The New Woman

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The New Woman and Her Bicycle. – There Will Be Several Varieties of Her.

Some interesting Victorian thoughts and speculations about the “new woman” that bicycling and all its implications would bring.

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Gymnacyclidium

That’s quite a velocipede indeed!

Gymnacyclidium

Gymnacyclidium – This sounds like something for which you could be administered a shot to clear it up.  I thought these monstrosities worth looking at for the danger factor if nothing else.  Let’s hope the young lady is wearing adequate undergarments as it seems certain she will be taking a spill or two in the very near future.  I do like the curly cue fender thingy on the front though.

A bit of history about the bicycle: Invented more-or-less as we know it around 1817 with various propulsion systems added from about 1839 through the 1860s when bikes became more like what we know today.  A major step forward occurred in 1888 when Dunlop developed the pneumatic tire, making cycling more comfortable and practical.

The Rover Safety Bicycle 1886.

Marketing to the Caravan Craze: Caravan Case and Contour Books

 Presenting the traveling requisites; a caravan case and road-grade book.

CaravanCaseAdvertisement for a lightweight but implicitly tough (it is sole leather after all) suitcase or light trunk for the traveler.   Road grade books were very handy in the days of principally human and animal power.  If you are cycling cross-country or pulling and immense showman’s van you may choose to avoid some of the worst grades.  Britain was notorious for poor roads for centuries so you don’t want to be stuck in ruts on an eight percent grade at nightfall.  These books were lifesavers.

Marketing to the Caravan Craze: Composting Toilet

 Presenting the MOULE’S PATENT EARTH CLOSET CO., Ld.

Earth ClosetHumanure is not as new of an idea as we are often led to believe.  With the genuine Moules, there are no, bad smells, typhoid OR diphtheria!  That’s quite a bonus.  Well, if it’s good enough for Windsor Castle and Sandringham then it’s good enough for me!

What I find truly fascinating is that we can’t discuss this subject openly.  Certainly wouldn’t have been when and where I grew up.  A close reading of the above handbill does not actually reveal what it is we are talking about here.  Everyone does it, so everyone can figure it out.  Imagine reading something like this as a non-native English speaker.  The beat-around-the-bush lingo would be baffling.  No picture, no real description, just talking about that which cannot be named in polite company; ewww.

If somehow you’re still not sure what we’re talking about here, this should help:

Henry_Moule's_earth_closet,_improved_version_c1875Again… eww.

But seriously, this sanitation unit was probably a huge lifesaver.  Moule began developing the dry-earth system of sanitation after the summer of the “GREAT STINK” in London in 1858.  Oddly enough, a culprit of this mass contamination was the introduction of the flush toilet shortly before.  Overwhelming the ancient sewer systems of London and the surrounding areas.

Adding more water was not the solution to the problem so by 1860 Moule patented what became a widely accepted way to fight disease and water contamination.  Due to it’s efficiency and ease of use the new “Earth Closets” were adopted by hospitals, the British military,  affluent households (including the British monarchy) and throughout British India (a.k.a. the Raj).