"The gal doesn’t live who wouldn’t love THIS in her kitchen!" — print ad from "Domestic Technology"
Startlingly youthful, the future Carnac/Aunt Blabby/King of Late Night demonstrates how to blend the gelatinous substance into a "sensational ice cream pie!" He’s so … enthused.
Exquisitely campy, this vintage video loop now serves up: Chef Boyardee — rockin’ that foofy hat! — cheerfully tangling, untangling and re-tangling spaghetti strands for your culinary edification.
"We have one where the woman is breaking out of a cage because she’s got a frost-free refrigerator, and pixies on an iron — they must have thought women were pretty stupid," says Dawna Jolliff, Clark County Museum’s curator of exhibits, the latest being "Domestic Technology: Making Housework Easier."
"What could be more welcome for brides?" (Dominion Pop-Up Toaster.)
You’ve bought it, used it, blessed it, cursed it, busted it, fixed it, kept it, tossed it, got it as a wedding gift from a spouse in an ominous sign of a future divorce? Then it’s here: Spanning 150 years of household items from brooms to vacuums, eggbeaters to mixers, ovens to microwaves, S’more makers (oh, come on!) to cheese graters, plus print/TV ads that passionately, ridiculously, even deceptively peddled them to us.
"Shelves roll out! Freezer/refrigerator combined!" (Cyclamatic Frigidaire.)
Attack of the Donna Reeds: Polka dot dresses. High heels. Pearls. Don’t forget aprons. Hyper-happy homemakers. Thrilled. Fulfilled. Surrounded by …
Kwick Kleen Vacuum Sweepers. Crock pots. Coffeemakers. Steam irons. Bulky, bulbous Kenmore washing machine from the 1940s. Sleeker portable GE dishwasher from the ’60s.
Waffle makers from 1900? Concept dates back to the 15th century and was patented back in 1869? Did they refuse to leggo-of-their-Eggos in 1869?
"For the smart hostess!" (Wear-Ever coffeemaker.)
"It’s a sociological view, a gentle way of learning how we changed as a society," says Mark Hall-Patton, museums administrator for the Clark County Parks and Recreation Department. "Kids, even into their 20s, have never seen an aluminum ice tray. Most of them have icemakers on their refrigerators. An ice pick looks like a weapon to them." (Too many viewings of Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct"?)
"The idea of defrosting something? What? We don’t recognize how fast what we take for granted has been left behind in the culture."
"How much do you want to spend on her special gift?" (Automatic grill/sandwich toaster/waffle iron.)
Electric ovens were available in the 1890s? Too bad The Beave’s mom wasn’t around. Toaster from 1910. Looks appropriate for Morse code. How do you tap "bagel/light-to-medium" in Morse?
"Some things never change," Jolliff says. "Washing machines really changed, and refrigeration for your food from an icebox to a modern refrigerator. But a rolling pin is a rolling pin no matter what it’s made of."
"Beyond belief! Bread lowers itself automatically! Toast raises itself silently without popping or banging." (Sunbeam with radiant control.)
Coffee pots: Invented in the late 1700s? Might explain Paul Revere’s midnight ride — overcaffeinated. Tappan microwave. Bit o’ history: Used in British radar systems during World War II, scientists accidentally discovered it could cook food. Could they use microwavable popcorn to track secret Nazi positions? Speaking of which: Hand-cranked, 1930 popcorn popper. (Sorry, no kettle corn.) Manual can openers. (You had to bend your wrists? Positively primitive.)
"Reactions are like, ‘I’m still using that!’ Or ‘Mom had that!’ " Jolliff says. "With our school tours, kids now were born after 2000. I demonstrated an early washer. I handed them pieces of laundry and said, ‘It needs to dry, go outside, put it on the clothesline.’ They didn’t know how to handle a clothespin. It’s as foreign to them as something prehistoric."
"The Aristocrat of Pressure Cookers! Good news for busy women! Cooks while you set the table!" (The Wear-Ever.)
Apple/peach parer from 1900. Still works? Still works. Massive Acme steel range from Sears Roebuck. ("Acme"? Must be what Chef Wile E. Coyote cooks with.) It’s $21.30. (Price must be missing a few digits.) Please tell us those aren’t really those cheesy "As Seen on TV" products.
"Kids today are still growing up with these," Hall-Patton says. "Ronco hasn’t gone away. We’ve got a Veg-o-Matic over there. You look and think, ‘Are you kidding?’ I remember the automatic hot dog maker. My wife and I thought, ‘How hard is it to make hot dogs? You need something to make three at a time?’ "
"Whee!" (Frost-free Westinghouse Fridge.)
Juice squeezers. Meat grinders. (Endorsed by Sweeney Todd?) Old washboard. Big brass plunger. Brooms. Rug-beaters. Regina Electrik Broom.
"It’s almost as if it were alive!" (Bendix Agitator Washer.)
Theeeeere’s Johnny again.
Flacking. Pitching. Pushing. Hustling.
Art Fern would burst with pride.
Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at sbornfeld@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256.Preview
What: “Domestic Technology: Making Housework Easier”
When: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily through Feb. 26 (closed Saturday for the holiday)
Where: Clark County Museum, 1830 S. Boulder Highway
Tickets: $1.50 for adults; $1 for children and seniors (455-7955; www.accessclarkcounty. com/parks)