Categories: History

Crinoline: The Deadly Victorian Fashion Piece That Burned Over 3,000 Women

The things we do for fashion.

Fashion isn’t just about vanity and style. It also defines decades and adds color to history. Today, fashion can be more practical. A lot of people’s style choices are guided by comfort, functionality, and self-expression. Many years ago, however, fashion pieces weren’t as flexible.

During the Victorian era, the crinoline, a large petticoat, was highly fashionable. The original garment was made from stiff horsehair fabric that kept the hoop skirts of the 1800s in position. The horsehair was eventually replaced by stiffened cotton, and later, by the cage crinolines that became the most popular.

The cage crinoline was made from spring steel running horizontally.

Source: MoMu

Vertical tape lines kept the hoops secure, and the circumference ran from a few feet up to about 15 feet. A petticoat was worn over the steel frame, and then a skirt or dress was worn over the petticoat.

Upperclass women first wore the crinoline, until it became so popular that women of all classes started wearing it. Movement was restricted while wearing the crinoline since certain actions and positions could compromise the wearer’s modesty. The width of the crinoline also made it difficult for women to go through doorways, and the layers of clothing made it very hot to wear.

But as much as the crinoline was fashionable, it was also very dangerous.

The fashion piece was highly flammable, and an estimated 3,000 women were killed when their crinolines caught fire. For example, in 1858, a woman in Boston was quickly burned when her skirt caught fire from her fireplace. In February 1863, Margaret Davey, a 14-year-old kitchen maid, died from the severity of her burns when her crinoline caught fire as she reached for a set of spoons. And in Philadelphia, nine ballerinas were killed when one of them brushed a candle at the Continental Theater.

In England, over a two-month period alone, 19 deaths caused by burning crinolines were reported. Female witnesses said they couldn’t provide help for fear of their own skirts catching fire.

The crinolines also posed non-lethal problems.

Women had a hard time boarding trains and other vehicles. Sometimes, the bottom of their skirts became entangled with wagon wheels or got caught by the wind.

The fashion piece went out of style in the late 1800s. Today, it is used for costumes and wedding gowns and is made from more comfortable and non-flammable materials.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts

March 14th Holiday – Pi Day or Something Else?

Table of Contents: Introduction: The Significance of the March 14th Holiday The Mathematical Marvel: Unraveling…

November 1, 2023

Mystery Of Missing Pages

Who made them disappear? What was the reason? Where did they go? Why? Gather round,…

July 26, 2023

Bees Kill Penguins by Stinging Them in the Eyes

Swarm of bees stings the eyes of penguins in Cape town 60 penguins died from…

November 16, 2021

2000 Kilogram Sunfish Caught Off North African Coast

A massive ocean sunfish measuring 2,000 kilograms was caught on North African Coast It is named Mola alexandrini or…

November 16, 2021

Man Embezzles $57K in COVID-19 Relief to Buy Pokemon Cards

A businessman in Georgia utilized the Covid-19 relief to buy a limited edition Charizard Pokemon card He committed…

November 8, 2021

Florida Man Catches and “Recycles” Alligator in Driveway

Man captures an alligator in his neighbor's yard in FloridaHe uses a trash can to…

November 1, 2021

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience.