Under this classification ought to be included machines which reduce the need of cleaning, for they accomplish the same results, but in a negative way.
One of the dirtiest and meanest jobs about the house is the sifting and shovelling of ashes from the furnace. The light ashes are bound to be tracked through the house on the feet, or float in the rising warm air to the rooms above, while the sifting process is going on. The continued need of removing ashes and putting more coal in the furnace to make more ashes often disgusts the housekeeper so much that the apartment-house looks very attractive, for here this dirty work is done by the janitor.
Now the modern oil-burner, suitable to heat the furnace of a small house, represents a real labor-saving device, because it eliminates this problem of the ashes, but it requires electric power to make it practical, since a mechanical movement is necessary to properly atomize the oil for burning. Looking impartially at the latest inventions along this line that are now on the market, one cannot help but admit that they are highly desirable from the labor-saving point of view, if not always from an economical one. The easy control of the fire of one of these oil-burners is admirable. In mild weather the flame can be turned down quite low, burning perhaps only twelve gallons of oil in twenty-four hours, but if the weather suddenly becomes cold the flame is easily advanced to meet the conditions. No extra shovelling of coal is required in cold weather, and the worry of banking the fire in the evening is eliminated.
But one must not forget the various improvements which have been made in coal-burning furnaces to eliminate the ash-and-coal-shovelling labor as much as possible. There is the self-feeding boiler, which has a large magazine of coal which can be filled once a day and which automatically supplies the fire with fuel as it burns up. Then, too, there is the large ash-pit in which the ashes may accumulate for some time before removal is necessary, or the revolving ash-collector sunk into the floor below the furnace into which the ashes may be dropped and taken out in cans.
For cleaning purposes, one must recognize the enormous grip that the vacuum cleaner has had on the popular mind, and nearly every housekeeper would own one if money permitted it. Perhaps the installation of pipes throughout the house for a central cleaning-machine in the cellar is a little too expensive for the small home, but certainly electric base plugs should be located in the rooms to which the portable type of cleaner can be attached. Such outlets should be placed in central positions in order to permit the moving of the machine to all parts of the various rooms.
THE PORTABLE VACUUM- CLEANER.
The laundry should be equipped with electric outlets to which an electric washer can be plugged. These machines usually require about 300 watts. Electric irons require about 600 watts. If laundry labor-saving devices are to be bought as a complete equipment, a small fortune can be spent upon them, for there are electric wringers, electrically driven mangles for ironing flat work, a special ironing-board with electric-iron attachment, and electrically heated clothes-driers. A plan of a well-equipped laundry is shown in the cut.
If we consider the machines used in the kitchen for cleaning purposes, a considerable list can be made, but the gas and oil stove and fireless cooker should not be forgotten, since they accomplish cleaning in a negative way, for they eliminate the dirt and ashes of the old-fashioned coal-range. Then, too, the automatic gas water-heater, and also the oil water-heater, give the best material for cleaning that is known to mankind - hot water. But as electricity becomes more available we have the electric stove and the electric water-heater, which is superior to the gas and oil heater, as far as labor-saving is considered. Then there is the electric dish-washer, which performs all the washing, rinsing, and drying operations. The dishes and other tableware are securely held in removable racks while being washed, thus preventing breakage. When not in operation this dish-washer can be used as a white-enamel-topped kitchen-table. One must not forget the electric silver-polisher and knife-grinder and other smaller instruments for cleaning that can be operated by a small motor.
DISH WASHER AND TABLE.