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Less work for mother?

From the time H. W. Hoover first pitched his “electric suction sweepers” to consumers in 1908, advertisements promised that vacuums would ease the burdens of housework. Ironically, the more vacuuming people did, the higher their standards of cleanliness became—and the more vacuuming of floors and furnishings they were expected to do.

Ad, 1924

Ad, 1924

This advertisement reads, "The Hoover: It Beats...as it Sweeps...as it Cleans." Notice how this ad used dress to imply that housework could be effortless! Also note the prominent display of the vacuum’s power cord. By 1925 half the homes in the United States had electricity, and appliances of all sorts were being promoted as “electric servants.”

“The Hoover will save her strength. The Hoover will speed her work.”

—Hoover advertisement, 1924

Hoover vacuum, 1927

Hoover vacuum, 1927

Gift of Betty B. Ross

Advice manual, 1924

Advice manual, 1924

“A clean house is a great joy . . . and reflects credit on the housekeeper.”

—Lippincott’s Housewifery, 1924