Women & Technology in the 1910s

Women's Trade Union League

Formed in 1903, the Women’s Trade Union League worked alongside the National American Woman Suffrage Association to demand safe working conditions, the eight hour work day, and respect for women both in and outside of the work place.

The photo above is courtesy of Cornell University’s Kheel Center.

For additional reading on the Women’s Trade Union click here.


With Americas involvement in World War I in 1917, many women supported the war by entering the workforce, particularly as factory workers. The women in this photograph are inspecting automatic pistol parts.

Photo courtesy of The Library of Congress.

For more information on the roles of women in WWI visit The National Women’s History Museum.


During the War women not only took to the factories to do their part, but began occupying stereotypicaly masculine occupations in society such as fire-fighting. As seen in the image above entitled “Doing a Man’s Job: Women As War-Time Fire-Fighters” a group of women are seen practicing a drill.

The photo was published in National Geographic in 1917, and can be found through wikimedia.

Click here to see more images from the April 1917 issue of National Geographic.


While electricity remained expensive, the 1910s saw a surge of domestic electricity. As seen in this image, women were encouraged to see electricity as a means of using new, more “practical” and “efficient” electric powered home gadgets such as the electric clothes iron.

This image is courtesy of Museum Victoria. For more information on Home Life/ Electricity in the 1910s click here.

phone phonograph

Although the telephone was invented years earlier switchboard systems and the integration of electricity in the home highly increased the prominence of a home telephone in the 1910s. The telephone which was originally intended exclusively for business use soon became integrated as a form of social communication for all people, women in particular.

Both this advertisement (left), and the photo of a woman with the Edison Phonograph (right) were found through Pinterest and are fall under the creative commons licence.