Full Caption: Home Washing Machine & Wringer. Color lithograph. New York, ca. 1869. Popular and Applied Graphic Arts. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-4590. Full Caption: Home Washing Machine & Wringer. Color lithograph. New York, ca. 1869. Popular and Applied Graphic Arts. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-4590.

Emancipation through technology is the message of this 1869 advertisement in which low-tech drudgery is contrasted with state-of-the-art housekeeping. In fact, the image could be read as the same woman emerging from drudgery to full liberation as the mistress of the household. While previously she or her servants might have expected to labor for the better part of a day with tub and washboard, now a woman's serene engagement with the home washer and wringer requires only a small apron to protect her dress as she contemplates the promise of leisure time implicit in the figure of her elegant supervisor and studious daughter. In actuality this early mechanical washer was only a small step toward a promise reached in the twentieth century when electric power became widely available. Nevertheless, show cards such as this one used the art of color lithography to appeal to the public in window displays or on counters to attract buyers to merchandise available from retailers during this era of commercial expansion.

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