Posts Tagged ‘Hans Rosling’

Appliances

The other day someone from one of my Sustainable Entrepreneur Groups posted a great Ted Talk called “Hans Rosling and the Amazing Washing Machine”.

In it, global heath expert Hans Rosling recounted the day his mother and grandmother, after scrimping and saving for years, used their new washing machine for the first time.  It was a huge step up from heating the water over a wood fire and performing the weekly chore of washing clothes by hand.  He chronicles consumption and “the washing machine class”, noting that women of every class, in every society, want a washing machine, as it falls on them alone to do this backbreaking chore.  Rosling posits the case that the washing machine may be the greatest invention of the industrial revolution.  The video informs about consumption in a humorous and engaging manner.

But consumption polemics aside, the appliance that I find so many women talk about and on which they wax lyrical, is the vacuum.  How many times on our local list serve have we heard someone ask for recommendations for a brand, model, or source- and get a host of enthusiastic responses.  I have had a good relationship with my vacuum go-to guys in Park Slope, Brooke’s Appliances for years, and continue to loyally buy my vacuums there and have them serviced as needed. On their advice I bought the best ones I could afford.

VacuumWhen my favorite brand started delivering shoddy goods, I felt let down. The last two of my favorite brand’s machines I purchased were disappointing in performance and durability.  I expect that when I pay more for something, the trade off will be that it lasts longer and performs better. While the machine was not inexpensive, the plastic wheel fell off in a month, clips broken and unfixable, the wand broke, the suction was ok but not fabulous enough to make me overlook the cheap plastic parts breaking with light use. How many of us go home to visit our parents and see the 50 year old Electrolux in the closet? Mom may like the newer brighter lighter weight canister vac better, or prefer an upright with the lighted front- but the Electrolux is still going strong.    I hate to buy anything that I know will break down quickly, despise the notion of planned obsolescence, and “throw away “ goods.  My 1954 sewing machine is serviced regularly and is a powerhouse.  Ok, so it doesn’t do buttonholes automatically and I will never figure out the ultra-low tech do-hickey that they claim will do them- I’m okay without all the bells and whistles.  My mom had given me her 1954 sewing machine years ago, and upgraded to a newer model- and has been through 4 machines since.  I kept her New Home going until the early 80’s until the overhaul on it cost more than it was worth, and replaced it with a Singer of the same vintage.  1954, apparently was a good year for sewing machines.Olive Design

Olive DesignHaving decided to jump ship from my current vacuum brand, I cast my eye on the much-touted Miele; this little aqua blue number that (of course) was just the right color.  Only to find this particular color had been discontinued by the time I had made up my mind to invest in what I hoped was a better quality machine.  It was the rave reviews of every woman I know who owned one that got me interested in purchasing one, but of course it was the color that sold me. The Brooke’s Appliance guys went searching, and found me what they claim may be the last still-new-in-box aqua blue Miele available on the market.  Thus far I am in awe of the performance and the heft of the parts; wands and heads snap together with a resounding click, there is no sense of impending breakage, it’s like driving a luxury… vacuum.  I justify my consumerism by investing in a product that will not need replacing within a year.  I am passing on my old machine to someone who needed one, replacing the wheel and taping the faulty wand, and wishing them good luck with it.  If it’s broke, then fix it.  If it can’t be fixed it just may be too temporary for me.Olive Design