M966.144.4.1 | Travel kit

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Travel kit
1850-1900, 19th century
12.8 x 32.5 x 24.1 cm
Gift from Mrs. Leslie Thompson
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Travel kit (1)
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Keys to History

In whatever period, the well-to-do have always appreciated exquisite, fine objects that are likely to increase their comfort on any occasion, especially when travelling.

In the 19th century, travel kits reached an exceptional degree of refinement. They could contain a wide variety of items, from toilet products to pillow cases and comforters, kitchen utensils, cutlery and glasses. In short, everything for extremely "civilized" travel.

The materials that make up this French-made travel kit demonstrate the fine tastes of its owner. The box itself is walnut wood, trimmed with copper and leather. As for the articles it contained, they were, among other things, made of silver, ivory and porcelain.

  • What

    This kit includes 54 very varied articles, from utensils, cups and bottles, to dishes, razors, hairbrushes and toothbrushes. There is even room for a buttonhook, a ruler, a pen and a whetstone.

  • Where

    Steamers favoured the growth of resorts along the shores of the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes. At the same time, the railroad contributed to the expansion into regions that had been unexplored until then.

  • When

    In the 19th century, the members of the well-to-do classes were more and more leaving the polluted cities in the summer to breathe the pure air of nature. In the spirit of the Victorian Era, nature was considered to have great virtues.

  • Who

    In the 19th century, it was assumed that those practicing tourism belonged to a privileged social class.