Rats, Cats, and Mice ....Oh My!

Northern Light

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#1
No this does not belong in the Four Footed Friends forum. These rats and cats and mice go in your hair! Now before you get too, excited, they are not real, just aids to styling those wonderful hair-dos we see on this site.

If you want your hair to look like any of these girls:

1551146927424.png

www.mimimatthews.com

You are going to need a rat, or a cat, or three!

So where did a nice 19th century girl find a rat? Not in a trap, or at least not in the usual type of trap. She found one in her hairbrush. Yes, every time she brushed her hair , all that hair that came out in the hairbrush was saved in a receptacle known as a hair receiver. These were a part of every dresser set that graced any woman's dressing table.
A hair receiver is a small pot, with a hole in the lid, kept on the dressing table in the Victorian era to store hair removed from brushes and combs.

Here are some examples from Ruby Lane:
1551147735446.png

www.rubylane.com

This one is tres elegante!

1551148062039.png

World Auctions​

You simply rolled the hair around the index finger and then popped it into the receiver. When it was full, you likely had enough to make a rat, depending how big you wanted you rat to be! When your hair is five feet long, it does not take long to fill a jar, right?
 
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Northern Light

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Here are instructions, because I know you are all itching to try! :giggle:
How to make a hair rat using your own hair.

Step 1: Collect your own hair
Take it from your hairbrush or comb. You can also run your fingers through your hair in the shower or when dry to remove strands that fall out easily. But stay away from the stuff that clogs your shower drain! If your hair is long, you may have enough after a couple weeks. If not, try collecting for a couple months. You may wish to conceal your collection from others who are not wise in the ways of hair rats lest they question your sanity.


IMG_1698.jpg
Two months' worth

Step 2: Gently form your ball of hair into an oblong shape
You may need to pull and tease the hair to get it to do this.


Step 3: Roll hair between the palms of your hands until it forms a little hair sausage
Stop occasionally (especially earlier in the process) to ensure that your rat is of an even width along its entire length. If one area is too thin and another too thick, pull and tease to even out the disparity.


IMG_1702.jpg
Rollin' rollin' rollin'!

Step 4: Roll until hair is fairly densely compacted
The three photos below show how the shape of mine changed the more I rolled it. I set it next to my previous, smaller hair rat for comparison.



IMG_1706.jpg




http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-01Mk82ummC4/TwsuVvBo76I/AAAAAAAAAts/NBYzh6byQ1A/s1600/IMG_1706.jpg




IMG_1707.jpg




IMG_1708.jpg



http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7d86dWBNAyA/TwsuU8kH0RI/AAAAAAAAAtg/VXx_suAnKXQ/s1600/IMG_1707.jpg
Your hair rat is now finished and ready to use! From now on, even with regular use, it should require no extra maintenance and will keep its shape. If you think it needs a wash at some point, bathe it in warm water with a drop of shampoo, rinse, gently press the extra water out with a towel, and let air dry.


IMG_1711.jpg

http://www.hausfraujournal.com

According to the May 1863 edition of Godey’s Lady’s Book:

“Perfect scaffoldings of hair are now built on the head— roll upon roll — puff upon puff.”

Godey’s-Lady’s-Book-Clarissa-Coiffure-and-Morny-Headdress-March-1864..jpg

Best of all, the rats are eco-friendly, and match your hair perfectly!
 

LoyaltyOfDogs

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Joined
Aug 8, 2011
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Gettysburg area
#4
Here are instructions, because I know you are all itching to try! :giggle:
How to make a hair rat using your own hair.

Step 1: Collect your own hair
Take it from your hairbrush or comb. You can also run your fingers through your hair in the shower or when dry to remove strands that fall out easily. But stay away from the stuff that clogs your shower drain! If your hair is long, you may have enough after a couple weeks. If not, try collecting for a couple months. You may wish to conceal your collection from others who are not wise in the ways of hair rats lest they question your sanity.


View attachment 294260 Two months' worth

Step 2: Gently form your ball of hair into an oblong shape
You may need to pull and tease the hair to get it to do this.


Step 3: Roll hair between the palms of your hands until it forms a little hair sausage
Stop occasionally (especially earlier in the process) to ensure that your rat is of an even width along its entire length. If one area is too thin and another too thick, pull and tease to even out the disparity.


View attachment 294261 Rollin' rollin' rollin'!

Step 4: Roll until hair is fairly densely compacted
The three photos below show how the shape of mine changed the more I rolled it. I set it next to my previous, smaller hair rat for comparison.



View attachment 294262



http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-01Mk82ummC4/TwsuVvBo76I/AAAAAAAAAts/NBYzh6byQ1A/s1600/IMG_1706.jpg




View attachment 294263



View attachment 294264


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7d86dWBNAyA/TwsuU8kH0RI/AAAAAAAAAtg/VXx_suAnKXQ/s1600/IMG_1707.jpg
Your hair rat is now finished and ready to use! From now on, even with regular use, it should require no extra maintenance and will keep its shape. If you think it needs a wash at some point, bathe it in warm water with a drop of shampoo, rinse, gently press the extra water out with a towel, and let air dry.


View attachment 294265
http://www.hausfraujournal.com

According to the May 1863 edition of Godey’s Lady’s Book:

“Perfect scaffoldings of hair are now built on the head— roll upon roll — puff upon puff.”

View attachment 294266
Best of all, the rats are eco-friendly, and match your hair perfectly!
This was a revelation to me, @Northern Light. Thanks for sharing it! Years ago, as Mom was helping me get ready for some formal high school dance, she was fixing my hair. My hair was long, but lacking any body at all, it lay lank and flat to my head at all times, not even capable of holding a curl. As she combed and twisted and sprayed it repeatedly with hairspray, she said what I really needed was a rat. I seem to recall she described it as a hairpiece that you wear under your hair. I couldn't quite visualize what she was talking about. Now I get it!
 

Northern Light

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This was a revelation to me, @Northern Light. Thanks for sharing it! Years ago, as Mom was helping me get ready for some formal high school dance, she was fixing my hair. My hair was long, but lacking any body at all, it lay lank and flat to my head at all times, not even capable of holding a curl. As she combed and twisted and sprayed it repeatedly with hairspray, she said what I really needed was a rat. I seem to recall she described it as a hairpiece that you wear under your hair. I couldn't quite visualize what she was talking about. Now I get it!
i tried for years to do a Gibson girl kind of thing with my hair, with no success. I later learned that I needed Rats! LOL
 

diane

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#9
Fascinating! Haven't thought about those for decades. In the 60s when the girls were doing beehives and buns, especially a bun with a ponytail sticking out of it, hair rats were used. Some of the ratting was done by backcombing the hair then combing smooth over the rats, and others were done by wrapping the hair around the plastic or mesh rats. They were mostly circles but sometimes were straight. Looked like something you'd scrub a pot with!

1551154750757.png


Used to know a very old lady who made these just like Northern Light mentioned, with her own hair. Since she was quite old, her hair was very thin and these helped fill in - and they were perfect because it was her own hair!
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#10
Mrs. V just filled me in on another thread- it's all brand, new stuff, thank you! AND we have one of those pots, good grief! Been trying to figure that thing out for yearssss. ( really, years ). Hang on, we have 2- a porcelain 2 piece affair and the glass with a silver lid. You just can't make sense of them- I thought maybe a jam pot but why in 2 pieces? Wait until I tell my mother it's a rat catcher. :angel:

Another mystery solved. *sigh* Ghosts, ghoulies, things that go bump in the night keeping me awake at night? Nope. Stuff you can't figure out, that's what does it.
 

Northern Light

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#12
Had to log in to post these- have 12 minutes while the current batch of cupcakes is in.

Can't find the other one, this is my favorite anyway. There's no maker's mark. They must have been fairly common? What's cool is, Mom knows whose it was- it's a Huson's.

View attachment 294317 View attachment 294318 View attachment 294319
That is so cool, JPK! Very pretty! Some times they came in sets, with a container for pins, a sprayer for perfume, and other jars to be on show on the bureau or dressing table. There was a lovely set in the family, but it was broken when someone was having a tizzy fit and hurled her hairbrush across the room (and not me, either)

Here is a lovely one. I am not sure what all the pieces are for, but I guess you could use them for whatever you wanted.
1551195395721.png

Some had vases for flowers. The dish in the centre is likely for rings and other jewellery.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Minnesota
#13
Here are instructions, because I know you are all itching to try! :giggle:
How to make a hair rat using your own hair.

Step 1: Collect your own hair
Take it from your hairbrush or comb. You can also run your fingers through your hair in the shower or when dry to remove strands that fall out easily. But stay away from the stuff that clogs your shower drain! If your hair is long, you may have enough after a couple weeks. If not, try collecting for a couple months. You may wish to conceal your collection from others who are not wise in the ways of hair rats lest they question your sanity.


View attachment 294260 Two months' worth

Step 2: Gently form your ball of hair into an oblong shape
You may need to pull and tease the hair to get it to do this.


Step 3: Roll hair between the palms of your hands until it forms a little hair sausage
Stop occasionally (especially earlier in the process) to ensure that your rat is of an even width along its entire length. If one area is too thin and another too thick, pull and tease to even out the disparity.


View attachment 294261 Rollin' rollin' rollin'!

Step 4: Roll until hair is fairly densely compacted
The three photos below show how the shape of mine changed the more I rolled it. I set it next to my previous, smaller hair rat for comparison.



View attachment 294262



http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-01Mk82ummC4/TwsuVvBo76I/AAAAAAAAAts/NBYzh6byQ1A/s1600/IMG_1706.jpg




View attachment 294263



View attachment 294264


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7d86dWBNAyA/TwsuU8kH0RI/AAAAAAAAAtg/VXx_suAnKXQ/s1600/IMG_1707.jpg
Your hair rat is now finished and ready to use! From now on, even with regular use, it should require no extra maintenance and will keep its shape. If you think it needs a wash at some point, bathe it in warm water with a drop of shampoo, rinse, gently press the extra water out with a towel, and let air dry.


View attachment 294265
http://www.hausfraujournal.com

According to the May 1863 edition of Godey’s Lady’s Book:

“Perfect scaffoldings of hair are now built on the head— roll upon roll — puff upon puff.”

View attachment 294266
Best of all, the rats are eco-friendly, and match your hair perfectly!
I must say those look like cats that have hacked up a fur ball. :bounce:
 

Northern Light

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#16
Apparently, Cats and Rats and Mice was the name of an hairstyle that Margaret Mitchell mentions in Gone With The Wind.

From How We Do Run On blogspot:

"The next day, Scarlett was standing in front of the mirror with a comb in her hand and her mouth full of hairpins, attempting a new coiffure which Maybelle, fresh from a visit to her husband in Richmond, had said was the rage at the Capital. It was called 'Cats, Rats and Mice' and presented many difficulties...However, she was determined to accomplish it, for Rhett was coming to supper and he always noticed and commented upon any innovation of dress or hair."
--Gone with the Wind, Chapter XIII


Scarlett wasn't the only one to be struck by this en-vogue hairstyle. In her first-hand account of the Civil War, Eliza Frances Andrews, a real-life contemporary of our beloved heroine, describes seeing the style for the first time on (in no small irony for GWTW fans) a dashing young widow from Tennessee:


"She is quite handsome, and, having just come from beyond the lines, her beautiful dresses were a revelation to us dowdy Confederates, and made me feel like a plucked peacock. Her hair was arranged in three rolls over the top of the head, on each side of the part, in the style called 'cats, rats, and mice,' on account of the different size of the rolls, the top one being the largest. It was very stylish."
--excerpted from The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865


When I first read this description, I was struck by how similar to Andrews' account (not to mention historically accurate) Margaret Mitchell's description of "Cats, Rats, and Mice" is:​
"The hair was parted in the middle and arranged in three rolls of graduating size on each side of the head, the largest, nearest the part, being the 'cat.'"
--Gone with the Wind, Chapter XIII

While I am not certain if MM read The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, the account was a well-known one, first published in 1908, and Eliza Frances Andrews was a prominent Southern writer in her day. What we do know, though, is that MM herself said she read everything she could find on the Civil War era, so where and whence ever she learned of the "Cats, Rats, and Mice" hairstyle, it's not surprising that it marries up nicely with a period description of it.

http://gwtwscrapbook.blogspot.com/2010/07/beyond-chignon-part-1-civil-war.html#.XHVvfrh7k2w

This site is an interesting collection of GWTW stuff, for any one who is interested.
 



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