M9184.108.40.206-2 | Muff Warmer
1880-1910, 19th century or 20th century
12 x 7.1 cm
Purchase from The Old Boot Shop-Antiques
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Muff warmer (1)
Keys to History
Various techniques were devised in the 19th century to ensure the comfort of sleigh passengers.
The muff warmer was a small, watertight earthenware bottle. Once it was filled with hot water, it was slipped into the muff, a fur tube used by ladies to protect their hands from the cold.
This technique was one of the ones used to keep women passengers from getting too cold when going from place to place. While muffs permitted the ladies to keep their hands warm, the men wore fur or wool mittens covered with leather. Everyone covered their heads with wool tuques or fur hats, bundled up in "sleigh robes" or thick wool or fur blankets, and kept their feet warm with foot warmers or straw placed on the floor the sleigh.
If we can believe the information provided by Samuel John McCord, the weather could be very cold in the winter in Montreal. On December 17, 1885, for example, McCord observed a temperature of 1o Fahrenheit, i.e., -17.2o Celsius.
Ladies placed muff warmers inside their muffs to help keep their hands warm.
In winter, in Montreal, the mercury can drop in a few hours by 30o Celsius.
Until the 18th century, muffs were worn by both men and women. However, only women used this accessory in the 19th and 20th centuries.