A 1953 Kitchenmaid kitchen - "The Television Kitchen"

Mom will not be isolated here….

This 1953 advertisement for wood KitchenMaid cabinets illustrates the effort and innovation that went into making the modern housewife’s daily chores seem easier…glamorous, even.

In fact, many historians now point out that, while ‘labor-saving devices’ indeed made individual chores easier… the cumulative effort of all the chores was as much or more than ever… because in earlier eras, a housewife (or some percentage) had more outside help. For instance, grocers, milkmen and pharmacists used to deliver to your door – one reason that households only needed one car. In addition, the pressure was on, more than ever, for everything and everyone to be 100% tidy and clean – this was part of ‘fitting in’ in America – so Mom was constantly on the go.

All that said, I am not of the school that looks at these 50s achievements as evidence of women’s oppression. Net net, it all reads positive to me. My kinfolk came from hardscrabble – farms and coal mines. They had “enough” but holey moley, they were on the edge. The last 50 years – no question, an amazing leap forward.

The Television Kitchen by Kitchenmaid
The Television Kitchen by Kitchenmaid

  1. Al Hassinger says:

    I love your site. I am in the process of redoing a house in Oxford Michigan. it was built in the 20’s but the kitchen was upgraded in the 50’s with this Television Kitchen. It has the hidden ironing board (which has a plug when you open the door) and a spring loaded platform that lifts from one of the lower cabinets and holds a mixer! It even had 5 ring flourecent undercounter lights that I replaced but kept because they are so cool. I am so far behind the times, I am ahead!

    1. pam kueber says:

      Yup, it’s now sure hip to be square. Your house sounds wonderful! Send me pics when you’re ready for prime time!

  2. The crazy suburban mom says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a while and thought I would post (finally). It’s nice to know I’m not alone!

  3. sablemable says:

    I miss milk delivered (in those thick glass bottles) to the homes,neighborhood bakeries and the Popsicle man driving the truck slowly down the streets, ringing the bells to let us know he was out and about. Sigh.

    Lovely kitchen! Very glamorous.

  4. Sumac Sue says:

    When we were kids, my sister had a friend whose father was a milkman. Our dad was a newspaper editor. One day, my sister complained that it just wasn’t fair — her friend’s dad always brought home ice cream, while our dad just brought home newspapers.

    So, life seemed oppressive for some kids back in the old days. But I can’t imagine anyone calling a kitchen like this one oppressive!

    Love that little counter where the girl is having milk and cookies.

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