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Tools for the Homemaker

Oh, the drudgery! We look at the tools for the homemaker that were for sale at Baird Hardware in this photograph taken in the 1920s or 1930s, and we think of the hard work. But for the housewife of yesterday, some of these things were wonderful. Probably there is a washing machine here-hard to tell. The earliest manual washing machine was patented in the U.S. in 1846, and by the 1920s machines could be purchased that were white enameled metal with an electric motor that rotated the tub-Maytag was the first U.S. company to use that technology. Note the vacuum cleaner on the high shelf on the right. Murray Spangler was an American who suffered from asthma and designed a machine for collecting dust using an electric motor and a rotating brush; Spangler was employed by Hoover who refined his concept and began marketing the upright vacuum cleaner. Baird Hardware, founded by Eberle Baird, was one of the most important businesses in Gainesville for more than 90 years. Formed in 1890 and liquidated in 1981, it was the largest hardware house in Florida in 1900. The building in this photograph was located on the corner of University Avenue and Southeast 1st Street until 1975 when it was torn down and replaced by a new Courthouse and plaza.(click image to view larger size)