburn, California is a simple wooden one. Those who were well off might have chosen a sterling silver model instead, with the elegant engraving the Victorians fancied.


Have you ever seen a glove stretcher before?

Have you known anyone who used to wear gloves on a regular basis?

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Keli Gwyn
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