History in the news
About Us
Contact us
6.6 Domesticity

Toothbrush: the first mass-produced item was that of William Addis, 1780

Razor, double-bladed: emerged from a British laboratory in the late 1900s

Bath: a spa town founded by King Bladud [see Bladud] and a domestic luxury; the islanders love a good soak, particularly their womenfolk

Soap: the earliest record of soap manufacture in Britain was in Sopar's Lane, London, in 1259 [Source: Robertson/Shell]; the world was to wait until 1829 for the appearance of James Atkinson's Old Brown London Soap, the first wrapped soap

Flush toilet: John Harison, a godson of Elizabeth I, invented this godsend in 1597, and the queen was delighted with it; London watchmaker Alexander Cumming invented the ‘S’ bend to retain residual water and prevent back-venting of sewer gases, filing the first patent for the modern flush toilet in 1775; an improved design was produced by Joseph Bramah in 1778; the modern flush toilet was finally developed around 1820 by Albert Giblin; George Jennings designed and installed the world’s first modern public convenience for the Great Exhibition of 1851; he charged one penny; this is the probable origin of the British phrase ‘to spend a penny’; a Vacant/Engaged bolt for toilet doors was first manufactured in 1883 by C Cross & Co. of Herne Hill, under A Ashwell's patent [Source: Robertson/Shell]; Thomas Twyford introduced a one-piece ceramic toilet in 1885, the Unites

Linoleum: this was invented by Frederick Walton in 1860 and was the first synthetic floor covering (it is made from linseed oil with resin and cork dust, on a flax backing)

Wallpaper: the earliest known example is from Christ's College, Cambridge, and dates from 1509 [Source: Robertson]

Vacuum cleaner: invented by Hubert Booth in 1901; the bagless vacuum cleaner was invented by James Dyson in 1992; the first robot vacuum cleaner for domestic use was the bagless Dyson DC06

Gas cooker:

'The first gas cooker commercially practicable, was designed by James Sharp, assistant manager of the Northampton Gas Co., and installed in the kitchen of his home in Northampton, England, in 1826. The first commercially produced models were acquired by the Bath Hotel, Leaminster, and the Angel Inn, Northampton, in 1834.' [Source: Robertson]

Washing machine: the first was the steam-driven affair of William Strutt in 1796

Washing up gloves: J Allen Rubber Company, 1950; ‘Marigold’ latex rubber gloves were the world’s first for domestic use

Refrigeration: Jacob Perkins, an American in Britain, filed the first patent for vapour-compression refrigeration in 1834

Mousetrap, perpetual: Colin Pullinger, 1860

Scissors: the first mass producer of modern two-part scissors was Robert Hinchliffe of London in 1761

Chronology of additional domestic firsts & milestones: [Source: Robertson/Shell]

1630 - Sash windows (first recorded); installed at Raynham Hall, Norfolk, by Inigo Jones

1635 - Cooking range (iron); patented by John Sibthorpe

1666 - Bookcase (glass-fronted); built for Samuel Pepys by joiner Simpson

1769 - Venetian blinds patented by Edward Beran of London

1792 - Domestic gas lighting; William Murdoch, Redruth, Cornwall; used bladders of coal gas

1826 - Spring mattress; patented by Samuel Pratt of London

1851 - Rocking chair exhibited by R W Winfield at the Great Exhibition, London

1868 - Geyser; the first domestic gas heater was invented by London decorator Benjamin Waddy Maughan and manufactured by Maughan's Patent Geyser Co. of Finsbury; this piece of technology was the main instigator of the bathroom as a separate room in the house, a social revolution in itself, in the direction of privacy, comfort and luxury

1889 - Woven name tapes; J & J Cash, Coventry

1893 - Tumble-drier; gas heated Factotum, invented in Britain by Dr Money. Wash was rotated over warm air by hand crank; water motor as optional extra

1913 - Imitation coal fire (electric); manufactured by Falkirk Iron Co., Scotland (recalling a line of poet John Betjeman, 1906-84, 'Turn on the logs in the grate')

1927 - Electric blanket manufactured by Thermega Ltd of London

1934 - Extractor fan (domestic); window fan unit with plastic vanes introduced in the UK by Vent-Axia

1934 - Automatic tea-maker, electric; 'Teasmade' manufactured by Goblin of Leatherhead

1934 - Stainless steel sink unit; Savestane Synkunit introduced in the UK

1947 - Food processor; Kenwood Chef, designed and manufactured at Woking, Surrey by Kenneth Wood

[see Technology for e.g. Gas heating, Light bulb, Timekeeping etc]

© The National CV Group 2013
All Rights Reserved




Local Colour