Hoover 'Keymatic' washing machine, 1963.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The first electric washing machine was introduced in 1908 by the American Alva J Fisher. However, these machines did not become widely used until 1947-1950. This is one of the new type of automatic washing machines which incorporated full wash, rinsing and spin cycles and was extremely succesful in the 1960s. The Hoover 'Keymatic' featured a novel means of programming the machine by using the 'keycard' to select the wash programme. This model 3224 was introduced in 1961. Front view.