Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hair Rat?

I love reading, especially to my daughters. A couple years ago, I read the first four books in the Betsy-Tacy Series to them (when Betsy was in grade school during the turn of the century in Mankato, MN), but this year we're reading the next four books, which is the continuation of Betsy's life in her high school years and beyond.

We're currently reading Betsy Was a Junior.
One of the reasons I love reading historical literature to my children is because of the vocabulary and the history they learn. Even the little incidental things pique their interest, and I find myself stopping periodically to answer their questions. Since we're a homeschool family, I often encourage them to dig deeper and they've written a few reports about what they've learned.

A few nights ago, we read about a hair rat around 1908, which prompted my girls to ask questions and to do some investigating. Needless to say, they have now started collecting their hair. :) I should probably find a hair receiver for them.

I thought it would be fun to share more about hair receivers and hair rats, and what in the world an Edwardian Era woman would do with either!

A hair receiver. This would have sat on a lady's dresser.
As she combed her hair, she would take the pieces
which came out on the brush and place them in the receiver.
Hair was commonly used in making jewelry, mourning
wreaths and hair "rats." A rat would be a clump of hair
that they would pin in place, and then wrap their existing hair
around it to give more volume.
This is a hair rat in the early stages.
This picture came from Gibson Glamour Blog
and was hair collected over a two week
period of time. Once hairsprays were
invented, the hair rat went out of style.
This was the picture of the "Gibson Girl" she
was the epitome of feminine beauty. Her hairstyle
was called a pompadour and would have been
produced with a hair rat to give it height and volume.

Your Turn: Have you ever heard of a hair receiver or hair rat? Do you enjoy the thought of a wad of discarded hair hanging out on your head? ;) 


  1. Never heard of either one! Yuck.

  2. You know, that must be where the expression came from "rat my hair" when we started teasing it. You think?

    1. I hadn't considered it, but I wouldn't be surprised, Gail! :)

  3. My sister has one. She's been adding to it for years now and can now form a very nice up-do. Her regular hair length is a little past her shoulders and not very thick.

  4. Wow! Interesting! I so hope to read these early Betsy-Tacy's to my 6 yo soon! :)


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