The Industrial revolution radically transformed western society, altering household work processes of pre- industrialised daily life. This new socio-technological revolution changed how family households dealt with, clothes, food provision and medical care. In a word, kitchen appliances affected the basic elements of daily life.
With the rise of mass production at the start of the 20th century, many conventionally male tasks were vacated, and were mostly left in the hands of women and domestics servants. New, corporate industries began providing goods and services that households had previously produced themselves. As the progression of modern urbanisation took place, many families started purchasing food from grocery stores, medicine from medical physicians and premade clothes from department stores.
Around the same time, municipalities started implementing water systems. As a result, houses were finally provided with fresh running water and indoor bathrooms. Additionally, electric lights replaced kerosene lamps, while other electronic appliances were gradually appearing on the market. These include electric fans, fridges, vacuum cleaners and washing machines. Automobiles and telephones were also appearing in some families.
These abovementioned developments further expanded during the post-war economic growth spurt. In fact, after the Second World War, household appliance technologies quickly spread through most of the socio-economic layers. The assembly-line manufacturing of household appliances was met with an increasingly popular consumer culture and higher purchasing power of individuals. It was the age of mass consumption of fridges, radio, television and numerous other electronic goods. Before the advent of the refrigerator, households had other methods to keep their food chilled. Icehouses, basements and flowing streams helped to preserve food. Iceboxes, which were basically comprised of insulted boxes with ice, were popular until the 1950’s. In the 50’s, refrigerators started transforming from being luxuries to being complete necessities.
Since the 70s, technological advancements introduced the use of micro-chips and computers. This greatly influenced the massive and rapid expansion of various consumer electronics.
Interestingly, the microwave oven was accidentally discovered as certain by-product of other technological inventions. During the World War II era, two brilliant scientists created the magnetron, a specific type of tube that emits microwaves energy. During the war, the magnetrons were mounted on radar system of to aid in spotting the enemy fighter planes. A few of years later, these scientists discovered that these microwaves were able to cook food. Also the first microwaves was too heavy to lift, and the size of a refrigerator.
At the dawn of the 21st century, new household products like microwaves, CD & MP3 players and personal computers, keep altering everyday life of most households. Recently, the attention of appliance manufacturers is progressively more focused on the environmental impact of their new technologies.
21st century families tend to take their modern kitchen appliances for granted. Very few western society homes are without refrigerators, washing machines, microwaves, and stove ovens. These amazing appliances simplify household chores and fit well into our hectic lifestyles. The history of kitchen appliances reminds us that in times gone by, people had alternative ways of cook and clean. This should make us wonder what future inventions will change the way we live.
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Muun-unit is a hippie, eco-warrior, and nature-loving kind of guy – who enjoys travelling the world and cooking gourmet dishes. He is passionate about everything “green” or eco-friendly, and believes that everyone should do their part in conserving our beautiful environment. Muun-unit wrote this article for an eco-friendly retailor that sells defy fridges.