On the fringe of the Technical World: female electrical appliance demonstrators in interwar Scotland

Eleanor Peters* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article examines the role of female electrical appliance ‘demonstrators’ in interwar Scotland. During this period, manufacturers launched a variety of domestic electrical appliances into a consumer market already saturated with solid fuel and gas-fired equivalents. To tackle the fierce competition the electrical industry deployed female demonstrators, originally trained in domestic science, to entertain and educate audiences across Scotland. Notably, Glasgow-based demonstrators, and representatives at Scotland’s domestic science colleges, expressed an early interest in working with the Electrical Association for Women, to benefit from the organisation’s modern and empowering image. This article compares demonstrators’ understanding of the purpose of their role with the views of consumers, domestic science experts and those working in the electrical industry. An insight into the vital, yet forgotten, ‘mediating’ role which demonstrators performed between the electrical industry and consumers adds to the wider discussion about women and their participation in a male-dominated workplace throughout the interwar years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-254
Number of pages25
JournalWomen's History Review
Issue number2
Early online date9 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • electrical appliances
  • electrical industry
  • demonstrating
  • domestic science
  • scotland
  • interwar
  • consumerism


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