How Electric Changed Our Lives

I am just going through and editing all the ‘stuff’ I have written over the years. I attended College back in 1985/6 and this is what I’ve written.

This is an essay written for homework back in 1985. Title is the subject

How Electric changed Lives

Man has become possessed with the use of electricity. A common problem in today’s society. One will hear the sound of many electric machines working endlessly away. There is a click of a switch and some machine or other is whisked into action.

Many daily chores have been taken over by electricity. This is supposedly to give us more time to do other things. But are the other things of a healthy lifestyle? For a majority of folks this is not the case. Exercise, in its many forms is the key to healthy living.

Let us take a look at how life today has changed the way we live. Beds have become more sophisticated as some of us on waking, press the button on the bed. We are lifted from a lying position to sitting up.

The hand stretches out as you press the switch of the table lamp, giving instant light.

Automatically the sound of soft music or beep-beep from the radio gently transforms you into the living world.

The next gadget activated is the drinks maker as it clicks into action, giving you the choice of tea or coffee. Made at the bed side and drunk in bed, an all time consuming task improved.

As you sit in the comfort of your bed, enjoying your drink, the radio intermittently tells you the time. In winter months the room is warm with the Central heating system.

Let us now take a moment to re-call the alternative ways used by past generations.

Years ago your face would feel the cold, Jack Frost would have left his mark on the window and to see out would mean scraping the ice from the window pain.

To get warm sometimes there was a fireplace where a coal fire was lit.

This task involved getting out of bed. If you were of high status/Gentry, then the servant would light the fire. Eating and drinking in bed was unheard of unless you were ill. Making your tea would be going downstairs to re-kindle the fire on which meals were cooked, kettles and pans filled with water, heating up to give water for clothes washing, self washing, either by small washing or the big tin bath would be set in front of the fire for the whole family to have their all over wash and the same water would be used for everyone. The kettle was constantly on the boil to proved constant hot drinks.

Inside every one is a time clock and before going to sleep one would tell ones-self to wake at the time required.

Having repeated this procedure a few times it became habit and one always awoke at the desired time. Of course there were the occasional times when this didn’t work and one over slept? The bread winner of the family would be woken by loud knocks on the door and a calling from his work colleagues.

He would use his whole body to stretch and push back the covers.

Place his hands on either side of his body and push himself up until he was in the sitting position.

On the bedside table was the candle holder with candle and matches. There was more movement, more time taken, as the match was struck and candle lit to give light on dark mornings.

The Washing Machine (Now and In Days gone By)

Gathering the dirty washing it is carried taken to be placed in the washing machine. Into the dispenser the washing powder is placed. The door and dispenser are firmly closed. The correct number for the wash is located then the button is pressed and hey presto the machine starts and one then walks away to do other things. This is the time to do other things. When finished the washing can be put into a ‘Dryer’, switched on, where they are dried and ready to either iron or put away.

How did the washing get done before the washing machine existed? How did our grandparents wash?

Back in the days before electricity water was heated up by large pans of water hanging in the recess of the open fire-place. Fierce heat from burning hot coals heated the bottom of the pans and when boiling the water was taken over to the oblong shape stone sink.

The woman, with sleeves rolled up, places the washing in the water then with her hands, rubbed the clothes with the soap, getting the dirty marks off. A fresh bowl of water came next. Into this the clothes were rinsed by holding the clothes in her hand and moving them up and down until all the soap suds had gone. Next she would wring them with her hands until most of the water was gone. Finally clothes were hung outside to dry. On wet days they were hung around the open fire. The final step, to iron. Irons heated on the coal fire were taken to the wooden kitchen table and there the ironing process was carried out.

So as you can see, in days gone by, much more exercise was carried out.

The woman’s’ place was in the home.



About marystreasurechest

Life provided me a long variety of experiences in skills, careers and hobbies. Countryside, nature, gardening, reading, cooking, knitting, cross-stitch. Originally from Reading/Newbury areas, now reside in S. Wales. Writing stories, telling tales of everyday life . Take a peep in my 'treasure chest' and enjoy your read. All work on this site is copyright of the owner
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