Many appliances – washing machines, electric stoves, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, toasters and irons – were invented in the first two decades of the 20th century, and were available soon after in New Zealand. They took considerably longer to become common in homes. The Auckland Star quoted a 1928 report on housework describing 'expensive apparatus' like vacuum cleaners and washing machines as 'beyond the means of the bulk of our population'.
For those who could afford them, the new appliances made life easier. Washing and ironing clothes, which had been one of the most physically demanding and time-consuming jobs, became relatively light and quick. In farming households which fed workers as well as family, electric stoves, mixers and refrigerators eased a demanding schedule.
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