The Victorian Era within Williamsport was carried to a conspicuous and ostentatious display of wealth as many men prospered during the Lumber Era. Not only were there grand mansions built with exotic woods and stained glass, but the details of life were heightened to an extreme. This was notable in the clothing, for instance. Several of the wedding gowns worn in the County were designed by Charles Worth of Paris with silk, handmade lace, and beading accenting the ensemble.
Dining was worthy of Downtown Abbey, with accoutrements for every detail. The place setting of a guest to an evening meal might include four or five forks, five or six crystal glasses, a plate for each of the courses, and a pair of vases on the table strictly for fresh celery stalks! To begin the meal, a ring holding the crisp damask rolled napkin was placed at each place setting. A napkin ring sometimes matched a woman’s silver pattern with her initials engraved on it or perhaps a figural depiction, such as this delightful bird. Napkin rings were embellished with animals including horses, deer, goats or roosters, cherubs, children at play, or a barrel being pulled atop a wagon. The Lycoming County Historical Society has a number of napkin rings, several of which are on display near the Victorian Parlor. Bon appetit!