Wash and Wear—Really

Here we have one of those wonderful inventions that simultaneously appealed to a homemaker's sense of the possible and the pragmatic. Tantalizingly dubbed the 'Automagic' washer, this 1947 dual-function device cleaned both clothes and dishes. The conversion—which allegedly took a mere 90 seconds [ahem]—involved unscrewing the agitator, lifting it and the tub out of the cabinet, then dropping in a screen, spray arms and dish rack. Magic? Maybe. Auto? Not so much, considering the multi-step change-over procedure. But I'm not going to let a minor detail like that tarnish the utopian aspirations of this ingenious appliance.