Victorian era gave us many great inventions that we still use today - bicycles, Morse code, ice cream as we know it, and even the telephone. The era of Queen Victoria's reign, though, had some pretty bizarre happenings too. Such as ladies getting stuck in doorways because of their extra big dress skirts and constantly fainting as a result of very tight corsets. Also, the London fog did exist, and it comprised of nothing else than heavy pollution from coal mines and the city being in regular fires. Victorians were oddly obsessed with Egyptology and makeup, especially lipstick, was compared to witchcraft. To add even more fun to the mix, the social rules and behavior codes were amazingly strict.

With life this pleasant, it's no wonder that nobody was smiling in the creepy pictures taken in the Victorian era. Everybody looks so severe that it seems as if people in the 1800s just didn't have the time, or strength to have fun. But as these rare vintage photos prove, that wasn't always the case.

There are many theories as to why Victorians always look so dour in pictures. Long exposure times made smiling difficult (and by long we mean several hours. Seriously. Ever tried smiling for several hours? It hurts) and the high cost of portraits gave people very little to smile about. Poor dental hygiene made people reluctant to show their teeth (or whatever teeth they had left), and let's not forget that many Victorians simply had it too rough a life to take funny pictures. But as you can see from the vintage photography exemplars below, some still found something to smile about. From gentlemen cross-dressing as fair ladies of the times, to probably the first awkward family photos in history, the few Victorians, who managed to have some fun, are all here. (h/t: whizzpast)

#1 A Victorian Couple Trying Not To Laugh While Getting Their Portraits Done, 1890s

A Victorian Couple Trying Not To Laugh While Getting Their Portraits Done, 1890s

Report

Natalia Sanchez 2 years ago

There was a journalist / comedian called Jorge Ginsburg here in Argentina who looked just like this fellow.

View More Replies...
View more comments

#2 Cakewalk Dance

Cakewalk Dance

Report

Renata Tufano Ho 2 years ago

'Cause this is thriller, thriller night...

View More Replies...
View more comments

#3 A Unique Tea Setting For Two

A Unique Tea Setting For Two

Report

Damian Domski 2 years ago

I’ve heard of a C cup, & a D cup….but a “T cup”??!

View More Replies...
View more comments

#4 A Snow Lady, 1892

A Snow Lady, 1892

The Strand magazine Report

Maria João Barata 2 years ago

Wow, is that a snow statue? Amazing!

View more comments

#5 Unusual Portrait Of A Victorian Lady, 1840

Unusual Portrait Of A Victorian Lady, 1840

Report

Annette Topits 2 years ago

Hahahahahaha!!! A woman after my own heart!

View more comments

#6 Three Fashionable Young Men At Yale, 1883

Three Fashionable Young Men At Yale, 1883

Report

Grace Koesling 2 years ago

Which bathroom did they let them use?

View More Replies...
View more comments

#7 Awkward Family Photo, Victorian Edition

Awkward Family Photo, Victorian Edition

Report

Bitty Moran 2 years ago

That scary room though

View More Replies...
View more comments

#8 Tsar Nicholas II Goofing Around, 1899

Tsar Nicholas II Goofing Around, 1899

statearchive Report

Tereza Skálová 2 years ago

They are playing old men!

View More Replies...
View more comments

#9 Vintage Humor

Vintage Humor

statearchive Report

Heather D'Gallegos 2 years ago

That waist! Yikes!

View More Replies...
View more comments

#10 Piggy Nose

Piggy Nose

Report

Marianne Heck 2 years ago

Nice Selfie at that time

View More Replies...
View more comments