The middle class home, as portrayed in advert for Petroleum oil cooking stoves by Wright & Butler Limited

Description

Dating from 1885, this advertisement for Wright & Butler petroleum stoves describes them as ‘A BOON TO HOUSEWIVES’ and ‘a miracle of convenience’ – strong evidence that the stoves were intended for middle-class homes. If a middle-class Victorian husband was head of the family, his wife was head of the household. She was expected to manage all domestic arrangements from cooking, to cleaning, to laundry. Hence the appeal of the many apparently ‘labour saving’ domestic appliances that began to appear from the mid-century onwards, and the fact that most of the advertising was aimed at women.

Petroleum stoves first became available in the 1860s, but were not immediately popular. The coal-fuelled cast-iron ranges they would eventually supersede had a single significant advantage: they gave off external heat and warmed the room they were in. As this advert is keen to point out, this was not so convenient in summer. With the rise of central and storage heating in the early 20th century, stoves such as this one became standard in middle-class homes.

Full title:
Advertisement: Petroleum oil cooking stoves by Wright & Butler Limited
Published:
1885
Format:
Advertisement / Ephemera / Illustration / Image
Creator:
Unknown
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Evan.7326

Full catalogue details

Related articles

The built environment

Article by:
Liza Picard

Liza Picard examines how industrialisation altered the building of cities and affected the different social classes living within them.

The Victorian middle classes

Article by:
Liza Picard

Liza Picard explores the expansion of the middle classes.

Mrs Beeton and the art of household management

Article by:
Kathryn Hughes
Theme:
The middle classes

Professor Kathryn Hughes explains how Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management helped middle-class urban women run their households and navigate married life.

Related collection items