Equal parts quixotic dreamer and accomplished visionary.
July 19, 2017 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Frances Gabe, inventor of the self-cleaning house, has died. This NY Times obituary is a lengthy tribute to a remarkable woman and includes videos and diagrams of her remarkable invention. [Previously]
posted by jacquilynne (11 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
At eight-thirty the eggs were shriveled and the toast was like stone. An aluminum wedge scraped them into the sink, where hot water whirled them down a metal throat which digested and flushed them away to the distant sea. The dirty dishes were dropped into a hot washer and emerged twinkling dry.
posted by maxsparber at 10:25 AM on July 19 [11 favorites]


maxsparber: That's a quote from Ray Bradbury's "There will come soft rains."
posted by Carol Anne at 10:43 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Not every invention works out to be a big hit but I have a lot of respect for people who go ahead and build things regardless.
posted by GuyZero at 10:54 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


In each room, Ms. Gabe, tucked safely under an umbrella, could press a button that activated a sprinkler in the ceiling. The first spray sent a mist of sudsy water over walls and floor. A second spray rinsed everything. Jets of warm air blew it all dry. The full cycle took less than an hour. Runoff escaped through drains in Ms. Gabe’s almost imperceptibly sloping floors. It was channeled outside and straight through her doghouse, where the dog was washed in the bargain.

It sounds like living inside a car wash, which happens to be my dream.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:01 AM on July 19 [6 favorites]


As a fellow Oregonian, I'm of two minds about Ms. Gabe:
On the one hand, I greatly admire her pluck, ingenuity, and general Take-No-Shit attitude.
On the other hand, I can't help but recoil at the thought of All. That. Mold.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:07 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


She sounds awesome. I would have loved to have met her.
posted by zippy at 11:13 AM on July 19


I invented, among other things, the self-cleaning fast food restaurant table.

(Also, Atom Eyes, the house includes forced air drying).
posted by Samizdata at 11:46 AM on July 19


I can't help but recoil at the thought of All. That. Mold.
You're probably right, but it doesn't have to be so. If the "drying cycle" was effective (without sweating out the occupants), or if the washings were frequent enough, Mold could be prevented, just as in your dishwasher.
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:38 PM on July 19


I want to have this.
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:07 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


I can only assume she didn't have pets.
Just imagining my cats encountering a "cleaning cycle"... is pretty hilarious, actually.
posted by cheshyre at 2:51 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


“Housework is a thankless, unending job,” she told The Ottawa Citizen in 1996. “It’s a nerve-twangling bore. Who wants it? Nobody!”

I love the phrase "nerve-twangling bore."
posted by asperity at 4:00 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]


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