Do These 8 Products from 1919 Really 'Lighten the Labor of Your Home' — Or Do They Add to It?

What would lighten the labor of my home would be if my kids and my husband moved out. Next to that, a cleaning lady every few days would be awesome. I suppose somewhere on my wish list would be some products that would make cleaning and organizing a little easier, but short of me having to do nothing, there aren’t too many conveniences more convenient than being able to put up my feet and do nothing while everything around me is already done.

It seems as if there were a lot of breakthroughs as it applies to cleaning house in 1919. Some vintage ads from that era just surfaced on that show women as happy as clams using a vacuum cleaner, iron, sewing machine, and washing machine. While those are indisputably preferable to less electric options, they’re still not preferable to doing no work at all.

Where are today’s breakthrough cleaning products? Where’s the upgrade to scrubbing a dirty toilet? How about changing a poopy diaper? There’s still no robot invented to take care of that!

Do these products from 1919 inspire you to clean because it could be worse? Or do they just make you want to move out and leave the mess to the next inhabitants?


  • To Lighten the Labor of Your Home 1 of 11

    A cleaning lady would lighten the labor of your home, right? But in 1919, these products were offered so you could do it yourself instead. Gee, thanks?

  • It’s All About Efficiency 2 of 11

    It's a premise that no one could argue with: Be as efficient as possible at home.

  • Iron 3 of 11

    Well, of course an iron is preferable to "plodding back and forth." But what would be even better is if no one had an iron and everyone's shirt was just wrinkled because no one knew any better or could do much more. Sigh.

  • Washer and Wringer 4 of 11

    Unfortunately, no matter how efficient your washing machine, laundry always has been and always will be a "drudgery."

  • Vacuum Cleaner 5 of 11

    Now if we could only find a way to banish the notion that it's the women who had/have to do most of these chores.

  • Heat Regulator 6 of 11

    It was the woman who had to trudge down for the "hateful late at night or freezing early morning trips to the basement?" Did the men in 1919 do anything?

  • Electric Toaster 7 of 11

    In an organic world, it's hard to imagine that electric-made toast is a selling point. However, claiming that making toast is "really fun" seems even more of a stretch — the modern-day equivalent of watching paint dry, perhaps.

  • Portable Sewing Machine 8 of 11

    It seems hard to argue that the "new way" — an electric, portable sewing machine — is easier. But "pleasanter?" More pleasant would just be a quick trip to the Gap, yes?

  • Heating Pad 9 of 11

    It seems that the issue isn't that the old hot water bottle has been replaced with a heating pad — but instead, that "nearly always there's some one in the family who has an ache or pain." Has the water been tested? The air quality? Perhaps some therapy — physio or psycho, or both — is in order.

  • Portable Lamp 10 of 11

    Let's just be clear: She's straining her eyes in the lower picture because she can't see, right? Not because she's not bright enough to understand what's in the newspaper, right?

  • Labor Clothes 11 of 11

    The labor might not seem as heavy if she could wear a less cumbersome dress while cleaning. Just sayin'.


All images used with permission from

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Article Posted 2 years Ago
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