Child's washing machine

circa 1964 in England
Chad Valley Company Limited

Child's 'Hoovermatic' twin tub washing machine, made by The Chad Valley Co. Ltd., ca. 1964. (Victoria & Albert Museum number Misc 1036:1-1992).

This model is a child's twin-tub washing machine. As the range of domestic technology available to the average family expanded during the 1950s and 1960s, so did the opportunities for producing miniature equivalents. Prominent toy makers such as Chad Valley produced ranges of manufacturer-branded products, such as this Hoovermatic twin-tub washing machine. This was a near contemporary of the real thing. It is a manually-operated toy that could wash and spin-dry a set of doll's clothes.

The 'same as Mummy's' promotional ploy tapped into sociological thinking current in the 1960s, that toys formed an important part of a child's experientially perceived reality. They acted not only as playthings but also as socialising mechanisms, as educational devices, and as scaled-down versions of the realities of the larger adult-dominated social world. Girls' toys tended to be simpler than boys', with reduced scope for fantasy, and often replicating real items in the home.


Domestic Appliances
Object Number:
overall: 7.4803 x 6.6929 x 11.0236 in.; 190 x 170 x 280 mm
washing machine, educational toy and model
Victoria and Albert Museum