3D-tour through a worker's kitchen
Here you can see a usual kitchen of a worker family with original furnitures and commodities during the first world war. They dined and lived with over 10 persons in such a small room.
We found a picture of the year 1907 which you can compare to the picture on the left side.
In the following you can see photos of everyday objects from this kitchen and you can read explanation texts. While you work trough next pages think about the differences to the modern living.
The workers owned only easy wooden pieces of furniture. Although up to 10 members of the family and lodgers lived in a working-class flat, but only a small table was used because they worked at different times and ate and slept therefore also at other times. Even beds were shared with up to three persons.
The stove was in the kitchen and was heated up in the morning. It was the only warm place of the flat and formed, therefore, the centre. Partly even members of the family slept there. In winter brick stones were heated up in the stove and laid in beds to warm these
up. The coal for it was provided by the factory as well as the flat and was kept in the cellar. It belonged to the duties of the children to carry the coal up to the kitchen.
Most working class households possessed at that time, had no electricity. Therefore, oil lamps like this were used for the lighting.
The women and older girls were responsible for manual labours. A lot was produced or repaired by themselves.
The flats had got dirty by the carbon dust. Also the bad hygienic conditions showed a danger. This could lead to illnesses and epidemics. The flats included no own toilet but separated jakes beyond the house. This had to be emptied regularly. Besides, it often happened that smaller children fell into the pit and drowned.
Every member of the family owned working clothes as well as Sunday clothes. However, this was easy to grasp and mostly made from rough scratching material. The clothes of the whole family were storaged in a common cupboard.
The clothes of the older children were transmitted to younger brothers and sisters if they had grown out of them.
The families mostly walked barefoot or carried clogs. Only on Sunday more expensive shoes were worn for church. Since the workers mostly had to put back a longer walk to the work, they depended on the firm footwear which was not available to them.
The working-class households did not dispose yet of fluently water and showers. Washstands like this were used to wash
oneself with cold water. Only on Saturday evening the whole family had a bath one after another in a small bathtub to be clean for going to church on Sunday.
The laundry of the family was washed by hand in such tubs. Indeed, it had to be often hung up in the flat, because the carbon dust dirtied the laundry strongly.
In bottling jars like these it was preserved what was grown in own garden, because there were no other possibilities for the preservation. After the harvest the whole family was occupied with reaping and preservation.
In the course of the First World War it came to a serious food shortage. Especially at this time the working-class families depended on own garden and the preserves, because underfeeding threatened them. Generally the workers' children were in the grip of underand malnutrition, because particularly meet was a rarity.
On the postcard the war euphoria ruling in the European states becomes very clear. Moreover, they show that there were many dead people for whom it was an honour to die during the war. So, for example, many children and adolescents ran away from home to follow the example of their fathers and older brothers and to do military service.
This letter is forces' postal service from the front. Since about 81% of the German men being liable for military service were at war so that every family was concerned by the war, letters like that could be found in many households.
During the First World war it was very popular to write diaries, mainly for recording the experience in the war and for coming in terms with them. This makes them nowadays to very important sources of this time.
Falls nicht anders angegeben, alle Bilder bereitgesellt durch das LVR-Industriemuseum