Friday, 22 January 2010


Every year around Christmas, we start hearing of the latest 'must have' gadgets. This year there were the usual game consoles and the new games to play on them. There were the state of the art Blackberries and other mobile phones with the Apple iPhone at the top of most people's wish lists. We mustn't forget the various mp3 players or iPods to enable us to listen to music on the move. Then there were the most recent variations of SatNavs to help us know where we are. Finally, a mesmerising choice of computers in a wide range of sizes, many of which are portable.

Technology has leapt forward in the last century and continues to do so at an alarming pace and the list above really only begins to scratch at the surface of what is available.

Join me for a moment in casting a thought back to earlier times and considering what the Victorian equivalent of the Porsche might have been, or the Georgian version of the computer.

Our ancestors in the times prior to electricity, would have coveted the most fashionable pocket watch perhaps, or a telescope to gaze at the heavens. Quill pens would have been sought after since the fountain pen was not invented until 1884. The 1880's also saw the invention of the first camera and so prior to this, artists were in great demand to create paintings and perhaps cameos of loved ones since the daguerrotype images were not very clear.

Sedan chairs and horse-drawn carriages would have been the forerunners of our modern day cars and penny farthing bicycles would have been on many people's Christmas list after 1871 when they came into being.

I find it fascinating to consider the range of Christmas gifts which would have been all the rage back in the 19th century. Snuff boxes, ornamental pipes and tobacco pouches, sewing accessories and hatpins for the ladies, hoop and stick or jack-in-the-boxes for the children.

It is amusing to think that if we were able to leave an iPhone in a Victorian gentleman's Christmas stocking, he would probably consider it to be a very poor shaving mirror!


  1. Tony my computer is working again. What a scare. Oh well my wife has told me I have a daguerrotype attitude. I'm not sure I know what she means

  2. I'm glad Joe's computer is alive and well... I'm sure you are too Tony. :)

    And thankful that we have much better gifts these days. LOL