What was Involved in “Keeping House” From 1930-1960?

Aug 2016
753
USA
#1
Like most people, I think women have the capability and the right to go into the professional workforce if they wish.

Ignoring the other social issues at the time, how much work would be on the table for a typical 1930s-1950s era housewife. Was it a difficult job? Did it leave a lot of freetime? What was it like?
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,085
Portugal
#2
Like most people, I think women have the capability and the right to go into the professional workforce if they wish.

Ignoring the other social issues at the time, how much work would be on the table for a typical 1930s-1950s era housewife. Was it a difficult job? Did it leave a lot of freetime? What was it like?
The first idea that comes to my mind is that in the middle of that time period you have WWII that changed a lot the things. While much of the male workforce was mobilized the woman increased their presence in many jobs, particularly in the industry.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,061
Dispargum
#3
In the US in 1930, only 75% of households had electricity. In rural America, household chores were still done by hand or sometimes with an appliance powered by a gasoline engine. Here's a link to one such engine powering a clothes washer. Behind it on the green box is a similar machine powering a water pump.
In households with electricity vacuum cleaners, clothes washers and dryers, electric toasters, can openers, etc were becoming increasingly common 1930-1950. Electric and gas ranges also required less work than wood and coal burning stoves which required fuel that had to be transported and put inside the oven. Tending young children was always a full time job that is still not automated (TV not withstanding). Many women still sewed clothing by hand or with home sewing machines. Prior to 1950, even with electricity, cooking, cleaning, and child care left little spare time. Families were slightly larger back then and were begun earlier. The first child was usually born before the second wedding anniversary, so married housewives without children were pretty rare. Getting into the 1950s, many modern conveniences were freeing women from traditional drudgery and free time increased.