From Stoves to Juice Squeezers: Technology in the Modern Home, 1869-1999Graduate Seminar Paper (2009)
Abstract“The factory and the household have only one factor in common, but a crucial one. Both must improve organization and curtail waste labor.” So Siegfried Giedion opens the chapter ‘Mechanization Encounters the Household’ in his 1948 seminal text, Mechanization Takes Command. Likening the household to the factory in its ever-present quest for organization and labor efficiency, Giedion places technological advancements at the center of this domestic mechanization, a progression that he identifies as beginning in the 1860s. Technology has played a central role in how writers from the late nineteenth century onwards have envisioned the home. Beginning with Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s The American Woman’s Home from 1869, and ending with Akiko Busch’s Geography of Home from 1999, I will examine various manuals, guidebooks, and other texts on the domestic space to uncover how technology figures into these diverse conceptions of the home. By analyzing how each of these writers represents technology, both in image and text, I will consider the shifting meaning and significance of technology in the home. Whether these authors are championing technological advancements, or ignoring their place in the domestic sphere altogether, it is clear that ideas about the mechanization of the home are anything but stable. Instead, these writings signal an ambivalent and shifting attitude among nineteenth- and twentieth-century authors about the role of domestic technology.
Citation InformationLauren L. Gallow. "From Stoves to Juice Squeezers: Technology in the Modern Home, 1869-1999" Graduate Seminar Paper (2009)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lgallow/10/