The history of household appliances can be dated back to 1901 when the first vacuum cleaner hit the market and brought automation to household chores. Though technological advances came quickly and routinely, it was in the 1950s when appliances found a place in average homes. No longer reserved for the elite, wealthy or simply well-connected; appliances took pride of place in the homes of middle-class America.
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The automatic washing machine first hit the market in the 1930s. Machines that removed the manual tasks of washing, rinsing and wringing water from clothes made laundry chores much faster. The year 1947 brought with it the first top-loading machine that further increased the popularity of this appliance. By the 1950s, washing machines were popular household items as they had come down in cost and were considered safe and practical for daily use.
The first electric clothes dryer was invented in 1935. It took until the 1950s for the availability and price of such appliances to reach a point where they became mainstream. Throughout the 1950s, people began buying and using clothes dryers, though many people throughout the 1950s and beyond continued to dry clothes on clotheslines when space and good weather were available.
In 1952, the first automatic coffee maker was invented and bestowed upon the general public. Prior to this invention, coffee was brewed the old-fashioned way by boiling water and pressing the coffee through a sieve. Percolators still remained popular appliances during the 1950s for coffee lovers as they were convenient, inexpensive and lightweight.
Hand mixers were popularised in 1952 with the launch of the first one by Sunbeam. The hand mixers were lower priced and took up less counter space than similar standing mixers.
Refrigerators hit the mass public after the end of World War II when production increased due to the lessening requirements of wartime manufacturing capabilities. The increased production lowered costs, and thus refrigerators began replacing ice boxes in the majority of American homes throughout the 1950s. The manufacturer Amana introduced the side-by-side version of the refrigerator and freezer unit in 1947, which increased in popularity in the 1950s.
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