The dawn of the 20th century and the reign of a new King ushered in an era of fresh inventions and innovations that transformed the way we lived. Electricity, refrigeration and a whole host of different materials promised to make life at home brighter, easier and more convenient. But a lack of understanding of the potential hazards meant that they frequently led to terrible accidents, horrendous injuries – and even death.

Dr Suzannah Lipscomb takes us back to an age when asbestos socks and radio-active toothpaste were welcomed into British homes. She reveals how their lethal qualities were discovered and why some of us are still living with the consequences of our Edwardian forbears’ enthusiasm for untried and untested products.

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20 thoughts on “Why Electricity In Edwardian Homes Proved Deadly | Hidden Killers | Timeline

  1. tomservo says:

    I don't want to seem callous, as obviously those women didn't know how dangerous that makeup was, but really they were killed by their own vanity.
    54:18, I'm sorry but if I hear a banging downstairs my first thought is not "I say good sir, I do wonder what o'clock it is," it's "Oh $#@ where's my gun?!"

  2. DellaDykeborn says:

    Mae Keane, a radium girl for a very short period of time lived to be 107 years old. I suspect radiation hormesis played a part. If only we could find the sweet spot of exposure.

  3. ABC I says:

    -Get rid of this annoying music because it is not needed. The best videos i have watched are the ones without music. As soon as i heard this stupid music i left the sight right then and there. People look for facts not music.

  4. Hayley says:

    Science creating and then solving the problems caused doesn't sound to dissimilar to today, just possibly a little more inventive and engulfs animals to a large degree also (which has a direct negative consequences to humans). Always annoys me that the food we feed our pets (e.g. your general cat food) is what causes them to have parasites, because they contain too much carbs/sugars, without which would cease their existence here as they feed off of the unnecessary containmemts, without which they could not survive. But imagine the pharmaceutical profit if this changed dramatically & this is just one example. I don't know so much in this era but I believe today these issues are the product of much more conscious thinking.

  5. glenn schemitsch says:

    On one light note, I enjoyed seeing the massaging machine that the doctor's used for relieving Women's 'hysteria' On the darker side, my sister-in-law's lungs were burnt like she was in a fire because of using ammonia in the old time beauty shops to do hair perms.I used to machine asbestos, tungsten carbide, carbon, basalt, steels being ground and also have some diamonds in my lungs from dressing the diamond wheels. c'est la vie, now we know better.

  6. kiwitrainguy says:

    Back in the 1980s my Mother commented that her sewing machine from 1938 sometimes went only intermittently so my brother had a look at it. The power cord was insulated with rubber covered with fabric (usual for pre-WW2). It turns out that the rubber had perished and that bare wires were exposed and could sometimes touch each other!

  7. dave matthews says:

    It'll take a lot longer than 100 years for people to stop dying from asbestos as here in the UK at least any house built before 2000 could/more than likely will contain asbestos so please think twice before you drill into that mysterious board

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