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So Cal at the Turn of the Century

Year by Year : Great Moments in the Home

May 16, 1999

1851 Isaac Singer develops sewing machine for household use.

1857 Joseph Cayetty invents toilet paper, a luxury item.

1864 Fred Walton creates linoleum from oxidized linseed oil, cork powder and hessian.

1869 Richard Morris Hunt designs the first apartment building in the United States, the Stuyvesant in New York, with a modern layout of four units per floor.

1870 William W. Lyman patents can opener with rotating wheel.

1876 Melville R. Bissel patents Bissel carpet sweeper, which he developed to alleviate his allergy to dust. -- Alexander Graham Bell invents telephone.

1877 Charles Williams of Somerville, Mass., has the first private phone installed in his home.

1879 Thomas Edison invents incandescent lamp.

1882 Henry W. Seely invents first electric iron.

1890 Henry W. Avery creates aluminum saucepan; his wife uses it until 1933.

1891 Carpenter Electric Heating Manufacturing Co. introduces electric oven.

1901 Alva J. Fisher invents electric washing machine.

1902 Willis Carrier invents air conditioner prototype.

1906 Lever Brothers markets prepackaged soap flakes.

1907 Maytag introduces wooden-tub washing machine.

1908 Hoover launches "Model O" vacuum cleaner. -- German housewife Melitta Bentz pierces tin can, lines it with absorbent paper filters to strain coffee and makes a fortune. -- Charles and Henry Greene build the Gamble House in Pasadena.

1909 General Electric Co. markets toaster. -- Frank Lloyd Wright designs Robie House in Chicago.

1910 Jas Ravenol invents bathroom scale.

1911 Westinghouse Corp. markets electric frying pan.

1912 Electric heating pad invented.

1913 First household refrigerator, the Domelre, manufactured.

1915 Corning Glass Works debuts Pyrex cookware, invented when an employee's wife uses base of electric storage battery for baking; nearly 5 million Pyrex products sell in next five years.

1916 Charles C. Armstrong invents and markets electric home rotisseries.

1918 Aluminum cookware salesman Edwin Cox invents steel wool scouring pads and names them S.O.S ("Save Our Saucepans").

1919 Shortwave radio introduced. -- Rotary telephones introduced.

1920 Collapsible aluminum tubes for shaving cream and toothpaste appear, replacing shaving soap sticks and tooth powder.

1924 Kimberly-Clark Co. markets paper handkerchiefs, called Celluwipes and later renamed Kleenex.

1925 Hungarian Marcel Breuer designs tubular-steel chair at Bauhaus and calls it "Wassily," after painter Wassily Kandinsky.

1926 WWI veterans manufacture first electric blanket, the Thermega.

1928 Magic Chef markets gas stove. -- Col. Jacob Schick develops electric shaver. -- Industrialist/retailer Marshall Field introduces machine-made "Oriental rugs."

1929 Richard Neutra builds Lovell Health House in Los Feliz, America's first all-steel frame residence. -- Cousins Edwin Shoemaker and Edward Knabusch upholster their wood-slat porch chair and name it the La-Z-Boy.

1930 Sunbeam sells 60,000 Mixmasters, the first stationary food mixer.

1931 RCA Victor markets microgroove 33 1/3 rpm LP.

1935 GE introduces Disposall food waste disposer.

1937 Massachusetts Institute of Technology builds prototype solar house.

1938 Whirlpool introduces washing machine with motorized agitation.

1939 GE introduces refrigerator with freezer compartment; precooked frozen meals and regular TV programming debut.

1946 Charles and Ray Eames build molded plywood lounge chair. -- Earl Tupper ushers in plastic food storage containers.

1947 Reynolds Metals Co. introduces aluminum foil. -- Raytheon Co. demonstrates microwave oven, called "Radarange," discovered by researcher who found a chocolate bar melting in his pocket while working with shortwave electromagnetic energy.

1948 Finnish architect Eero Saarinen designs curvy "womb" chair of molded plastic and foam rubber to replace overstuffed armchairs. -- First retail swimming pool store opens in Studio City.

1949 Buhrle and Co. develop Ipsophone, an answering machine that weighs more than 300 pounds; early users include Orthodox Jews who appreciate receiving messages on the Sabbath without having to activate the machine. -- Philip Johnson designs Glass House in New Canaan, Conn.

1950 Zenith Radio Corp. introduces "Lazy Bones," first TV remote control with cable from the set to the viewer.

1951 Sears, Roebuck & Co. markets the home helmet hair dryer. -- Bell Telephone introduces coast-to-coast direct dial phone service.

1952 Don D. Johnson of Laguna Beach markets the pet door. -- George and Stephen Weber modify two marine buoys and create home barbecue grill.

1954 RCA sells color TVs for $1,000.

1955 Sony launches transistor radio, the TR-55.

1956 French engineer Marc Gregoire affixes thin layer of Teflon onto cookware, inventing nonstick frying pan.

1959 Whirlpool introduces ice-maker for refrigerators.

1960 John Lautner constructs the Chemosphere, a large, octagon-shaped house in the Hollywood Hills.

1961 Whirlpool introduces combination washer/dryer.

1962 Aqua Tec sells mechanical oral irrigator, the Water Pik.

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