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

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Basic Books, 1983 - Family & Relationships - 257 pages
14 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  - Mark Bowles - Goodreads

A. Introduction: Housework and its tools 1. "Industrialization of the home" took place between 1860 and 1960 2. Household and market labor are similar in 3 ways a) Both depend on non-human energy ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Christohper - Goodreads

The conclusion destroys the arguments made in the book. The author states that she had to choose between washing a shirt her daughter had stained versus just leaving it. A third choice (rather obvious ... Read full review


Household Work and Household Tools under
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Alternative Social and Technical
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Less Work for Mother

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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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