“To have an indoor loo and hot water system and no bugs on the wall is a great thing."
That’s what one 73-year-old woman said recently about the things that young people take for granted.
Robinson Family - click to enlarge
What was the world like before modern technology created the automatic flush toilet, the microwave and the internet - not to mention the introduction of plastics and indoor plumbing?
Two massive technological advances improved modern domestic (home) life – nineteenth century sewage systems that allowed cities to grow without the risk of disease, and early twentieth century electric power that made household machinery and lighting possible.
When technology first created clothing for people to wear and shelters for them to live in, it also created a never-ending need to look after these things. Cleaning, cooking, mending and making fires were all new tasks, and in most societies it was women who did these jobs.
These days, busy working mums manage to do all their household chores in the evenings and at the weekends. It’s still hard work, but at least it’s possible to get it all done on a ‘part time’ basis.
For much of the twentieth century – as late as the 1960s and 1970s in most cases - housework was almost a ‘full time’ job for many women.