Electric Irish homes : rural electrification, domestic products and Irish housewives in the 1950s and 1960s

O'Brien, Sorcha (2018) Electric Irish homes : rural electrification, domestic products and Irish housewives in the 1950s and 1960s. In: TVAD Talks; 07 Feb 2018, Hatfield, UK. (Unpublished)


Dr O’Brien will discuss her Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project which runs from 2016 to 2019. It looks at the effects of rural electrification on rural Irish housewives and homes during the 1950s and 1960s, focusing on the importation, promotion, cultural context and significance of domestic electrical products and their meaning to a generation of rural housewives. Although electric products for cooking or cleaning were seen as modernising and liberating technologies in other countries, this project will use archival research, object analysis and oral history to consider to what extent these meanings held for Irish women, particularly against the background of Irish establishment attitudes to the role of married women as domestic housewives. As the rural electrification project of the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) was rolled out across the State, the majority of domestic electrical products such as irons, fridges or vacuum cleaners were largely imported from Britain, Europe and the United States, and the project will look at the specifics of product ranges available in Ireland, and consider the implications of ‘modern’ influences from outside the state, particularly before the Scandinavian Report on Irish Design (1962) kick-started the native design industry in the late 1960s and 1970s. Outputs include a monograph, journal articles, and an exhibition in the National Museum of Ireland Country Life, accompanied by a series of creative workshops. The project has also been supported by a Design History Society Research Travel Grant, 2015 and the Fundació Història del Disseny 2nd Alfaro Hofmann Collection Research Grant for the Study of Domestic Appliances: The Vacuum Cleaner, 2015.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page