The need for labor-saving devices to help in housekeeping is more evident in the small house than in the larger house, although the cost of such machinery often prevents its installation in the former, whereas in the latter it is more to be found, since the person who builds a large house is apt to have more funds to draw upon. Yet labor-saving devices really belong to the small house, for the large house is still run by the servant, but the small one is kept by the lady of the house. She rightly objects to working in the old-style kitchen, which was very large and ugly, and the useless up-keep of many rooms that are really not needed is not to her liking, so that in practice the small house is in a way a labor-saving device in itself, since it reduces the amount of house to be kept, and makes the kitchen small and attractive. Then, frankly, labor-saving machinery is more becoming to this house, which is in itself designed to save labor, and money wisely spent upon such devices is by no means out of proportion to the cost of construction, even if in direct comparison it shows a larger percentage ratio to the building cost in the small house than in the large house.
The fundamental needs which demand mechanical power in place of brawn can be classified into the following:
(b) Machines for preparation of food.
(d) Machines designed to watch over various household cares.
(e) Machines to simplify and make pleasant the toilet.
But before such machines could be developed to a point of usefulness, some source of power had to be found which could be used by the average family. This to-day is electricity. If the house cannot tap in on some public generating plant, then it is not at all too costly a proposition to install a private generating plant run by a gasolene-engine. The rapid spread of public-service wires throughout the country and the increasing demand for private generating plants is evidence that, where money permits, the people are ready to take advantage of the power of electricity to reduce the labor of keeping house. This electric energy which is being more widely distributed has called forth invention after invention of labor-saving machinery. It would not be hard to compile a list of some five hundred or more such machines, good, bad, and indifferent. Pick up any magazine and glance through the advertisements, and a fairly comprehensive list of housekeeping machines can be made, or look through some one of the popular scientific magazines and page after page will be found devoted to new inventions along this line. For example, in the latter, this is a small list made from a page of one of these magazines: A combined electric toaster and heater, a special brush on a long wire handle for cleaning the drain-pipe of the refrigerator, an electric clothes-wringer which has rollers soft enough not to break the buttons, a combined crib and wardrobe, the latter being under the mattress, a dust-pan which is held in position by the foot, a counterbalanced electric light that can be hung over the back of a chair and an electric water-heater to fasten to the faucet.