The copy in the refrigerator ad reads: “And So Electricity Is Made The Willing Servant.” The accompanying image includes three white women looking leisurely and a Black servant.
I think these are fascinating in that they draw our attention to whose work technology is designed to replace. Earlier on this blog we’ve talked about how ads have offered to replace women’s work with the market and with technology. In these cases, the market and technology were needed to ease women’s workload (they certainly couldn’t expect their husbands to do it). In this case, Black servants serve to take women one step further from “women’s work.” Instead of replacing women themselves, the product replace the servants who replaced women, making the comparison of the product to Black servants completely sensical at the time.