Homemaking in the 18th Century

Homemaking in the 18th Century

While on vacation in Williamsburg, I paid close attention to things the homemaker had to deal with or experience rather on a regular basis. I took these pictures of the days-gone-by-homekeeping.

Homemaking in the 18th Century
(This spread is for one meal)



One of the cooks showed us how she made a popular dish. She took a crusty roll and sliced off the top. She then cracked open an egg into the center of the roll. The then took the “salamander” pictured above” straight from the coals and held it above the roll to cook the egg into the roll. She said you can then top with some sprinkles of juice from an orange and serve with orange slices.

To make it in a modern day kitchen you can simply put the roll with one raw egg in the center and pop it in a toaster oven until the egg is cooked and the roll is toasted.

We plan to try this as it looks delicious and I love anything with fruit too!

When it came to grocery shopping, the women went to the outdoor market twice a week. The vendors/farmers came in to sell their goods in the town square during this time. The grocer was smart and learned how to store goods in his cellar for long periods of time and he could sell groceries to those who needed them in between market days.

Homemaking in the 18th Century

Clothing the Family

If you did not sew, many women had a slave as a seamstress to sew the clothes for her and herHomemaking in the 18th Century family. They used the fabrics that came in from the ship. When you hear that a ship is coming in, you sent your husband right away to get what he can before its all gone.

The average person had about three different clothes.

One of my favorite shops to tour was the Millinery shop. Here are some pictures. I learned a few tips from these women. They would sew four or so horizontal pleats on a child’s dress. The pleats would be let out as the child grew. The dresses were beautiful in just a simple with a berry blue sash.

Homemaking in the 18th Century

There were no distinctions of color or patterns on the fabrics for men, women or boys and girls. I found it amusing to see that they even had leopard spotted fabric back then! I guess my tastes are centuries old! LOL

Homemaking in the 18th Century

If you would like to sew your own Colonial clothing, many of the main pattern makers have one or two dresses to choose from for adult women and children. You can also purchase colonial clothing patterns from Jas Townsend and Son, Inc. and Smoke and Fire Pattern Shop.

Homemaking in the 18th Century

Millinery Shop window displays fans, necklaces, clothes, etc.

Homemaking in the 18th Century

Beautiful boxes keep things clean from the damage that sun and dusk cause. Even today we use these in our homes to store items and also decorate the home. Here is an example of some boxes that I store my scrapbooking supplies in.

Homemaking in the 18th Century

Boxes used in my house and a birdcage

Home Decor

While perusing the 18th century homes I also enjoyed seeing all the birdcages throughout the houses. I have a love of birds, birdcages and birdhouses so I always seem to notice them. Here are some I found in the houses:

Homemaking in the 18th CenturyHomemaking in the 18th CenturyHomemaking in the 18th Century
And a picture of one of my birdcages.
Homemaking in the 18th Century

Curtains were just a beautiful as they are today. It is amazing how curtains can dress a room. These wine colored curtains were in the Palace.

Homemaking in the 18th Century

Being the romantic that I am, I spotted this on a mantel and couldn’t resist taking a picture. My husband wrote me a letter every single day while in Basic Training for the Army. I wish I could say that I was as faithful a letter writer. I did manage a letter every other day. Currently, I have these letters in a shoe box, but I like the idea of tying them in a pretty pink ribbon before putting them in a pretty box. These letters also remind me of my favorite painting which now hangs on our wall in the livingroom. Here is a small version (not my picture- mine has a medium blue matting and cherry wood frame) of the painting in my living room entitled Journey’s End by Samson Pollen:

I love this painting so much because I understand the feelings they are feeling when she welcomes her husband home from war. It is his “journey’s end” in the welcoming arms of his sweetheart.


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Married with 11 children, she feels she’s living the fairy tale life in Germany. She is a writer, speaker, trainer, energy therapist, and mentor. Homeschooling, reading books, herbs and essential oils, antiquing and flea markets, and red lipstick are just a few of her passions.

One comment

  1. Amy says:

    Hi, thank you for explaining a homemakers life. It’s so unfortunate we never learn about the women on the Homefront only about wars in history.

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