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Woman removing cover from her electric washing machine

Arizona woman removing the cover from
her electric washing machine, 1940.

Prints & Photographs Catalog, Library of Congress

History of Household Technology

Tracer Bullet 03-4


As a rule, when we consider the effects of technology upon society we think of the golden spike, Kitty Hawk, UNIVAC, the horseless carriage, the Bomb -- developments somewhat removed from our personal knowledge and experience. But during the 19th and early 20th century important interactions between technology and society took place closer to home, indeed, in the home, and this technological revolution, if you will, transformed our daily lives in myriad ways. In chronicling the development and evolution of our home -- the way we clean, furnish, repair, and launder, and acquire, prepare, cook, and preserve food, we have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate human ingenuity, invention, and the leisure that time- and labor-saving devices have afforded us.

Social historians tell us that the artifacts of a culture offer the most revealing evidence about what a given society was like and how its people lived. The implements, utensils, and devices people used in their homes have been a major source of such evidence. Today's children, accustomed to microwave ovens, perma-press, fish fingers, TV snacks, and built-in vacuum systems, are truly fascinated by the artifacts of their culture -- the hows and whys -- and it prompts the older generations to reminisce on the changes that they have experienced and how technology, or its absence, has affected their lives and the lives of their descendants

The Library's collections can illuminate the hows and whys of domestic technology because of their depth and breadth. These are shelves of old trade catalogs, books and a plethora of 19th-century magazines reporting invention in all manner of household technology. Old texts report new household products and chronicle the history of housewares, appliances and household furnishings. These also describe new methods of cooking, sewing, cleaning, and organizing the house for convenience and efficiency. Collections of women’s diaries depict their lives and recount their everyday struggles to keep their families fed and clothed, even while crossing the prairie. Manuals contain receipts for making soap, poultices, herbal remedies, candles, or instructions for spinning wool. By studying these diaries, reminiscences, recipes, and advertisements of the time, we are able to discover the homemaking skills needed and the challenges faced by our feminine forebears.

This compilation, an update of TB 98-01, lists sources useful in examining the history of household technology, primarily in the United States during the last half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. Not intended to be a comprehensive bibliography, this guide is designed -- as the name of the series implies -- to put the reader "on target."



Andrews, William D., and Deborah C. Andrews. Technology and the housewife in nineteenth-century America. Women's studies, v. 2, no. 3, 1974: 309-328.
   HQ1101.W77 and Pamphlet box <SciRR>

Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. The "industrial revolution" in the home: household technology and social change in the 20th century. Technology and culture, v. 17, Jan. 1976: 1-23.
   T1.T27 and Pamphlet box <SciRR>

Glazer-Malbin, Norma. Housework. Signs, v. 1, summer 1976: 905-922.
   HQ1101.S5 and Pamphlet box <SciRR>



Subject headings used by the Library of Congress, under which books on the history of household technology can be located in most card, book, and online catalogs include the following:

Highly Relevant

          See also individual items, e.g., "Irons (pressing)," "Vacuum cleaners," "Stoves"





More General




American home life, 1880-1930: a social history of spaces and services. Edited by Jessica H. Foy and Thomas J. Schlereth. Knoxville, University of Tennessee Press, c1992. 284 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   E168.A513 1992

Cohen, Daniel. The last hundred years, household technology. New York, M. Evans, c1982. 184 p.
   Bibliography: p. 177-178.
   TX298.C58 1982

Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. More work for mother: the ironies of household technology from the open hearth to the microwave. New York, Basic Books, c1983. 257 p.
   "Bibliographic essays:" p. 220-233.
   TX23.C64 1983 <SciRR>
   "Notes:" p. 234-249.

Du Vall, Nell. Domestic technology: a chronology of developments. Boston, G. K. Hall, c1988. 535 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   TX15.D8 1988 <SciRR>

Hardyment, Christina. From mangle to microwave: the mechanization of household work. Cambridge, Eng., Polity Press; Oxford, New York, Basil Blackwell, 1988. 220 p.
   Bibliography: p. 203-209.
   TX298.H37 1988

Lifshey, Earl. The housewares story: a history of the American housewares industry. Chicago, National Housewares Manufacturers Association, 1973. 384 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.

Seymour, John. Forgotten household crafts. lst American ed. New York, Knopf, 1987. 192 p.
   TX15.S49 1987

Strasser, Susan. Never done: a history of American housework. New York, Pantheon Books, c1982. 365 p.
   TX23.S77 1982 <SciRR>
   "Source notes": p. 313-355.

Yarwood, Doreen. Five hundred years of technology in the home. London, B. T. Batsford, 1983. 184 p.
   Bibliography: p. 176-177.
   TX298.Y38 1983



Buehr, Walter. Home sweet home in the nineteenth century. New York, Crowell, 1965. 159 p.

An Encyclopaedia of the history of technology. Edited by Ian McNeil. London, New York, Routledge, 1990. 1062 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   T15.E53 1989 <SciRR>
   See especially "The domestic interior: technology and the home": p. 902-948.

Garrett, Elisabeth Donaghy. At home: the American family, 1750-1870. New York, H. N. Abrams, 1990. 304 p.
   Bibliography: p. 288-297.
   TX23.G37 1989

Hechtlinger, Adelaide. The seasonal hearth: the woman at home in early America. Woodstock, N.Y., Overlook Press, 1986, c1977. 256 p.
   TX23.H4 1986

Making the American home: middle-class women & domestic material culture, 1840-1940. Edited by Marilyn Ferris Motz and Pat Browne. Bowling Green, Ohio, Bowling Green State University Popular Press, c1988. 212 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   TX23.M35 1988

Matranga, Victoria Kasuba, and Karen Kohn. America at home: a celebration of twentieth-century housewares. Rosemont, Ill., National Housewares Manufacturers Association, 1997. 208 p.
   Bibliography: p. 196-197.
   X298.M38 1997

Morse, Sidney Levi. Household discoveries. Rev. ed. Petersburg, N.Y., etc., Success Company's Branch Offices, c1913. 1173 p.
   TX145.M82 1913

Plante, Ellen M. Women at home in Victorian America: a social history. New York, Facts on File, c1997. 242 p.
   Bibliography: p. 231-237.
   HQ1418.P53 1997

Talbot, George. At home, domestic life in the post-centennial era, 1876-1920. An exhibition, spring 1976 through fall 1977 at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Prepared with the assistance of the National Endowment for the Arts. Madison, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, c1976. 88 p.



Beecher, Catharine Esther. A treatise on domestic economy. New York, Source Book Press 1970, c1841. 441 p.
   TX145.B46 1970
   Reprint of the ed. published by Marsh, Capen, Lyon, and Webb, Boston.

Child, Lydia Maria Francis. The frugal housewife: dedicated to those who are not ashamed of economy. 8th ed., corr and arr. by the author, to which are added, hints to persons of moderate fortune, some valuable receipts, etc., etc. London, T. Tegg, 1832. 176 p.
   TX154.C47 1832 <Rare Bk Coll>
   Published also under title, The American frugal housewife.

Davidson, Caroline. A woman's work is never done: a history of housework in the British Isles, 1650-1950. London, Chatto & Windus, 1982. 250 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   TX57.D38 1982

Grier, Katherine C. Culture & comfort: parlor making and middle-class identity, 1850-1930. Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997. 267 p.
   Bibliography: p. 223-257.
   E166.G83 1997
   Revised and slightly condensed version of Culture & comfort. Rochester, N.Y., Strong Museum, c1988.

Laughlin, Clara E., ed. The complete home. New York, D. Appleton and Co., 1907. 313 p.

Mayhew, Edgar de Noailles, and Minor Myers, Jr. A documentary history of American interiors: from the colonial era to 1915. New York, Scribner, c1980. 399 p.
   Bibliography: p. 389-392.

Richards, Ellen H., and Maria Elliott. The chemistry of cooking and cleaning. American kitchen magazine, v. 6, Oct.1896: 11-14.

Thuro, Catherine M. V. Oil lamps: the kerosene era in North America. Repr. with updated prices. Radnor, Pa., Wallace-Homestead Book Co., 1992. 364 p.
   Bibliography: p. 346-347.
   NK5440.K44T49 1992

Food and Cooking

300 years of kitchen collectibles: a price guide for collectors. 1981- Compiled by Linda Campbell Franklin. Florence, Ala., Books Americana.

Brewer, Priscilla J. From fireplace to cookstove: technology and the domestic ideal in America. Syracuse, N.Y., Syracuse University Press, 2000. 338 p.
   Bibliography: p. 303-324.
   GT425.U5B74 2000

Brewer, Priscilla J. “We have got a very good cooking stove”: advertising, design, and consumer response to the cookstove, 1815-1880. Winterthur portfolio, v. 25, spring 1999: 35-54.

The Country house kitchen, 1650-1900: skills and equipment for food provisioning. Edited by Pamela A. Sambrook and Peter Brears. Phoenix Mill, Far Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire, A. Sutton Pub., in association with the National Trust, 1996. 266 p. (Food and society, 8)
   TX653.C69 1996
   "Based on papers from the Eighth Leeds Symposium on Food History, April 1993 and the Ninth, April 1994."

Dimensions of the meal: the science, culture, business, and art of eating. Edited by Herbert L. Meiselman. Gaithersburg, Md., Aspen Publishers, 2000. 344 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   TX631.D49 2000 <SciRR>

Hayes, Joanne Lamb. Grandma’s wartime kitchen: World War II and the way we cooked. New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2000. 244 p.
   Bibliography: p. 237-239.
   TX715.H393 2000

Jones, Joseph C. American ice boxes: a book on the history, collecting, and restoration of ice boxes. Humble, Tex., Jobeco Books, 1981. 100 p.
   Bibliography: p. 99-100.

McFeely, Mary Drake. Can she bake a cherry pie?: American women and the kitchen in the twentieth century. Amherst, University of Massachusetts Press, c2000. 194 p.
   Bibliography: p.171-182.
   TX649.A1M38 2000

Plante, Ellen M. The American kitchen, 1700 to the present: from hearth to highrise. New York, Facts on File, c1995. 340 p.
   Bibliography: p. 314-319.
   TX653.P56 1995 <SciRR>

Rockwood, Laura C. Food preparation and its relation to the development of efficient personality in the home. Popular science monthly, v. 79, Sept. 1911: 277-298.

Rorer, Mrs. S. T. Furnishing a kitchen. Everyday housekeeping, v. 22, June 1906: 793-796.

Shapiro, Laura. Perfection salad: women and cooking at the turn of the century. New York, Modern Library, 2001. 274 p.
   Bibliography: p. 255-267.
   TX173.S24 2001

Werbel, Amy B. The Foley Food Mill. Technology in society, v. 14, no. 3, 1992: 345-356.

Williams, Susan. Savory suppers & fashionable feasts: dining in Victorian America. New York, Pantheon Books in association with the Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum, c1985. 335 p.
   Bibliography: p. 315-320.
   TX715.W7293 1985


Barlow, Ronald S. The vanishing American outhouse: a history of country plumbing. El Cajon, Calif., Windmill Publishing Company, c1989. 136 p.
   Bibliography: p. 95-96.
   TH4975.B37 1989

Breese, Jessie Martin. The bathroom of to-day. Country life: a magazine of the home-maker of the country, v. 39, Apr. 1921: 66-67.
   S1.C85 folio

Lupton, Ellen, and J. Abbott Miller. The bathroom, the kitchen, and the aesthetics of waste: a process of elimination. MIT List Visual Arts Center. Cambridge, Mass., the Center; New York, Distributed by Princeton Architectural Press, c1992. 74 p.
   Bibliography: p. 74-75.
   TD6.A1L87 1992
   "Published in conjunction with the exhibition : The process of elimination: the kitchen, the bathroom, and the aesthetics of waste, MIT Visual Arts Center, May 9-June 28, 1992."

Ogle, Maureen. All the modern conveniences: American household plumbing,1840-1890. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996. 191 p. (Johns Hopkins studies in the history of technology, new ser., no. 20)
   Bibliography: p. 161-182.
   TH6116.O36 1996

Ogle, Maureen. Domestic reform and American household plumbing, 1840-1870. Winterthur portfolio, v. 28, spring 1993: 33-58.

Sipe, Brian M. Earth closets and the dry earth system of sanitation in Victorian America. Material culture, v. 20, summer/fall 1988: 27-37.

Wright, Lawrence. Clean and decent: the history of the bath and loo and of sundry habits, fashions & accessories of the toilet, principally in Great Britain, France & America. Rev. ed., with additional material by Dave Larder. London, Boston, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980. 211 p.
   Bibliography: p. 161-182
   GT2845.W74 1980


Connolly, Marguerite. The disappearance of the domestic sewing machine, 1890-1925. Winterthur portfolio, v. 34, spring 1999: 31-48.

Cooper, Grace Rogers. The sewing machine: its invention and development. 2nd ed, rev. and expanded. Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1976. 238 p.
   Bibliography: p. 224-226.
   TJ507.C6 1976

Fox, Sandi. For purpose and pleasure: quilting together in nineteenth-century America. Nashville, Tenn., Rutledge Hill Press, c1995. 164 p.
   Bibliography: p. 160-162.
   GN432.F69 1995
   “Published in conjunction with the exhibition ... presented at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah, June 25 through September 10, 1995.”

Institute of Modern Sewing, Inc., New Haven. First course in modern mechanical methods of home sewing. New Haven, The Institute of Modern Sewing, Inc., 1920. 71 p.

Markrich, Lilo, and Heinz Edgar Kiewe. Victorian fancywork: nineteenth century needlepoint patterns and designs. Chicago, Regnery, 1974. 172 p.
   Bibliography: p. 171-172.

Mohanty, Gail Fowler. The sewing machine--“the queen of inventions,” an exhibition at Slater Mill Historic Site, Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Technology and culture, v. 28, Oct. 1987: 839-841.

Utensils and Gadgets

Brooke, Sheena. Hearth and home: a short history of domestic equipment. London, Mills and Boon, 1973. 168 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.

De Haan, David. Antique household gadgets and appliances, c. 1860 to 1930. Poole, Eng., Blandford Press, 1977. 165 p.

Franklin, Linda Campbell. 300 years of housekeeping collectibles: tools & fittings of the laundry room, broom closet, dustbin, clothes closet & bathroom. Florence, Ala., Books Americana, c1992. 212 p.
   Bibliography: p. 206-209.
   TX324.F73 1992
   “Together with pithy advice for collectors and dealers, opinions in polished prose, and a fund of fascinating facts from cookbooks, trade catalogs, encyclopedias of arts & manufactures and periodical advertisements.”
   “Identification and value guide.”

The Official from hearth to cookstove: an American domestic history of gadgets and utensils made or used in America from 1700 to 1930. By the House of Collectibles, Inc. Editor, Thomas E. Hudgeons. 3rd ed. Orlando, Fla., House of Collectibles, c1985. 271 p.
   Bibliography: p. 254-258.
   TX656.O35 1985 <SciRR>
   Revised ed. of From hearth to cook stove by Linda Campbell Franklin. 2nd ed. c1978.

Peet, Louise Jenison, and Lenore E. Sater. Household equipment. New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1934. 315 p.

Smith, Robert Paul. Lost & found: an illustrated compendium of things no longer in general use: the hatpin, the icebox, the carpet beater, and oven; household possessions they don't make that way any more. New York, Charterhouse, 1973. 158 p.

Webb, Pauline, and Mark Suggitt. Gadgets and necessities: an encyclopedia of household innovations. Santa Barbara, Calif., ABC-CLIO, c2000. 377 p.
   Bibliography: p. 331-336
   TX298.W43 2000

Washing and Ironing

Ahern, Eleanor. The way we wash our clothes. New York, M. Barrows & Co., c1941. 140 p.

Apkarian-Russell, Pamela E. Washday collectibles. Atglen, Pa., Schiffer Publishing, c2000. 159 p.
   TT998.A65 2000

Berney, Esther S. A collector's guide to pressing irons and trivets. New York, Crown Publishers, c1977. 182 p.
   Bibliography: p. 175-176.
   TX298.B44 1977

Doyle, Robert. Laundry: the whys and hows of cleaning clothes. Halifax, N.S., Sartorial Press Publications, c1999. 230 p.
   Bibliography: p. 229-230.
   TT985.D69 1999

Irons, David. Even more irons. Northampton, Pa.., D. Irons, c2000. 158 p.
   TS440.I73 2000
   David Irons has also published Irons by Irons (1994) and More Irons by Irons (1997).

Irons, David. Pressing iron patents: a pictorial presentation of patent briefs, 1876-1912. Northampton, Pa., D. Irons, c1994. 54 p.
   TS440.I77 1994

Jewell, Brian. Smoothing irons: a history and collector’s guide. Tunbridge Wells, Eng., Midas Books, 1977. 72 p.

Leal, Ronald. Rub a dub dub: a short history of home laundry. Mankind, v. 1, Dec. 1968: 50-54.

Mohr, Merilyn Simonds. The art of soapmaking: a complete introduction to the history and craft of fine soapmaking: complete recipes for hand soaps, herbal shampoos, natural toothpaste, vegetarian soap, laundry soap, and many rich and fragrant homemade soaps. Camden East, Ont., Camden House Pub.; Toronto, Trade distribution by Firefly Books, c1979. 127 p.
   Bibliography: p. 124-127.
   TP991.M67 1979

Rawlings, Irene, and Andrea VanSteenhouse. The clothesline. Layton, Utah, Gibbs Smith, c2002. 95 p.
   TT985.R39 2002

Russell, Malcolm B. Cleaner clothes for less work: the Upton Machine Company, 1911-1929. Essays in economic and business history, v. 12, 1994: 383-397.

Salade, Robert F. Demonstrating and selling washing machines. House furnishing review, v. 45, Aug. 1916: XII-XVII.

Santiago, Chiori. It all comes out in the wash. Smithsonian, v. 28, Sept. 1997: 84-92.

Shepherd, Meredith. Dollars and sense and the washing machine: how it “pays for itself” and adds leisure hours to washday. House furnishing review, v. 41, Aug. 1914: 46, 54.

United States. Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics. Methods and equipment for home laundering. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print, Off., 1926. 37 p. (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Farmers’ bulletin, no. 1497)
   S21.A6, no. 1497

Walkley, Christina, and Vanda Foster. Crinolines and crimping irons: Victorian clothes: how they were cleaned and cared for.  London, Owen, 1978. 199 p.
   Bibliography: p. 188.
   TT985.W23 1978

Whitton, Mary Ormsbee. Ironing machines for time economy: timesaving element strongest selling point in influencing the housewife to buy this class of merchandise. House furnishing review, v. 58, Jan. 1923: 133-135.

Zmroczek, Christine. Women, class, and washing machines, 1920s-1960s. Women’s studies international forum, v. 15, no. 2, 1992: 173-185.

Titles relating to Correspondence, Reminiscenes, and Biography

Clark, Ava Milam, and J. Kenneth Mumford. Adventures of a home economist. Corvallis, Oregon State University Press, 1969. 432 p.

Fenster, J. M. The woman [Josephine Cochrane] who invented the dishwasher; she did it because the servants broke the china. American heritage of invention & technology, v. 15, fall 1999: 54-61.

Green, Harvey, and Mary-Ellen Perry. The light of the home: an intimate view of the lives of women in Victorian America. With illustrations from the Margaret Woodbury Storng Musuem. New York, Pantheon Books, c1983. 205 p.
   HQ1419.G73 1983
   "Notes": p. 186-205
   Reprinted in 2003, by the University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, Ark.

Holt, Marilyn Irvin. Linoleum, better babies & the modern farm woman, 1890-1930. Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press, c1995. 250 p.
   Bibliography: p. 233-240.
   HQ1419.H65 1995

Memories of Hoosier homemakers. Eleanor Arnold, editor and project director. Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1993. 6 v.
   TX24.I6M46 1993
   Partial contents:–v. 1 Feeding our families.–v. 2. Party lines, pumps and privies. “
   From Hoosier Homemakers Throughout the Years, an oral history project of the Indiana Extension Homemakers Association.” Originally published, West Lafayette? Indiana Extension Homemakers Association, c1983-1991.

Mendelson, Anne. Stand facing the stove: the story of the women who gave America the Joy of Cooking. New York, H. Holt, 1996. 474 p.
   Bibliography: p. 453-458.
   TX649.A1M46 1996

Porter, Lorle. Sara’s table: “keeping house” in Ohio, 1800-1950. Zanesville, Ohio, New Concord Press, 2001. 176 p.
   Bibliography: p. 172.
   TX145.P667 2001

Rutherford, Janice Williams. Selling Mrs. Consumer: Christine Frederick and the rise of household efficiency. Athens, Ga., University of Georgia Press, c2003. 283 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   TX140.F74R88 2003

Sklar, Kathryn Kish. Catharine Beecher: a study in American domesticity. New Haven, Yale University Press, 1973. 356 p.
   Bibliography: p. 331-334.
   HQ1413.B4S54 Overflow

Stanley, Autumn. Mothers and daughters of invention: notes for a revised history of technology. Metuchen, N.J., Scarecrow Press, 1993. 1116 p.
   Bibliography: p. 917-1041.
   T36.S73 1993 <SciRR>
   See particularly "Labor-saving (domestic)": p. 455-465.

Vare, Ethlie Ann, and Greg Ptacek. Mothers of invention: from the bra to the bomb: forgotten women & their unforgettable ideas. New York, Morrow, c1988. 256 p.
   T36.V36 1988 <SciRR>

Voices of American homemakers. Eleanor Arnold, editor and project director. Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1993. 295 p.    TX23.V65 1993
   "From an oral history project of the National Extension Homemakers Council, on the occasion of their fiftieth anniversary."
   Originally published in Hollis, N.H., National Extension Homemakers Council, c1985.

Titles for Young Readers

Alphin, Elaine Marie. Irons. Minneapolis, Carolrhoda Books, c1998. 48 p.
   TT995.A38 1998

Alphin, Elaine Marie. Vacuum cleaners. Minneapolis, Carolrhoda Books, c1997. 48 p.
   TX298.A55 1997

Kalman, Bobbie. The Victorian home. New York, Crabtree Publishing, c1997. 32 p.
   NK2115.5.V53K36 1997

Steele, Philip. Clothes and crafts in Victorian times. Milwaukee, Wisc., Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2000. 32 p.
   Bibliography: p. 31.
   GT737.S74 2000

Thomson, Ruth. Washday. London, A. & C. Black, c1990. 32 p.
   TT985.T53 1990



Anderson, Oscar Edward. Refrigeration in America: a history of a new technology and its impact. Port Washington, N.Y., Kennikat Press, 1972, c1953. 344 p.
   Bibliography: p. 321-325.
   TP494.U5A7 1972

Boorstin, Daniel J. The Americans, the national experience. New York, Vintage Books, c1965. 517 p.
   "Bibliographical notes": p. 433-495.
   E162.B68 1965 <Rare Bk Coll: Boorstin Coll>

Clark, Clifford Edward, Jr. The American family home, 1800-1960. Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, c1986. 281 p.
   Bibliography: p. 255-269.
   NA7205.C58 1986

Cummings, Richard Osborn. The American and his food. New York, Arno Press, 1970, c1941. 219 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   TX360.U6C8 1970

Domestic ideology and domestic work. In History of women in the United States: historical articles on women’s lives and activities, v. 4. Edited by Nancy F. Cott. Munich, New York, G.K. Saur, 1992. 2 v. (591 p.)
   HQ1410.H57 1992

Dudden, Faye E. Serving women: household service in nineteenth-century America. Middletown, Conn., Wesleyan University Press; Scranton, Pa., Distributed by Harper & Row, c1983. 344 p.
   HD6072.2.U5D82 1983

Early American technology: making and doing things from the colonial era to 1850. Edited by Judith A. McGaw. Chapel Hill, Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Va., by the University of North Carolina Press, c1994. 482 p.
   Bibliography: p. 358-460.
   T21.E24 1994 <SciRR>

Giedion, Sigfried. Mechanization takes command, a contribution to anonymous history. New York, Oxford University Press, 1948. 743 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.
   T19.G54 <SciRR>

Gowans, Alan. The comfortable house: North American suburban architecture, 1890-1930. Bibliography by Lamia Doumato. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, c1986. 246 p.
   Bibliography: p. 224-239.
   NA7571.G68 1986

Hoover, Robert, and John Hoover. An American quality legend: how Maytag saved our moms, vexed the competition, and presaged America’s quality revolution. New York, McGraw-Hill, c1993. 293 p.
   BHD9971.5.E544M394 1993

Katzman, David M. Seven days a week: women and domestic service in industrializing America. New York, Oxford University Press, 1978. 374 p.
   Bibliography: p. 341-365.

Leavitt, Sarah Abigail. From Catharine Beecher to Martha Stewart: a cultural history of domestic advice. Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, c2002. 250 p.
   Bibliography: p. 229-244.
   TX15.L43 2002

Martin, Edgar Winfield. The standard of living in 1860; American consumption levels on the eve of the Civil War. Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1942. 451 p.
   Includes bibliographical references.

Matthews, Glenna. "Just a housewife:" the rise and fall of domesticity in America. New York, Oxford University Press, 1987. 281 p.
   Bibliography: p. 227-262.
   HQ1410.M38 1987

Nye, David E. Electrifying America: social meanings of a new technology, 1880-1940. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, c1990. 479 p.
   Bibliography: p. 443-467.
   HD9685.U5N94 1990

Panati, Charles. Extraordinary origins of everyday things. New York, Perennial Library, c1987. 463 p.
   AG6.P37 1987 <SciRR>

Rybczynski, Witold. Home: a short history of an idea. New York, Viking, 1986. 256 p.
   Bibliography: p. 233-244.
   NA7125.R9 1986
   See paricularly "Efficiency": p. 144-171.

Schlereth, Thomas J. Victorian America: transformation in everyday life, 1876-1915. New York, HarperCollins Publishers, c1991. 363 p.
   Bibliography: p. 307-343.
   E168.S35 1991

Sweet's architectural trade catalog file, Avery Library, Columbia University [microform]. New York, Clearwater Pub. Co., 1987. 2334 microfiches.
   Microfiche 90/7075 (T) <MicRR>
   Catalogs for 1906-1949.

Technology and women's voices: keeping in touch. Edited by Cheris Kramarae. New York, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1988. 246 p.
   Bibliography: p. 224-239.
   T36.T43 1988

Zimmerman, Jean. Made from scratch: reclaiming the pleasures of the American hearth. New York, Free Press, c2003. 266 p.
   Bibliography: p. 257-263.
   TX23.Z55 2003



Dissertations can be located by using the following indexes located in the Library's Main Reading Room or on FirstSearch:

Comprehensive Dissertation Index (1861-1972)
   Z5053.X47 1973

Comprehensive Dissertation Index. Supplement (1973- annual)
   Z5053.X47a <MRR>

Digital Dissertations (Pro-Quest-UMI) (Citations, 1861- ; Abstracts, 1985- ; Full-text, 1997- )
   Online in LC: UMI Digital Dissertations

Dissertation Abstracts International (1938- monthly)

Masters Abstracts International



Bacon, Elizabeth Mickle. The growth of household conveniences in the United States from 1865 to 1900. Cambridge, Mass., Radcliffe College, 1944. 301 leaves.
   Bibliography: leaves 265-301. Smithsonian Library
   Thesis (doctoral)--Radcliffe College, 1944.
   Microfilm available from Harvard University Library.

Connolly, Marguerite A. The transformation of home sewing and the sewing machine in America, 1850-1929. Ann Arbor, Mich., ProQuest Information and Learning, 1995. 414 p.
   UMI Microfiche AAT9516345
   Includes bibliographical notes.
   Thesis (doctoral)--University of Delaware, 1994.

Nickles, Shelley Kaplan. Object lessons: household appliance design and the American middle class, 1920-1960. Ann Arbor, Mich., ProQuest Information and Learning, 1999. 477 p.
   UMI Microfiche AAT9916356
   Includes bibliographical notes.
   Thesis (doctoral)--University of Virginia, 1999.

Ogle, Maureen. All the modern conveniences: American household plumbing, 1840-1870. Ann Arbor, Mich., University Microfilms, 1992. 276 p.
   UMI Microfiche AAG9223954 <MicRR>
   Includes bibliographical notes.
   Thesis (doctoral)--Iowa State University, 1992.

Strasser, Susan. Never done: the ideology and technology of household work, 1850-1930. Ann Arbor, Mich., University Microfilms, 1977. 422 p.
   UMI Microfiche AAG7803167 <MicRR>
   Includes bibliographical notes.
   Thesis (doctoral)--State University Of New York at Stony Brook, 1977.



American women: a Library of Congress guide for the study of women’s history and culture in the United States. Edited by Sheridan Harvey. Washington, Library of Congress; For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., 2001. 420 p.
   Z7164.U5A47 2001 <SciRR>
   See particularly “housekeeping,” “cookery,” and “domestic life” in index.

Bindocci, Cynthia Gay. Women and technology: an annotated bibliography. New York, Garland Pub., 1993. 229 p. (Women's history and culture, v. 7) (Garland reference library of social science, v. 517)
   Z7963.T43B55 1993 <SciRR>

Boston. Public Library. A list of books on domestic science in the Public library of the city of Boston. Boston, the Trustees, 1911. 78 p.

Catanese, Lynn Ann. Women’s history: a guide to sources at Hagley Museum and Library. Westport, Conn., Greenwood Press, 1997. 338 p. (Bibliographies and indexes in women’s studies, no. 26)
   ZZ7961.C38 1997
   See especially, “Nineteenth-Century Domesticity”: p. 41-127.

Current bibliography in the history of technology. 1990- Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1992-
   Issued by the Society for the History of Technology.
   Previously (1964-1990) appeared annually in issues of Technology and culture.
   Also available online (1976- ) through RLIN's Eureka as part of HST, History of science and technology, file.

ISIS cumulative bibliography: a bibliography of the history of science formed from ISIS critical bibliographies 1-90, 1913-65. Edited by Magda Whitrow. London, Mansell in conjunction with the History of Science Society, 1971-1984. 6 v.
   Z7405.H6I2 <SciRR>
   Supplements cover 1966-1975 (Z7405.H6I2 Suppl.<SciRR>), 1976-1985 (Z7405.H6I2 Suppl. 2 <SciRR>), and 1986-1995 (Z7405.H6I2 1997 Suppl. 3 <SciRR>).
   The current bibliography is published annually in a separate issue of ISIS.

Romaine, Lawrence B. A guide to American trade catalogs, 1744-1900. New York, Dover, 1990. 422 p.
   Bibliography: p. 397-399.
   Z7164.C8R6 1990 <SciRR Desk>
   Reprint. Originally published in New York, R. R. Bowker, 1960.

Rudolph, G. A. Kansas State University receipt book and household manual. Manhattan, Kansas State University Library, 1968. 230 p. (Kansas State University Library. Bibliography series, no. 4)
   Materials published prior to the twentieth century.

United States. Patent Office. Subject-matter index of patents for inventions issued by the United States Patent Office from 1790 to 1873, inclusive. New York, Arno Press, 1976. 3 v. (1951 p.)
   T223.D7A45 1976 <SciRR>
   Reprint of the 1874 ed. published by the Government Printing Office, Washington.



Abstracting and indexing services that index relevant journal articles and other literature on household technology are listed below. Some suggested terms for searching are "Household Appliances," Kitchen Utensils," "Electricity in the Home," "Stoves," "Vacuum Cleaners," "Electric Apparatus and Appliances," "Domestic Economy," "Fireless Cookers," "Carpet Sweepers," "Laundry," "Cookery," "Kitchens--Equipment," "Refrigerators," "House Cleaning," "Housework," "Housewives," and variations of these terms. Several of these titles may also be available online. FirstSearch and Eureka, available on workstations in the Science Reading Room and the Computer Catalog Center, contain additional files. Consult reference librarian for the location of abstracting and indexing (A&I) services and computer terminals.

Applied Science & Technology Index (1913-)
   Z7913.I7 <SciRR> and Computer Format

America, History and Life (1964-)
   Z1236.A488. etc. <MRR Alc>

Bibliographic Index (1937-)
   Z1002.B595 <SciRR>

Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications (1895-)
   Z1223.A18 <SciRR> and Computer Format

Poole's Index to Periodical Literature (1802-1906)
   AI3.P7 <BRS> and Electronic Format

Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature (1900-)
   AI3.R48 <BRS> and Computer Format

Writings on American History (1902-)
   Z1236.L331 <MRR Alc>

Women Studies Abstracts (1972-)
   Z7962.W65 <MRR Alc>


American Heritage E171.A43
American Heritage of Invention and Technology
American Home NA7100.A45
Better Homes and Gardens NA7100.B45
Collier's AP2.C65/MicRR 06253
Early American Homes E162.E213
Early American Life E162.E214
Everyday Housekeeping TX1.E8
Godey's Lady's Book AP2.G56 <Rare Bk Coll> Microfilm 01104 <MicRR>
Good Housekeeping TX1.G75
Harper's Bazar TT500.H3
House and Home NA7100.H63
House Beautiful NA7100.H65
House Furnishing Review HF6201.H8H6
Household Magazine TX1.H78
Housewares HF6201.H8H6
Journal of American Culture E169.1.J7
Ladies' Home Journal Microfilm 05422 (1884-1907) 06262 (1908-) <MicRR>
Material Culture E179.5.P46
Montgomery Ward Company Catalog TS199.W25
Scientific American Tl.S5 (1845-1920 T1.S5 folio)
Sears Roebuck and Company Catalog TS199.S43
Signs HQ1101.S5
Technology and Culture T1.T27
Today’s Housewife TX1.T6
Winterthur Portfolio N9.W52
Woman's Home Companion AP2.W714
Woman’s World AP2.W74
Women's Studies HQ1101.W77



Austin, W. H. Electric cleaners for the house-furnishing department. House furnishing review, v. 42, Feb. 1915: XIII-XV.

Bonney, A. M. Old pots, trammels and trivets. House beautiful, v. 46, Dec. 1919: 360-361.

Bowden, Sue, and Avner Offer. Household appliances and the use of time: the United States and Britain since the 1920s. Economic history review, v. 47, no. 4, 1994: 725-748.

Burke, Hamilton. Do you carry kitchen cabinets? House furnishing review, v. 36, Apr. 1912: 51-55; May 1912: 56-60.

Clark, Clifford E., Jr. Domestic architecture as an index to social history: the romantic revival and the cult of domesticity in America, 1840-1870. Journal of interdisciplinary history, v. 7, summer 1976: 33-56.

Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. The “Industrial Revolution” in the home: household technology and social change in the 20th century. Technology and culture, v. 17, Jan. 1976: 1-23.

Edwards, Warren. Electrical housewares; now is the time to investigate these everyday sellers--cost of current being reduced. House furnishing review, v. 45, July 1916: XII-XIII.

Fitts, Robert K. The archaeology of middle-class domesticity and gentility in Victorian Brooklyn. Historical archaeology, v. 33, no. 1, 1999: 39-62.

Guynes, David. Managing household pests the old-fashioned way: defenses against pest damage in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Material history review/Revue d’histoire de la culture matérielle, v. 44, fall 1996: 97-111.

Hoy, Suellen. The garbage disposer, the public health, and the good life. Technology and culture, v. 26, Oct. 1985: 758-784.

Jellison, Katherine. Women and technology on the Great Plains, 1910-40. Great Plains quarterly, v. 8, summer 1988: 145-157.

Johnson, Helen Louise. The selection of freezers: results of a practical test of five different freezers proves that freezers vary widely in efficiency; customers should select best by test. House furnishing review, v. 36, Jan. 1912: 91-93.

Kwolek-Folland, Angel. The elegant dugout: domesticity and moveable culture in the United States, 1870-1900. American studies, v. 25, fall 1984: 21-37.

McMahon, R. Making housekeeping automatic. Ladies' home journal, v. 37, Sept. 1920: 3-4.
   Microfilm 06262 <MicRR>

Malan, Allan, and Deanna Malan. Bee boxes to pie pullers. Michigan history magazine, v. 82, Mar./Apr.1998: 12-16.

Ravetz, Alison. The Victorian coal kitchen and its reformers. Victorian studies, v. 9, June 1968: 435-460.

Riley, Glenda. In or out of the historical kitchen? Interpretations of Minnesota rural women. Minnesota history, v. 52, summer 1990: 61-71.

Schroeder, Fred E. H. More "small things forgotten:" domestic electrical plugs and receptacles, 1881-1931. Technology and culture, v. 27, July 1986: 525-543.

Schwartz, Ruth. Less work for mother? American heritage, v. 38, Sept.-Oct. 1987: 68-76.

Smyth, William D. Oh! to be clean: domestic cleanliness in mid-nineteenth-century America. Lamar journal of the humanities, v. 17, fall 1991: 53-73.

Summers, John. Beyond brown bread and oatmeal cookies: new directions for historic kitchens. Material history bulletin, v. 27, spring 1988: 1-13.

Thrall, Charles A. The conservative use of modern household technology. Technology and culture, v. 23, Apr. 1982: 175-194.

Two forms of a new dish-washing machine. Scientific American, v. 82, Feb 14, 1900: 116.
   T1.S5 Folio

Vanek, Joann. Household technology and social status: rising living standards and status and residence differences in housework. Technology and culture, v. 19, July 1978: 361-375.

Walker, Margaret F. A woman’s work is never done: or, the dirt on men and their laundry. Overland journal, v. 16, summer 1998: 4-13.

Whitman, Roger B. The joy of hot water. Country life: a magazine for the home-maker in the country, v. 39, Apr. 1921: 71-72.
   S1.C35 folio



Selected Materials available in the Science Reading Room pamphlet boxes include the following:

Bache, Rene. Easy ways to save work in the home: how Uncle Sam, inventor, is constantly devising little things to help women. Popular mechanics, v. 48, Oct. 1927: 578-582.

Busch, Jane. Cooking competition: technology on the domestic market in the 1930's. Technology and culture, v. 24, Apr. 1983: 222-245.

Cooper, Carolyn C. The ghost in the kitchen: household technology at the Brattleboro Museum, Vermont. Technology and culture, v. 28, Apr. 1987: 328-332.

Cowan, Ruth Swartz. Less work for mother. American heritage of invention & technology, v. 2, spring 1987: 57-63.

Electric servants accomplish many household tasks. Dun’s international review, July 1929: 30-34, 64, 66, 68.

Electrical housewares: save food, fuel, time, money by wire. House furnishing review, v. 49, Aug. 1918: 74-75.

Feiner, Frederick M. Electricity for lighting, heating, and cooking: the story of a house in which the push button and the switch control lights, bells, radiators, cigar lighters, flatirons, and kitchen range--what such conveniences cost. Country life in America, v. 11, Dec. 1906; Homebuilder’s Supplement: xxix-xxxi, xxxviii-xl.

Fox, Bonnie J. Selling the mechanized household: 70 years of ads in Ladies’ Home Journal. Gender & society, v. 4, Mar. 1990: 25-40.

Gordon, Jean, and Jan MacArthur. Popular culture magazines and American domestic interiors, 1898-1940. Journal of popular culture, v. 22, no. 4, 1989: 35-60.

Kline, Ronald R. Idealogy and social surveys: reinterpreting the effects of "laborsaving" technology on American farm women. Technology and culture, v. 38, Apr. 1997: 355-385.

Levenstein, Harvey. The New England Kitchen and the orgins of modern American eating habits. American quarterly, v. 32, fall 1980: 369-386.

The Planning and furnishing of the kitchen in the modern residence. Architectural record, v. 16, Oct. 1904: 384-392.

Santiago, Chiori. It all comes out in the wash. Smithsonian, v. 28, Sept. 1997: 84-92.

Sipe, Brian M. Earth closets and the dry earth system of sanitation in Victorian America. Material culture, v. 20, summer/fall 1988: 27-37.

Roberts, A. Vacuum cleaners stand for economy. House furnishing review, v. 56, Mar. 1922: 74-75.

Some early history of domestic gas appliances. American gas journal, v. 140, May 1934: 107-111, 153.

Williams, Rosalind. The other industrial revolution: lessons for business from the home. Technology review, v. 87, July 1984: 30-40.

Wilson, D. L. Housekeeping by electricity. Harper's bazar, v. 34, Apr. 6, 1901: 905-907.

Zmroczek, Christine. Dirty line: women, class, and washing machines, 1920's-1960's. Women's studies international forum, v. 15, no. 2, 1992: 173-185.



Hagley Museum and Library
P.O. Box 3630
Wilmington, DE 19807-0630
Telephone: 302-658-2400
Fax: 302-658-0568
          A division of the Eleutherian Mills-Hagley Foundation, the library has an excellent collection of books, pamphlets, trade catalogs, manuscripts, photographs, ephemera, and adiodvisual materials documenting the history of technology. The trade catalogs, especially useful in studying domestic technology, and books may be searched in its online catalog by keyword, company name, personal author or title. Researchers are invited to call the library when they cannot locate the material needed.

Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village
20900 Oakwood Boulevard
Dearborn, MI 48124-4088
Telephone: 313-982-6001
Fax: 313-271-9652
          Twelve acres of exhibit space with 80 historic structures. Research fields of interest include domestic life and the history of technology. The museum maintains a research library pertaining to the exhibits for the use of staff and visitors.

The Strong Museum
1 Manhattan Square
Rochester, NY 14607
Telephone: 585-263-2700
Fax: 716-263-2493
          A 19th and 20th century material culture museum with strong collections in household technology. Publishes widely on the social and cultural development of northeastern America from 1820 to the present; has a 60,000-volume library pertaining primarily to its collections.

National Museum of American History
Smithsonian Institution
14th & Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20560
Telephone: 202-357-2700
Fax: 202-357-1853
          Exhibits on the history of domestic life and technology; researchers may use 165,000-volume library chronicling the history of technology in America.



The Internet offers a growing number of sites useful in the study of domestic and household technology. The National Museum of Science and Technology of Canada ( has an active site that includes articles on housework in the 19th century, including information on various appliances. Use your favorite search engine and the terms "household technology" or "domestic technology" and the terms "museum," "America(n)," or "history" when searching the web for bibliographies, descriptions of courses, museum exhibits, and links to other topics of interest.


Hearth, a core electronic collection of books and journals in home economics and related disciplines published between 1850 and 1950, from the Mann Library, Cornell University.

Janssen, Barbara Suit. Sewing machines: historical trade literature in the Smithsonian collections.

Kennesaw State University. Women’s domestic work.

Middleton, Ken. American women’s history; a research guide: homemaking and home economics.

RLG’s Eureka: History of Science, Technology, and Medicine
   Onsite Access Only

Vasishth, Ashwani. Housewifery, gender, and the domestication of technology: working bibliography.

Digital Images

You can search Google (<>) and click on IMAGES and then type in your key words, e.g., “household technology,” “victorian kitchens” or you can search the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division’s catalog at <> and type in “washing and ironing,” “wood stoves,” or “kitchens.”

Appalachian Library Information Cooperative Exchange (ALICE). Digital life of Appalachia: domestic life.

Duke University. John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History. Emergence of advertising in America: 1850-1920.
Includes Nicole Di Bona Peterson Collection of Advertising Cookbooks: 1878-1929 and Lever Brothers’ Lux Soap (Flakes): 1916-1925.

Library of Congress American Memory. Fred Hultstrand History in Pictures Collection. Women pioneers of the Northern Great Plains, 1880-1920: domestic life.

National Academy of Engineering. Greatest engineering achievements of the twentieth century: air conditioning and refrigeration.

National Academy of Engineering. Greatest engineering achievements of the twentieth century: household appliances.

Smithsonian Institution. Ivory Project: Advertising Soap In America, 1838-1998.

Youngstown State University. Center for Historic Preservation. Oral History Digital Collection. Household appliances: history.

Manuscript Resources

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC)

North American Women’s Letters and Diaries: Colonial to 1950
   Onsite Access Only

RLG’s Archival Resources
   Onsite Access Only

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