A domestic appliance is defined as a large machine used for routine tasks such as cooking, washing laundry, and drying garments. They’re considered as fixtures and part of every home – and are often supplied to tenants in rental properties too. As such we take them for granted, but how did these white goods found previously in commercial operations establish themselves in our homes? Read on to find out more about the history of domestic appliances…
Early references indicate that the dishwasher was invented in America in 1850, and was a wooden machine operated by a wheel that was turned by hand, and splashed water onto the dishes. This was the first patent obtained by Joel Houghton, followed in 1865 by another patent for a device that used a hand crank and gears to spin a rack of dishes through water by L.A. Alexander.
In 1886 Josephine Cochrane invented the first practical dishwasher which was hand-operated and mechanical, and founded a company to manufacture them in 1893. Other companies then produced dishwashers that were powered by steam designed specifically for caterers and restaurants initially. In the 1950’s dishwashers became cheaper, a more useable size, and popular with the general public. By the 1970’s they’d become common place in domestic kitchens, and in the 2010’s manufacturers began to introduce energy conservation features.
Washing Machine History
The earliest washing machine was the wash board invented in 1797, but the first washing machine patent was obtained by James King, an American who used a hand-powered drum in 1851. The rotary washing machine was patented in 1858 by Hamilton Smith, followed by a machine that removed and washed away dirt from clothes in 1874 by William Blackstone from Indiana.
In 1908 the Hurley Machine Company of Chicago, Illinois, introduced the first electric powered washing machine. The Thor was a drum type with a galvanised tub and an electric motor. In 1949 punched card control was invented, and in 1951 began the production of automatic machines. In 1978 the first micro-chip controlled machines were produced, followed by micro controllers in the 1990’s, top loaders in 1994, and a whole range of concepts throughout the 2000’s. Eco indicators were introduced in 2012 capable of predicting customer energy demands.
The first oven to be recorded was in 1490 and was built in France out of tile and brick. In 1735 the Castrol stove, or stew stove was invented by Francois Cuvillies, and was wood-burning, containing the smoke given off by the fire in the oven. In the early 1800’s Count Rumford produced an iron stove that heated multiple pots with temperatures that could be individually adjusted.
Electrical ovens were invented between the 1880’s – 1900’s but weren’t popular until the late 1920’s when electricity technology improved. In the 1940’s Percy Spencer discovered the heating qualities of microwave beams whist he was researching a radar project – the microwave oven was invented and sold commercially later in in the same decade. There are now hundreds of different cooking options available today from wall ovens to gas and electric ranges.
Tumble Dryer Story
In 1800 a hand-cranked clothes dryer was created by Frenchman M. Pochon, and in 1892 George T. Sampson invented the patent for a mechanical clothes dryer. Electrically operated dryers were developed and produced in 1938, with glass windows being introduced in the 1940’s. Today you can opt for ventless, condenser, heat pump, mechanical steam, convectant, solar, and microwave dryers to name but a few! Shorter drying times and lower drying temperatures are always at the forefront of new technology.