Way Back When: Electrifying News on the Homefront

Way Back When: Electrifying News on the Homefront title=
Way Back When: Electrifying News on the Homefront
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By Betsy J. Green

Last year, I wrote about an ad for an electric iron that suggested that housewives should plug it into a lightbulb socket. (You can see more about that in the April chapter of “Way Back When: Santa Barbara in 1918.”)

This month, there was an ad from the local electrical company that told people to “stop climbing chairs or stepladders to connect up your electrical devices ... install electrical outlets that snuggle close into the baseboard, wall, or floor … Every new home, these days, if planned by a thoughtful architect has ample outlets. Every old home should have them.” 

Imagine standing on a chair every time you wanted to plug in your iron!

(Image: Santa Barbara Morning Press, March 22, 1919)


Betsy's Way Back When book -- 1918 -- is now available in local bookstores and at Amazon.com. This is the fifth book in her series of the history of Santa Barbara, one year at a time. Learn more at betsyjgreen.com

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SBWalkers Mar 31, 2019 07:02 AM
Way Back When: Electrifying News on the Homefront

Without stating my age, my Aunt had one of those clothes washers that had the double rollers above the tub for 'wringing' out the water from the clothes - no spin dry.

bjgreen Mar 31, 2019 03:19 PM
Way Back When: Electrifying News on the Homefront

There's an expression to "put (one) through the wringer -- To subject one to some ordeal, difficulty, trial, or punishment; to force one to undergo an unpleasant experience." But not many people today know what a wringer is.

bjgreen Mar 30, 2019 04:05 PM
Way Back When: Electrifying News on the Homefront

Hi Flicka - those heavy irons that your grandma heated on the stove were called "sad irons." According to my 1913 "Webster's Collegiate Dictionary," one of the definitions of "sad" meant "heavy; hard." Today, we generally use the word "sad" to mean "mournful" or "unhappy." It's interesting to see how much language can change in just 100 years. I sometimes wonder what our language will be like 100 years from now.

Flicka Mar 30, 2019 01:58 PM
Way Back When: Electrifying News on the Homefront

New "gadgets" coming on the market all the time. My grandma used to take in laundry from the guests at the Miramar. She had to use one of those heavy irons heated on the wood stove.

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