Gender, Technology, and Work in the United States and Great Britain, 1880–1940
Laundries were once ubiquitous in British and American cities—products of the same historical process that created steel mills and railroads. Unlike the more familiar examples of industrialization, these cleanliness factories remained powerfully identified with domesticity. In Steam Laundries, Arwen Mohun explores broader issues of how gender has shaped how everyday work gets done, who does the work, and how the work is valued. The British-American comparison further reveals differences owing to culture, regulation, and social structure as well as the unexpected transatlantic character of this seemingly localized business.
About the Author
Arwen P. Mohun is an associate professor of history at the University of Delaware.
"Steam Laundries explores the permeable boundaries between technology and culture, home and work, and service and industry to develop an alternative perspective on the process of industrialization. Mohun's scholarship not only succeeds but also compels us to consider what lessons might be learned from other neglected industries."
"Steam Laundries is an important contribution to our understanding of the gendered history of technology in Britain and the United States."
"Arwen Mohun has written a fascinating account of the rise, growth, and decline of a little-noticed industry... This is a significant book that advances scholarship on the relationship of technology, gender, and culture."
"Steam Laundries represents a new generation of history of technology scholarship."
"Mohun's book is not only a useful contribution to the revision of past histories, but a source of intellectual imagination for contemporary struggles as well."
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