University of Otagoheader image header image



Technology: New Kitchen Aids

Along with the electric range, hot water heating cylinder, electric iron, vacuum cleaner and refrigerator, the move to electricity brought a number of new labour-saving devices into the kitchens of many South Dunedin homes.

toasterIn 1909 the electric toaster arrived. The first toasters only toasted one side of the bread at a time and had to be watched closely to avoid ending up with burnt toast. In 1919 Charles Strite helped combat the burnt toast problem by inventing the first automatic electric pop-up toaster. Sale of toasters would soon be aided by the arrival of another great invention that revolutionised breakfast time - sliced bread. The toaster displayed here is a Universal brand, manufactured in the United States. (Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

'Swan' kettleUntil the invention of the first immersion elements in the early 1920s, kettles had their heating elements beneath the base of the kettle. The 'Swan' kettle, with its waterproof element, changed all that and set the electric kettle on a path to taking over from the old hob kettle. No more was it a case of stoking up the coal range to achieve hot water - just plug in the kettle. (Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

Sunbeam MixmasterThe Sunbeam Mixmaster, first introduced in 1930, became an icon of the new household conveniences developed in the 1930s. Its governor-controlled motor and 'Mix-Finder' dial made mixing much easier. For the modern housewife who possessed a Mixmaster, baking day would never be the same again. (Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

electric fanSchulyer Wheeler devised the first electric fan in 1886. This electric fan is thought to date from the 1930s and further exemplifies the introduction of electrical conveniences to the modern home. (Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

Haloberry Electric Fire radiant heaterCompared to coal fires, electric heaters were quick, clean, economical, space saving devices and again typify the leap forward into modern times. The models pictured here are an American-made Westinghouse convection heater from around 1925 (shown left) and a British-made Haloberry Electric Fire radiant heater produced about 1935. (Otago Settlers Museum Collection)


[Returnto Overview]

Site last updated 25/07/03
Best viewed in Internet Explorer