The Industrial Revolution. Feminism. Religious activists. Rudimentary fluid power. A strange partnership? Not necessarily.
The 19th century Industrial Revolution was not confined to factories. Concurrent social upheavals provided opportunities to transfer technology developed for industry into the home.
Around the time of the Civil War, feminists and activist groups such as the Quakers voiced their concerns about the literally backbreaking labor done in the home. They also foresaw that freeing domestic slaves would have an immediate impact on housework.
Catherine Beecher (sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin) wrote and spoke as early as the 1840s about mechanizing and organizing homes using the principles of efficiency and productivity that were beginning to have some impact on factories at that time. [Read more…]