Machines in the Home


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Machines in the Home

Machines in the Home

Rebecca Weaver and Rodney Dale


All the machines we take for granted in our homes started life as inventions, created to make housework easier or quicker. Of course a great many ingenious devices never got past the drawing board. But for those that did, there are often patent drawings, manufacturers' catalogues, blueprints, advertisements, sometimes the machine itself, to show us how scientists and inventors brought their ideas to reality.

Rebecca Weaver and Rodney Dale have amassed a wealth of visual evidence to tell the story of some of the most important inventions - how gas and then electricity revolutionized home life, how stoves and washing machines developed, how new methods of heating water made the modern bathroom a reality, and how appliances such as those marketed by the Hoover and Singer companies helped to save countless hours of drudgery.

Not every device featured here lived up to the makers' promises, and some were glorious failures. But all contributed to the development of the machines that find their place today in the 'ideal home'.

Discoveries and Inventions is a series focussing on areas of everyday life that have been radically changed by technological innovation, drawing on source material from the British Library's wide-ranging collections.

Series editor Rodney Dale has spent a lifetime writing books at all levels on engineering and technology topics.

Rebecco Weaver is a former teacher with a special interest in 18th and 19th century history.