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
1 Review
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.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mdobe - LibraryThing

In "An Introduction: Housework and Its Tools" she places household work within the stream of industrialization of America. Household were industrialized form 1860-1960, at the same time as the ... 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

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

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
All Book Search results »

About the author (1983)

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

Bibliographic information