7 Unusual Fads from the Victorian Era

This unique period in history was full of fads, some of which seem hard to believe these days.

We all know that most of today’s fads will one day be distant memories. During the 19th century some very unique fads sprang up. These fads reflected a changing world struggling to enter the modern era while still dealing with the vagaries of poor hygiene, inadequate medical care, and unregulated industries. Here are 7 fascinating and unusual fads from the Victorian era.


As with many scientific claims of the Victorian era, phrenology was part entertainment and part scientific theory. This dangerous fad presumed to discern the personality and worth of a person from their head shape– a tool which was at times used for sinister purposes.

Via/ Shutterstock

The Occult

Spiritualism in the Victorian era was not considered at odds with a Christian belief system and so people of many walks of life took to holding séances and using ouija boards in order to communicate with their loved ones on the other side.

Via/ Flickr

Parlor Games

The more dangerous the better! Parlor games were some prime entertainment back in the 19th century. And, without pesky concepts like safety they were a lot more daring than the ones we still play today. Take for example the game of snap-dragon wherein players attempt to snatch goodies from a bowl of flaming brandy!

Via/ Internet Archive

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