Pink Washer and Dryer
This pink washer and dryer set was the ultimate in fashion during the 1950s.
When Dwight Eisenhower (a native Kansan) was sworn in as President of the United States in January, 1953, his wife Mamie set a trend for the rest of the decade. She wore to the inaugural ball a pink gown ornamented with pink rhinestones. By 1955 "First Lady Pink" was popular in clothing, household items, and elements of interior design.
New ideas in household appliances were advertised as time-saving devices in post-World War II America. Automatic clothes washers and dryers were no different. Washers were a great improvement over the manual labor of filling laundry tubs with water and wringing clothes. The dryer eliminated the need to hang out clothes to dry. One company advertised that a housewife gained a full day each week with these innovations.
As one might expect, these wonderful new appliances and "First Lady Pink" came together.
Stacie and David Tuell came into possession of this pink Frigidaire washer and dryer set when they purchased their Topeka home. They learned from the previous owners that the set had been acquired during a 1950s remodeling, an anniversary gift from the husband to his wife. The set was made by Frigidaire between 1955 and 1957. General Motors owned the Frigidaire label during the 1950s. Consumers could choose between pink or gray.
The Tuells used the washer and dryer until March 1993, when concern about finding replacement parts prompted an end to the appliances' use. In 1995 the Tuells donated the set to the Kansas Museum of History.
Other pink appliances in the museum's collection include an Admiral Imperial double oven and countertop burners of the same era from Leann Brown Lindgren of Junction City. Like the washer and dryer, the oven and burners were placed in Lindgren's house by its previous owners.
Entry: Pink Washer and Dryer
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: November 1996
Date Modified: December 2014
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.