More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave

Front Cover
Basic Books, 1983 - Family & Relationships - 257 pages
15 Reviews
In this classic work of women’s history (winner of the 1984 Dexter Prize from the Society for the History of Technology), Ruth Schwartz Cowan shows how and why modern women devote as much time to housework as did their colonial sisters. In lively and provocative prose, Cowan explains how the modern conveniences—washing machines, white flour, vacuums, commercial cotton—seemed at first to offer working-class women middle-class standards of comfort. Over time, however, it became clear that these gadgets and gizmos mainly replaced work previously conducted by men, children, and servants. Instead of living lives of leisure, middle-class women found themselves struggling to keep up with ever higher standards of cleanliness.
  

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Review: More Work For Mother: The Ironies Of Household Technology From The Open Hearth To The Microwave

User Review  - Robert - Goodreads

Fantastic example of a non-traditional way to think about material culture. Thoroughly enjoyable. Read full review

Review: More Work For Mother: The Ironies Of Household Technology From The Open Hearth To The Microwave

User Review  - Dan - Goodreads

A professor I had once alerted me to the phenomenon of books that give away the whole argument in the title, and explained that academics loved them because they could say they understood the argument ... Read full review

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Contents

Chapter
3
Household Work and Household Tools under
16
Chapter 3
40
Chapter 4
69
Alternative Social and Technical
102
Chapter 6
151
Chapter 7
192
Less Work for Mother
217
NOTES
234
Copyright

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Popular passages

Page 231 - Faith M. Williams and Carle C. Zimmerman, Studies of Family Living in the United States and Other Countries: An Analysis of Material and Method, United States Department of Agriculture, Miscellaneous Publication No.
Page 233 - Clarence D. Long, The Labor Force Under Changing Income and Employment (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1958); Ethel B. Jones, "New Estimates of Hours of Work per Week and Hourly Earnings, 1900-1957," Review of Economics and Statistics, XLV (November, 1963), pp.
Page 232 - David M. Potter, People of Plenty: Economic Abundance and the American Character (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954), p.

References to this book

Spatial Formations
Nigel Thrift
No preview available - 1996
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About the author (1983)

Ruth Schwartz Cowan is associate professor of history at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

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