The 1950s began to deliver the leisure that the 1930s promised. Modern conveniences appeared at work and at home, and most significantly, in the kitchen. And the majority of these conveniences were targeted at women. As you’ll see over time, one of the areas I find really fascinating in the history of the button is the use of women in advertising.
For example, here’s a 1950 ad for push button cooking.
Some excerpts from the text…
It’s New! Another beautiful Push-button Range. With all the clean, cool, wonderful joys of G-E “Speed Cooking” at your finger tips!….
Grand-tasting meals — just by pushing buttons! A button for each cooking speed . . . the exact heat you want.
“Work” for women in these years in the U.S. meant a return to the kitchen, a return to homemaking. During the World War II years, women were relied on to perform a lot of the industrial work that men traditionally did, while the men were out trying to kill each other. Once the war ended, it was back to the kitchen. But it was a different kitchen.
The middle class was beginning to own more homes in the suburbs instead of apartments in the city. Families were moving away from each other, splitting up generations. This all meant that there were fewer people around to take care of the home than there were before, and the home was bigger. There was more work to do. Convenience became necessity.
And what could be more convenient than a grand tasting meal at the push of a button?