The manufacture of home devices to be used by women in household work is of comparatively recent development, the growth of the industry has been so rapid that many manufacturers are still groping to establish standards that will meet the new and uncertain conditions under which their product must be used.
Dealers in household equipment as well as manufacturers are still uncertain as to what constitutes the selling value of an article, because it has been impossible to predicate the conditions, the care and skill with which each device would be used after it was marketed. It is comparatively easy for designer and factory manager to guard against known conditions of use. The dishwashing machine for a hotel or restaurant service can be built to perform with satisfactory efficiency. Its operating purposes and costs are known, the skill of its operators is more or less established, and the materials can be so selected to result in a satisfactory life of the machine.
It is a different story when the manufacturer's product is to be used in the typical American home. Household equipment of every type must be made so that it will prove adaptable to different service conditions, with regard to both homes and actual users. An even more important consideration is intermittent use that must be met successfully by all home devices. It is the unusual home in which washing is done more than once or twice a week. The balance of the time the machine must stand idle. And this is true of practically every other type of labor saving device. It represents the most difficult of conditions a factory product has to face.
In dealing in the following pages with this most important subject it must be understood that Good Housekeeping Institute is offering valuable facts that have been established through fifteen years of experience in testing household equipment, and is further utilizing the viewpoint of thousands of consumers and dealers who have come for a conference with us either in person or by letter.
POINTS OFTEN OVERLOOKED BY MANUFACTURERS.
It is not too much to say that in general the manufacturer wants to produce the article that the woman wants to buy. In many cases the reason he does not accomplish it is due to the fact that he does not divide his expenditures wisely. He neglects to pay the price for the highest grade skill in designing and he markets his product too quickly.
The importance of developing a specific design cannot be overestimated. No machine on the market, of any type, is one hundred per cent perfect and none on the market should, therefore, be taken as a standard to be met by the new manufacturer. It is a patchwork, only, that is obtained by one common method used to obtain a newly designed machine. Namely, the manufacturer purchases every type of machine, already marketed to perform a given work, and adapts one part from one machine, another part from a second machine and perhaps still another part from a third machine. Such a design must always be a compromise, and it is seldom possible to obtain the original working efficiency of the several parts in the new machine because of the necessary compromises....