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article number 682
article date 09-14-2017
copyright 2017 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Electricity in the Home, 1918 . . . Which Appliances Should You Buy?
by Earl E. Whitehorne

From the May 1918 issue of ’House Beautiful’ magazine.

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Any inquiries which our readers may wish to ask regarding the electrical equipment of their houses, the placing of lights, the number of lights requisite in relation to the size of the rooms, etc., etc., will gladly be answered by Mr. Whitehorne. A stamped and self-addressed envelope should accompany all inquiries which should be sent to Earl E. Whitehorne, "Electricity in the Home," 3 Park Street, Boston, Mass. — THE EDITORS.

* * *

A FRIEND of mine the other evening asked me this question. We had been discussing the many things that electricity will do nowadays about the home, both for comfort and for saving work, and she said -—“Jim and I have been talking about it and we want to start in and get some of these electrical appliances.

"We want to pick them up gradually, from time to time, until we are equipped as we should be. But we haven’t known just where to begin and the result is we haven’t anything. Which one should we really buy first?”

I took a pad and pencil and we worked it out right then. It will be interesting perhaps to other households that have hesitated in the same way and denied themselves these many practical conveniences.

Buy an electric flatiron first—and this is not just my advice, it is the verdict of the entire country. More flatirons have been sold than anything else because a flatiron is essential, a constant comfort. It is always ready, upstairs or down, in any room, for any little job of pressing. And in hot weather it takes the heat and burden out of the weekly laundry work, saves fuel and keeps the laundry or kitchen cool.

A shampoo that is a thorough refreshment from the start to the finish with the electrical drier.

After the iron, if summer is coming, buy a fan. Buy it for health as well as comfort, for it will lift a weight of weariness from the housekeeper through the hot days. It will freshen up the sleeping rooms and the nursery before bed time and bring more rest. It will make life in the kitchen pleasanter and ease many a heat-induced domestic crisis.

And then, of course, the fan has winter uses as well, to force the furnace draft in an emergency and to speed up any register or radiator by blowing the warmth out into the room.

Next comes the electric heat pad—an essential still unknown to a surprising number of people. It is a soft, downy, pliable pad that takes the place of the ubiquitious hot water bag.

The water bag must be filled. It cools off. It grows old and leaks.

But the heat pad never fails. It is wonderful in sickness, or it snuggles to the body and holds an even heat, which you can regulate.

It is also just the thing for warming the bed on the sleeping porch before you climb in on cold nights.

Electric percolators are available in great variety. This is a glorified old-fashioned pot.

Then, if there is an infant in the household and a bottle to be warmed by day and night, get a baby’s bottle warmer. It is a godsend to the mother—and to dad. It saves a thousand steps. It heats the milk in about three minutes and saves much weary waiting and the running to the kitchen, or the hunting for matches and fussing with a lamp—always a fire risk.

After this, begin on the little cooking devices for table use and of these the grill comes first. The grill toasts bread, fries eggs, grills bacon, stews, and in fact, does almost anything that does not need an oven, and it does it well.

You will use the grill more for toast than anything else, however, and you’ll enjoy toast as you never have before, for aside from the fact that you get it hot and fragrant, there is a quality of flavor most delicious.

Of little devices for table use, the grill comes first. The grill toasts bread, fries eggs, grills bacon, stews, and in fact, does almost anything that does not need an oven.

Of the other table cookery devices it is a matter of suiting your whim and the habits of your household. A separate toaster will be most convenient.

The waffle iron is a great success for it makes perfect waffles on the table without smoke or smell.

Then there are chafing dishes, egg steamers and a big variety of coffee pots and percolators. I recommend the percolator right after the grill, if you love coffee in your home. Results are perfect because the heat is under absolute control with nothing to find and nothing to fix.

(Dining room table picture from article. Percolator on right . . . What is on the left?)

These are the small appliances—and there are more—tea kettle, hot cup, immersion heater, curling iron, vibrator, radiator—a secondary list that comes outside our schedule of essentials; though the radiator is invaluable in any home where the bath room must be just so for the baby’s bath in spite of weather.

These are the small appliances that cost for most part but a few dollars to buy and a very small amount to use, because no one of the heating devices is ever turned on for long at a time, and the fan consumes so little current that you will never notice it.

When you have reached this point, however, and own a flatiron, a fan, a heat pad, a bottle warmer and a grill, you come to the larger equipment, the labor-saving machinery, that costs more money; but do not hesitate. Go on and make your methods modern and you will find that this matter of investment is taken care of very easily in two ways.

First, all of these larger appliances may he bought by easy payments; and second, each one of them begins at once to pay its cost right back to you in actual money saved from your expense of housekeeping.

An electric shaving-mug makes a comfortable shave possible on the hottest days.

Appropriate a few dollars a month, therefore, and buy an electric suction cleaner. It brings economy in hours of servant labor now expended in sweeping with a broom, to say nothing of the cleaner house, the preservation of your rugs and the removal of dirt and germs that are a menace to health, as we all know.

The suction cleaner frees your maid for other work, keeps her in better health and spirits, and, in fact, goes far these days to keep a servant in the house. And all this has a money-saving value far beyond the cost of brooms.

When this is paid for, buy a washing machine. The solid day a week of laundress hire and the reduced wear and tear on clothes will give you back your money in a little over a year and the machine will last a long, long while.

Then buy a dish washer in the same way. It is a practical machine that actually will wash your dishes and free you from this most despised of all kitchen jobs.

Then put a motor on your sewing machine and you will have succeeded in reducing labor in your home and speeding up the work to a point you never would have dreamed of as a possibility. Moreover, the monthly operating cost will be surprisingly small.

The cleaner, clothes washer and dish washer use very little current, though they do a very large amount of work.

The electric range, of course, is growing steadily in popularity as tens of thousands of new families adopt electric cooking, year by year.

Whether the range is practical for you, however, from the standpoint of economy depends upon the “cooking rate” which your electric light company may or may not have yet established. But it is coming. We will all be doing our cooking the electric way before long.

But the thing to do now is to start at the beginning and acquire and enjoy the smaller electric household comforts one by one as rapidly as possible—flatiron, fan, heat pad, bottle warmer, grill, radiator, cleaner, clothes washer, dish washer, sewing machine.

And the best way to make sure that this is just the order in which you want them most, is to just take this list down to the electric shop and carefully look them over. Suit the habits of your own home, but enjoy these comforts and economies now.

The holiday displays of Handel Lamps will be of rare beauty. And there will be a lamp suitable for every purpose. Write for name of Handel dealer nearest you. The Handel Company, 388 East Main Street, Meriden, Conn.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Handel made both, gas and electric lamps.
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