April 24, 1852

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Sat 1852

April 24  Mrs Ames returned last night I came

from Boston to night.  Like my things pretty well

have bought me some bronze candelabras

drugget a lot of gentlemans hose &c &c

Got through with my shopping about three

and went to Mr Orrs.  Lucia Harris is

there Mrs Witherell & Ames came to see my

things in the evening

The bronze candleabras that Evelina bought in Boston today were purchased, in all likelihood, for the parlor. They were a formal throwback to the time when candles were used for lighting, which was the period that began when the Pilgrims first arrived and lasted to the early part of the 19th century.  By 1852, however, oil lamps and very soon, kerosene lamps, were becoming standard fare for lighting. They were more economical than candles.

Burning candles, then, was something of a “retro” effort that honored the grace and warmth of the familiar candlestick, and suggested that the homeowner had enough money to burn candles if he so chose. No smudgy little whale oil lamp for the parlor or the dinner table, though oil lamps of varying styles and efficiency might operate in the rest of the house. In the room in which company was entertained, the candleabras would glow, and brag.

Both sisters-in-law came over at the end of the day to see what Evelina had bought, and it’s hard to imagine they were interested in the “gentlemans hose &c.” They came over to check out the new candleabras.

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