The History of “Aprons” in Sparta, Wisconsin

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I have been wearing one for many years ever since I started cooking more and running the Franklin Victorian Bed and Breakfast in Sparta, WI.  You asked what is it… Well it is an “Apron”.

I thought I would share some history with you about the Apron.  The principal use of an apron was to protect the dress underneath because women only had a few dresses.  It was easier to wash more Apron’s then dresses and aprons use less material. I do agree it does protect my shirts!

Other uses it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.  I now use potholders.
It was also used for drying children’s tears, and on occasion used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, Aprons were used to carry eggs, or flowers from the gardens. We now can have any fancy and colorful baskets for these uses.

When company came, aprons were ideal hiding shy kids. When weather was cold, you could be wrapped in an apron to stay warm.  When the weather was hot many wiped perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove it could be used for. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchens in that apron, along with fresh vegetables from the gardens.  After the peas had been shelled, the apron was used to carry out the hulls.

In the Fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from trees. If surprise  company came by to visit and say Hello, it was amazing how fast you could dust with using your apron.

When dinner was ready, you could walk out on the front porch and waive your apron, and the men folk knew it was  time for dinner.

It has be a long time since the apron was invented and it will be a long time for someone to invent something that can replace the “old-time apron” that serves so many purposes.

So, look to your mothers and your grandmothers and see if they still wear an apron and I hope they do.  Aprons come in all sizes, colors, fabrics and you can even have one for everyday.  I was to a craft fair this past winter and aprons were making a come back and I purchased one and it has become my summer favorite.  I find myself doing many of the things that old-fashion aprons were made to do way back in history and Yes they are a wonderful piece.

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