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The "dust suction pump", 1906

1906: Vacuum cleaner

Siemens was already busy in the home appliances market as the 20th century began. In 1904 it developed silicon carbide heating rods that were installed in hot plates and electric heaters. Two years later, the company put its first vacuum cleaner on the market. This "dust suction pump" was used in both commercial environs and homes and was equipped with a 1-horsepower motor and a water filter. The drawback: it weighed a hefty three German hundredweight – about 150 kilograms.

 

In those days, electric appliances were entirely a luxury and appeared only in wealthy homes. Vacuuming was usually done with "home dust suction pumps" that had a central suction unit and a system of tubes distributed around the building, to which a handheld unit could then be connected.

 

The company's first portable fan-driven vacuum cleaner – still a rather heavy affair – followed in 1924, and seven years later came the "whispering" Protos-Super canister vacuum cleaner for hotels and commercial properties. Siemens introduced its first lightweight manual vacuum cleaner in 1935.

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Siemens cookers (L to R) from 1925, 1937 and 1957

1926/27: Cookers and washing machines

More and more homes in Germany got electricity in the 1920s. Where only five percent of the homes in Berlin were connected to the grid in 1914, the figure had risen to 25 percent by 1925 and to 50 percent two years later. As electricity spread, so did early small appliances like electric irons. These relatively inexpensive irons eliminated the need to manipulate the tricky, dangerous hot coals that had heated non-electric versions.

 

The first appliance comparable to today's electric cookers reached the market in the mid-1920s. In 1926, Siemens presented its first "baking tube," an actual tube with a heating coil wrapped around it. This was the first time people could cook their "Sunday roast" electrically, without having to deal with wood or coal.

 

The first electric washing machines were introduced around the same time. Siemens presented the "Protos Turbo" washer in 1928, a drum-type machine that could both wash and spin-dry a load. It eliminated the need to lift heavy, wet laundry from the washing machine to a spin-dryer.

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Siemens dishwasher, 1965

1964: The Siemens dishwasher

During the years of Germany’s postwar reconstruction and its "economic miracle," electric home appliances symbolized the population's rising prosperity. The kind of home comfort that had been taken for granted in the USA since the inter-war era now became standard in Germany as well. By the early 1960s, the market for cookers, refrigerators and washing machines began to seem saturated. So in 1964, Siemens presented its first dishwasher. This alternative to hand washing launched the dishwasher's irresistible rise.

 

About the same time, two market leaders – Siemens and Bosch – began exploring possible avenues for collaboration. Ultimately, in 1967, they combined their home appliance operations in Bosch-Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH (BSHG, now BSH). That same year, the company marketed its first dishwasher with a stainless steel interior tub, ensuring a longer service life for the machine. The company's first built-in dishwasher followed in 1980.

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The Aqua-Stop system, 1985

1985: The Aqua-Stop system

Water damage from overflowing dishwashers or clothes washers had been a significant concern for many during the postwar decades. The Aqua-Stop system patented by Bosch-Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH in 1985 provided a solution. As the name suggests, this was a security system that reliably prevented water damage from burst or detached hoses or hose leaks. The technology was so reliable that the company offered customers