Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's the Modern Sanitary Way

It is a satisfaction to know that your clothes are washed in your own home--that they have not come in contact with clothes from other families, nor been handled by people of questionable health.

The Electric Washing Machine is fast becoming a part of the equipment of every modern home.

Not a luxury--but a sanitary necessity.

Dusty D is always fascinated by the manner in which advertising uses psychological techniques, and this 1919 Daily Ypsilantian-Press ad is a good example. First is an appeal to xenophobia (because "other families," of course, are likely not as clean as your own). Then there's a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses note about the "modern home"--is yours as modern? There's an assumption, of course, that "modern" is better than "old fashioned," which (being pedantic here) is not always true. Last, a remark about sanitation--good heavens, one wouldn't want to run an unsanitary house. Never mind that the old wooden tub-style washers probably delivered as sanitary results as the new electric ones--it's the same deal, after all, just unelectrified.

This ad appears to have worked, though, since Dusty D is signing checks to Detroit Edison to this day, a secret crush on Tesla notwithstanding (sigh).


Lisele said...

According to my lovely bride, the advent of middle-class washing machines put a whole lot of working class women, mainly minorities, out of a job. The housewife formerly sent out her laundry, but by the 1920s, most took on that job with the "labor saving" washing machine and washed laundry at home.

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